Voodoo Cat: Pin Cushion With a Twist


GROUP 10: Alfonso, Kanav, Iris, Neetu

Introduction to Swatch

Swatch Type

Digital Switch

20201212_001726 20201212_001621 20201212_001932


This sad looking Frankenstein cat was meant to be a slightly scarier version of a pin cushion. Since starting this section of Atelier I have re-found my passion for sewing. Because I enjoy more absurd things, I wanted to create sort of a Frankenstein cat in which pins of electricity give it life. Depending on where you would strike a needle through the cat one of its three eyes would light up. Not only would it be an adorable addition to my sewing kit, but it could have also been a fun game of Russian roulette the first time around, before memorising the positions. It is a mix media piece that was inspired by two separate projects I have attempted throughout my trials within this medium.

Creating the Swatch


  • Felting wool
  • Two different thicknesses of string
  • Felt (black and yellow)
  • Stuffing
  • Conductive thread
  • Conductive fabric
  • Thin steel wire
  • 3 coloured LEDs
  • 9V Block battery

outline of circuit

image_2020-12-12_015954As you put a needle through one of the CPs onto the Felt layer the circuit of the specific LED will connect to the ground thus turning on that specific LED.

creating swatch


Here you can see a couple of the steps outlined before the final product.

  1. First the plush base must be made where a sphere is made and stuffed. On top of this sphere the rest of the swatch will be built.
  2. After completing the sphere the conductive fabric should be sewn on it. Remember to leave a slab of fabric hanging since this will be connected to the “ground” of the LEDs
  3. Cover up the conductive fabric with felt in order to make sure the next bits of conductive fabric will not directly connect to it.
  4. Using a felting needle create a small sphere which will serve as the head of the cat and a good place to stab the LEDs in.
    1. IMPORTANT!!! I made a mistake here, a better strategy to approach this would be connecting the head to the ground of the LEDs so, I recommend having the centre of the head filled with conductive material that goes through the body to the ground. This will not only stabilise the body but it will also not tangle the wires or result in unwanted overlaps.
  5. Proceed to connect individual legs of the LEDs to different patches of conductive tape as shown in the picture. Do this with conductive thread. Leave dangling bits at the bottom in order for it to be easier to connect them to a battery.
  6. After completing these and setting the + and – sides of the LEDs focus on customising your Frankenstein cat or dubious creature and enjoy a little voodoo creature you can poke and trigger.



Additional Information


  1. Voodoo sensor 
  2. Needle felted sensor

further notes

Unfortunately as it can be seen in the video, the sensor did not work as well as I would have hoped. I had received materials like conductive thread very late and rushed my wiring in order to complete this sensor by today. Unfortunately my initial design technique and approach were not efficient so, likely, a lot of my LED wires got tangled and resulted in them not even turning on. Only one LED remained powerful enough to shine through thankfully allowing me tho demonstrate the potential of this sensor.

Overall I am proud of my creation, I think it turned out good at least design wise having both the obscurity as well as the cuteness desired. I would have really liked to have been able to fix my circuit. I had tested it prior to adding the LED and I was certain it will work until I reached the head. In the future, in order to fix this error, I will make the centre of the head a grounded piece and make sure I connect the base for all LEDs prior to connecting them individually. In addition I will also have a thicker layer in between the ground conductive piece and the separate ones on top. This will provide the space I need to comfortably stitch conductive thread without fearing that it will touch the lower layer. While there were many errors in my design this offered me the opportunity to understand how I can incorporate a  small battery in my creation and also understand better how to take advantage of my materials.

Unfortunately now it is merely a regular yet eccentric pin cushion, I hope I will be able to create this piece again and potentially add an additional pressure sensor to it that would make some sound or keep track of the needles added.

Leave a Reply