Quick project: LED-lit sea urchins

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Last week we came across these tiny sea urchinshells at a beach shop, thin and light as eggshells. What to do with them? Light them up with LEDs, of course!

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We’ve seen sea urchin lamps before, but they’ve always been made with large (i.e., sturdy) and colorful ones. In contrast, these tiny ones might be better to hang around christmas lights like little paper lanterns.

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Just a throwie sans magnet (Urchie?), tucked into the shell. Each one has a hole in the bottom large enough to fit a pretty good size LED, although not necessarily the battery as well.

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The natural beauty and structure of these shells is amazing; they must have been even more beautiful when they were alive.

Hi-res versions of all of these photos are available in this photo set.

19 thoughts on “Quick project: LED-lit sea urchins

  1. Can you post a picture with the throwie sitting next to the urchin? I honestly couldn’t get a sense of scale with the pictures other than the one with the hand in it, and even then, I know some hands are much bigger than others. :)

    Very beautiful, though! I like the idea of either a trio of these in different colors, fading randomly back and forth, or, as you mentioned, over christmas lights as a type of hanging light string.

      1. The second photo (the first with the urchins lit) has a hand in shadow around them… Gives a pretty clear idea of their scale, regardless of whose hand it is. :)

        I think I am, therefore I am… I think

  2. Sea urchin shells aren’t visible when the sea urchin is alive. They’re a ball of animate spikes, sometimes colorful, sometimes not. I’m of the opinion that a ball of animate spikes is pretty cool, but sea urchins mostly don’t look like their shells.

  3. I see geek wedding project RIGHT HERE. sweet. do you think a nano-throwie would work better to fit inside the urchins? like maybe a 3mm led, and a tiny battery? or would that compromise the glowing way too much?

  4. Very pretty I agree, but not too far from a tiger-skin rug. I’d have a bit of a problem explaining to my kids why we’ve decorated the tree with animal skeletons this year…

    1. totally, why would you use a tiger skin for a rug when you could use it for traditional christmas loincloths.

  5. Whoa, this is stunning! Those patterns are just gorgeous. What a fun idea. I’ll be linking to this.

  6. I really love these but can’t figure out where to find the LED bulbs you are using?


  7. I’ve tried this with my own Urchins & they didn’t work well. Do I need super bright LEDs?

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