Playing with Phenomena: Moss Graffiti

Playing with Phenomena: Moss Graffiti

By: Gavin Warnock, SCI Maker-In-Residence

This week was all about moss graffiti, an interesting and eco-friendly way to decorate a wall space!

There are two mains ways to make moss graffiti. One method grinds up any moss to start the growth process from scratch. There are many good sources for directions, and almost any search for a moss graffiti how to will get you where you need to go (There are recipes with and without beer). The main benefit of this method is that you only need a small amount of moss. The downside is you need at least a month to see the fruits of your labor.

The other method we found is as simple as making a paste that will both attach the moss and provide nutrients to assist the transfer. This is the method we used because it allows for instant results. This method is a lot less popular, but I found one source with a good recipe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQjY9cXaP4w (The narrator mentions stopping when the paste got lumpy, but we found that mixing through the lumpiness gave us a smooth paste). This recipe calls for beer, but we found success replacing the beer with water.

To get moss, you can simply harvest some from the backyard - and we did just that! We used several different types of moss (including ground moss) and found success with most. Additionally, there are several sites where you can buy different types of sheet moss that will spring back to life with a little water. Mossacres.com is a site with great selection.

During our studio time, we had a lot of fun working with all ages in making our moss graffiti. We decided to create a mural on a piece of particle board, and all of us had a great time watching it evolve and gain character. We had contributions from toddlers to adults with little difficulty in any group. During this time, we found that spreading the paste by hand and applying about as thick as you would spread peanut butter gave us the best results. Additionally, the paste can be refrigerated for later use, but it must be stored in a sealed container to avoid unwanted drying. In the end, we got a great mural with the combined efforts of over fifty visitors and staff!

Category: Make@SCI