Mycelium is a sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable material with a wide range of potential applications - from building materials to fashion and design. It is also strong, lightweight, and mouldable, making it a viable alternative to traditional materials. In this kit you will be creating a mycelium composite material which you can use to create a wide variety of objects.
Creating your mycelium Compostie
Step 1: Pasteurise Substrate
In part one you'll be making your mycelium composite material with Reishi mycelium spawn and sawdust.
Along with the items in your kit, you'll also need the following items:
Isopropyl alcohol spray (not necessary but highly suggested - can be subbed for hand sanitiser)
Measuring cup (if your kettle does not have measurements).
You'll need to work in the cleanest space available to you. A freshly cleaned kitchen counter is often a good choice. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and forearms. Use hand sanatiser liberally while you work and consider wearing a mask. This will ensure a better chance of success by reducing competition from other fungi lurking on surfaces or the air.
in addition to the contents of this kit you will also require a kettle and 1600ml of boiling water. If your kettle does not have measurements you will also require a glass measuring jug.
follow the below steps in order:
Fill the kettle up with 1600ml of tap water and turn it on.
Thoroughly clean a work surface and your hands and forearms.
Pour approx 800ml of freshly boiled water directly on to the substrate inside the filter bag.
Observe any areas that still look dry
Pour approx 800ml of boiling water and pour it directly on the substrate inside the filter bag. Be sure to drench any spots that look dry.
Fold down the top of the filter bag and flip the block of saturated substrate over to help the standing water make its way to dryer substrate.
Let cool to room temperature for 6-12 hours.
During this time your substrate will become hydrated and pasteurised. You can flip the bag several times to evenly disperse the water through the substrate.
Step 2: Inoculation
Once your substrate is at room temperature, clean your surface and hands throughly
Clean the outside of your filter bag with alcohol spray or antibacterial spray..
Clean the outside of the bag marked 'Spawn'.
Without opening the spawn bag, break up the spawn into small pieces.
Working quickly and methodically, open the filter bag and pour the spawn and calcium on top of the substrate.
Apply the twist tie tightly at the top of the bag allowing some air space inside the bag to help make the mixing process easier.
Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together. Take your time as evenly distributed spawn will result in faster growth, less risk of contamination and larger volumes of mushrooms.
Through the bag, lightly compress the ingredients down before storing the filter bag in the box.
Incubation is the process in which the mycelium digests the substrate, slowly gains enough energy to produce mushrooms. This is best achieved at a constant temperature of between 20-25C. It is also important that incubation is carried out in the dark, as light can be a trigger to tell the mycelium to start growing. For this reason we suggest that you store your kit inside the box at this stage. Find a dark location between 20-25C to store your box. Check it weekly for signs of mycelial growth. When your substrate is covered in white mycelium it is time to move on to Part 2 and create your mycelium composite object!
Step 3: Incubation
Building your object
Step 1: Finding or making your mould
Deciding what to make with your mycelium composite is perhaps the most difficult part of the making process! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Flight case or other packaging
Mycelium lamp shades by Ninela Ivanova
Mycelium plant pot by Mediamatic.
Mycelium sculpture by PLP labs.
The biggest requirements are the following:
The size of your item or items should be achievable with the amount of mycelium composite your have.
Your mould should be made from glass or plastic or should be covered with cellophane wrap to keep out any contamination.
See our videos below for examples of how to make a flight case and plant pot:
Step 2: Breaking up your mycelium composite
By now your mycelium & sawdust composite should have formed a solid block. You'll need to break it up so that you can fir it into a mould. Start by breaking up the composite throughly in the bag WITHOUT opening it. Make sure your twist tie is at the very top of your bag to give yourself more room to break up the composite inside the bag, or tape along the top of the bag with duct/gaffer tape before you begin breaking up the composite
Step 3: Sanitising and cleaning
The most important part of making a successful mycelium object is making sure that you work in the cleanest way possible. You'll want to first spray down your work area with antibacterial cleaner and then wash your hands and arms up to your elbows. Then spray your gloved hands, the outside of the bag and your mould with isopropyl alcohol or antibacterial cleaner or hand sanitiser. Be sure to continue spraying down anything you come into concontact with as you work. For extra protection agains airborne contaminants consider wearing a face mask and working in an area with very little airflow.
Step 4: Filling mould
The best way to fill your mould is to pour your mycelium composite directly from the bag. If you find this too messy, however, you can spoon it out with a metal spoon or ladle. Just be sure your spoon has been throughly washed and sanatised.
Work in layers, pushing down the composite and breaking up any chunks you might find as you work.
Step 5: Incubation
When your mould is completely filled, store it in a warm dark place (25 degrees is best) for 1-3 weeks or until the composite material has turned white, or white with red patches. This is a sign the mycelium has bound together all of the sawdust and it is ready for dehydration.
Step 6: Dehydration
Once your composite material is colonised with mycelium, it's time to dehydrate. Remove it from its mould carefully and pop it in the over at 100 degrees for 30 minutes. If you have access to a food dehydrator, 10 hours on the lowest setting will yield optimum results.
We hope you've enjoyed your mycomaterials kit!!
We're passionate about sharing the diversity of the fungi kingdom & making more of its edible & medicinal delights easy to grow. Want to try another strain or learn how to cultivate mushrooms? See our full range of mushroom growing kits and cultivation workshops!