wikiHow to Make a Mushroom Spore Print

Ever wanted to make a print of the bottom of a mushroom? It's easy, quick, and makes an awesome art project. It's also one of the most reliable ways to identify a mushroom!

Steps

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    Pick out a mature mushroom that you want to make a print of. The mushroom must be mature to ensure that it has enough spores to print. A freshly picked mushroom is more likely to have live spores than a store-bought one.
    • If parts of the mushroom cover the spores, the printing effect won't work as well. Avoid using mushrooms that are shriveled, bruised or appear old.
    • Flat mushrooms create the best prints.
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    Remove the stem so only the cap remains. If the cap is very large you can cut it and make a print of just a part of the mushroom.
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    Place the cap on a piece of paper, spore side down. Cover the mushroom with glass or bowl. Although it doesn't need to be clear, a clear glass covering allows you to help determine when the print is done.
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    The print could be done as fast as a few hours, but you can leave it longer to ensure a better, more deeply textured print. When you think it's ready, remove the bowl and view your print.
    • The print is actually made by the many microscopic spores falling from the mushroom, leaving a near-photographic impression.
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    Done. Use the print for hanging artwork, gift wrapping, adding to another craft project or to create more art from.
    • To protect the dusty print, spray with spray fixative, such as hairspray. Several coats should be adequate. Be careful though, as the pressure from the spray can easily disturb the spore print and change its shape.

Tips

  • Try several mushrooms lined up or placed in a shape formation for a more exciting print.
  • If a print doesn't appear, try a new mushroom. It may take a few tries before you get a decent print to appear.
  • You may like to place a cloth, newspaper or something similar underneath the paper the print is being added to, just to protect any furniture surface from possible staining through the paper.
  • After the print has been made, a child could add features such as arms, legs, shapes, a trunk, whatever, and turn it into a character, a part of a scene or anything else that takes their fancy.
  • Did you know? Mycologists (people who study fungi) can identify the type of mushroom from the coloring of the spores when turned into prints.[1]

Warnings

  • Avoid handling mushrooms that you're not sure are safe. If you're unsure of the origin and type of mushroom, never eat it, as some mushrooms are toxic and can kill if eaten.
  • Always wash your hands after handling mushrooms and dirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Mushroom cap
  • Piece of paper (printer paper, card paper, art paper, etc.)
  • Glass bowl or cup

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