It is well none already that fashion is the second most contaminating industry and much of it has to do with the actual fabric process which waste and pollute our water even after few washes. As an attempt to eliminate this toxics we are joining all the research happening around the world. We will divide this investigation in two main parts: biomaterials & alternative dyeing.

Images took form Greenpeace


In many design fields it is already a trend to grow your own materials: as simple as growing Kombucha at home or as complex as growing human skin in the lab. The main focus is not just to make us reflect about all the abuses implied in the making of fashion garments but also to find more sustainable materials and processes.

Pure Human, Tina Gorjanc

¿Nature´s waste or gift?#

There are some things in nature that seem to be unuseful or overpopulated. That’s what we are looking for.


There are already investigations and materials developed with algaes, for example Julia Lohmann´s lamps made out of Kelp. Kelp is although full of nutrients and very good for health, for this reason I would like to explore other options.

Kelp Lamps, Julia Lohmann

In some mexican beaches we have a natural phenomenon called sargazo. Sargazo is a floating macroalgae that is used like a natural habitat for some species close to Bermudas and in the north of Ecuador but for an unknown reason it comes all along to the caribbean beaches without control, it grows really fast and can double its weight in less than 18 days.

It is believed that if this situation continues it will causes an ecologic and socioeconomic disaster in this area and for this reason, hotels around spend about a million pesos to clean the beaches. Even the quantity of sargazo produced by nature has been growing very fast, just the 10% of it is used as composta, which means that we need to find how to use the other 90%

As it is a natural resource that is becoming waste and there is people interested to spend money to solve this problem, would be interesting finding a way to produce something useful with it. Sargazo Riviera Maya

Here you can find more information:

Sargazo Problem

Sargazo History and properties

It such a shame it is so far from Barcelona and at least for this moment I can´t do any further investigation.


Medusomyces gisevi, which common name is Kombucha is an asian fungus which transforms sugar into glucose, fructose and then etilic alcohol and acetic acid forming a very interesting gelatin body similar to a meduse. If this fungus is continuously feeded this process won’t end, for this reason it is also called “the immortal fungus”. By the tea fermentation, several microorganisms can be present but after few days, thanks of the acid environment and antibiotic substances it produces, only kombucha survives.

Since the beginning of the course we started to grow some kombucha at the lab, to do this we prepared tea with sugar and put a little piece of the mother, after a week we could started noticing some growth.


Another super fun experimentation we made this week was about bioplastics. To develop a bioplastic we basically need a biopolymer, glycerin and water. The amount of ingredients vary in terms of the result we want to get and we can add some other materials to change color, add consistence and search for different results. The main polymers we used were: gelatin, agar and maizena. The recepies we use are the following:

GELATINE: Gelatin 48gr. / Glycerin 12gr. / Water 240ml.

MAIZENA: Maizena 30gr. / Glycerin 5ml. / Vinegar 5ml. / Water 50ml.

AGAR AGAR: Agar agar 2gr. / Glycerin 12gr. / Yeast 30gr. (add this component to see if it generated a different reaction) / Water 250ml.

First I boiled 2 cups of water with half cup of each ingredient to obtain the dying ink and after this I mixed the voiled products with the recepies abobe and get the following results:

Autum leaves#

Another nature’s gift every autumn are the leaves from the trees. I´m a big fan of watching them fall and stepping onto them and listen how they crunch but in our cities, after they reach the floor, their only destiny is to go straight to garbage so I thought it may be nice to reuse them as they are not getting to their original purpose of going back and feed earth with nutrients.

Even if my experimentation didn’t went perfect, I found out that the structure from the leaves is particularly strong and the leaves are naturally impermeable so maybe if we are smart enough we will learn how to take advantage from it´s natural properties.

Onion peels#

Picture took from Medical News Today


”…according to a new report from NBC News, the source of our collective energy may be misplaced. The report suggests that the biggest man-made contaminant of the world’s oceans is not plastic straws, or even plastic bags, but cigarette butts.” Natasha Bach, Fortune

After boiling the paper came out so I did experimentation with each separately.

Cigarrette Butt Pollution Project

Cigarrette Butts Greatest Source in Ocean


Cabage is not residue but as we used it for the natural dyeing group experiment, I decided to reuse it and here is the result:


For this, we used:

Natural fabrics

Carbonato de Sosa (No bicarbonato de soda)

Alum mordant

Iron substract


Fruit peels and plants

We did the following:

Weight the fabric to dye 38.3 gr.

We added Carbonato de Sosa in a pot of warm water to clean the fabrics for 10 minutes. The amount of water must cover the fabrics to dye. The measure of Carbonato de Sosa is 2 spoon per 4 lt of water.

In other pot we put the same amount of water, waited untill it boiled and added the alum mordant. The mordant should be 15% of the fabric weight. In this case we used 6gr of alum.

After this we added the fabric and leave it for 10 minutes.

We used this water to extract the color from the fruits and plants.

Then it was time for each of us to do our own experimantation. The preparation of the fabric was the same but this time I used the ink obtained from the previously boiled ingredients

1 cup of water for 1/2 cup of ingredient

Boil in soft fire for 20 mins and introduce the prepared fabrics. Let them boil for 30 mins, let them get cold and wash to take away the odor.

Bacteria Dyeing

We incubate silk fabric and bacteria to get a beautiful pink pattern.

Bacteria used: Serratia Marcescens BioSafety level: 2 Nutrient medium: LB Broth temperature: 24-28 degrees

First we fold the silk in different ways. Then we put them in glass pots and then into an special plastic bag to protect it from the process of sterilized them using a pressor cooker. This takes 15 minutes. After this we clean the work space and our hands with alcohol. Pour bacteria food into the fabric to make it eat the most possible so what the bacteria excretes is converted in the ink that will colorize the fabric. To this we used a pipe gas to sterelize the plastic jar that contains the food and dont allowing it to be contaminated. This process must be done fast. After this, the bacteria must be put it into the fabric. Then leave it for 2 days to design the pattern as it eats and grows. After 2 days the bacteria must be killed. For this we did: Put the fabric with the bacteria in the pressor cooker for 15’ for 3 times using the plastic bag to protect. Separate the fabric from the glass pots and put it again the pressor cooker. Both of them. Wash the fabric.

Centro de Materiales Barcelona


DIY Materials Library







BIOPLASTICS SECOND PART: Understanding Bioplastics#

Biopolymers are macromolecules present in the human beings.

There are 3 main families of biopolymers

Proteins: fibroin, globulin,etc

Polysaccharides: celulose, alginate, chitin

Nucleic acids: ADN, ARN

Politerpenes:Caucho natural, látex

Polifenoles: lignina, poliesteres

Poliesteres: polihidroxialcanoatos

Inorder to understand how to do better bioplastic I decided to analyse a the traditional recepie of fondant, as it has an interesting texture for me and then I can understand what gives it flexibility, resistance and makes it last longer in time.

Home made Fondant:

1 kg de powdered sugar 2 teaspoon CMC 7 non flavored gelatin sheets 2 spoons of glucose 2 spoons of glicerine 2 spoons of margarina 6 spoons of cold water 1/4 de teaspoon of vainilla or another essence

1 cup powdered sugar 2 cup of sugar 1 spoon of corn syrup 1 1/4 cups of water 4 spoons of gelatin 2 egg whites

Useful links


What is Glucose

What is Celulose

What is CMC

What is Glicerine

There is a looong list of ingridients to explore, anyway, I think the best way to guide explorations is to understand first why are we using the ingridients and the common uses of teh ingridients we want to try.

I leave here a list of ingredients to research and explore:

BIOPLASTICS THIRD PART: Alginate, my beautiful star#


Step 1: Prepare the “curing” solution

NOTE: Since our initial plan was to make 3 different types of bioyarn (one with chitosan, one with A LOT of chitosan, and one without chitosan) we mixed 800 mL of water with 120g of CaCl2 and then split the solution it into 3 beakers (200 mL each). But this translates into 1 g CaCl2 : 6.67 mL water

800 mL water 120 g CaCl2 (sodium chloride) Beakers x3

Instructions: Mix the water and sodium chloride together. Pour 200 mL of the solution into each beaker. Pour the leftover solution into another container. Set 3 beakers aside for now.

Step 2: Prepare bioyarn

Blender 200 mL of water 30 g alginate Or 1 part alginate (grams): 15 parts water (mL)

Instructions: Blend in the alginate to the water little by little. Blend until the lumps are gone and the mixture is smooth. It will be a doughy consistency. Split the dough mixture into vials to make your bioyarn. If you are only making one kind of bioyarn, you don’t need to divide the dough. But if you want to experiment and make a bunch of different bioyarns (one chitosan bioyarn one just as a plain alginate bioyarn) then you’ll divide the dough into however many bioyarns you want. Label each vial to keep track of which each one contains.

*We split the dough into 3 and put each into a glass vial. Since we were using liquid beakers this equated to a measurement of “40 mL” per vial but this is not accurate. The dough is not a liquid, so we should not be using liquid measurements. In future batches, we need to measure by weight (grams) not volume.

(optional) Step 3: Add chitosan

Chitosan powder

Mix in the chitosan. *See the full list of bioyarns we made, which include details of which bioyarns worked best, at the bottom of the next page.

Step 4: Curing


Instructions: Put the bioyarn “dough” into the syringe. Take your sodium chloride solution and steadily squeeze the dough into the solution, making sure the yarn does not break as you squeeze it into the solution. Let the bioyarn sit in the curing solution for _ minutes. You don’t need to cover the container.

*We found our bioyarns cured pretty fast. After only a couple minutes the bioyarn became hard. But in future experiments, determine the accurate curing time.

Step 5:

Instructions: Remove your bioyarns from curing and let dry. You can remove any calcification that occurred with a little bit of water and paper towel.

How we made our bioyarns:

Bioyarn A: (contains chitosan) We started with the “40 mL” of dough. We wanted to make a 20% chitosan bioyarn so we added 8 g of chitosan (20% of the 40 mL). But this dough was way too thick. So we split the dough into two again. Then we added 80 mL of water to liquify the solution a bit.

Bioyarn B: (contains chitosan) We started with the “40 mL” of dough. We wanted to make a 10% chitosan bioyarn so we added 4 g of chitosan (10% of the 40 mL).

Bioyarn C: (contains chitosan) We started with the “40 mL” of dough. We added another 40 mL of water and blended it to thin out the mixture. Then we put 80 mL of this mixture into a vial. Then we added another 40 mL of water and 2.5 g of chitosan.

Bioyarn D: We started with the “40 mL” of dough. We added another 40 mL of water and blended it to thin out the mixture. Then we put 40 mL of this mixture into a vial.

Bioyarn E:
We started with the “40 mL” of dough. We placed this into a vial.

Bioyarn F: We started with the “40 mL” of dough. We added another 80 mL of water to thin out the dough and blended it.

Process to extract Alginate

Packaging made out of Alginate

Where to buy Alginate

Alginate: Properties and Biomedical Applications