Biomaterials Gabriela Lotaif


Second Skin Bart Hess

“Shaved” by Bart Hess - NOWNESS from NOWNESS on Vimeo.

Feminism vs. Body Hair

Feminism vs. Body Hair



The image generated by the wax with the body hair on it makes me very inspired to create a biomaterial that looks as if it were a "body hair second skin".

Day 1: Experimentation

We experimented with Gelatine, Alginate and Agar based bioplastics at day 1 in Fab Lab Barcelona.


My gelatine-based bioplastic initial experimentation was made with three qualities of mix: hard, medium elasticity and very elastic. I used in my tests mica powder, carbon powder and long wool fibers.

The recipe for the gelatine-based biplastic we made to experiment is:

  1. Put water to boil at a low temperature so it doesn't achieve a boiling stage and rather only simmers (we used 80º C at Fab Lab Barcelona)
  2. Add 20% in grams of gelatine to the amout of water you have in ml. In Fab Lab Barcelona we used 480ml of water and thus 96g of Gelatine Porcine.
  3. Stirr the mix until until all the gelatine is dissolved onto the water.
  4. Once the sollution looks homogenic, move it to the magnet stirrer and allow it to be there for a couple of minutes, so you are sure it's properly done.
  5. This is the final mix for a hard version of your biomaterial. In Fab Lab Barcelona we left a third of our mix like this.
  6. Add 50% of the gelatine amount in glicerine to make you mix more or less stretchy. In Fab Lab Barcelona we added 48g of glicerine to a third of our mix.
  7. Add 100% of the gelatine amount in glicerine to make your mix very stretchy. DO NOT ADD MORE THAN 100% OF THE GELATINE AMOUNT, OR YOUR MIX WILL NOT SOLIDIFY. In Fab Lab Barcelona we added 96g of glicerine to the last third of our mix. If you want to make you biomaterial water-resistant you can add wax If you want to make your biomaterial even more flexible and more resistant to water you can add gum

We followed to add 0, 48 and 96g of glicerine to it to obtain the three qualities of elasticity.

Experimentation with Gelatine

Gelatine Final1

Gelatine Final2

Gelatine Final3


My alginate bioplastic initial experimentation was made with the addition of red and light blue mica powder that I mixed well together and with some carbon powder that I tried to mark the earlier combination with.

The recipe we used is:

  • 400ml of Water
  • 100g glicerine
  • 25g alginate
  • We put all these together and mixed them with the electric mixer

Me and @loana.flores actually had to make some more to experiment a bit more with on the second day too

Me and Loa cooking alginate

My alginate experimentation day 1

Alginate Experimentation


My Agar bioplastic initial experimentation was made with green mica powder, as well as everyone else's in Fab Lab Barcelona.

The recipe we used is:

  • 400ml water
  • 1g glicerine
  • 7,5ml vinegar
  • 2,5g agar
  • We first mixed the water and vinegar in a recipient
  • We then moved this mix to a pot which we heated to simmering temperature
  • We added the agar and the glicerine
  • We move this mix to the magnetic spinner and it was done!

Some examples made by Maria, one of the Fabricademy interns at Fab Lab Barcelona:

Examples by Maria

I decided to use a white tule as a base and to play with circular shapes, adding one circular mold inside the other and also taking off a couple of bits with a straw and separating other bit with the straw to see what quality I would achieve.

Agar experimentation w circles

Agar-based Bioplastic from Gabriela Lotaif on Vimeo.

In the end of the day we left it all to dry at the special climatization machine at the lab, where it's dry and stays at 25º Celsius:


Day 2: Experimentation + Reshape

We experimented with Mycellium and learned about Kombucha, with the guidance of Jessica Dias, one of the Fab Lab Barcelona's interns.


MycoWorks Media's intructions:

  1. Basically in order to grow Mycellium you will need to gather materials that would feed the mushrooms into a steryl container.
  2. You then wet it enough so that it is good enough to feed the myco, but not too much so that it won't scare the growth of the myco.
  3. Next step is sterilyzing the petri dishes.
  4. You should follow to apply the Myco, in my case it was the oyster type, on the sample created. This must have been pre-incubated Mycellium all ready to be transferred in a small ammount to the new petri dish with cellulosic food for it to grow based on.
  5. In my case it was Jessica Dias who in fact did the transfer. (Thanks Jess!) She also had to change the specimen of mycellium halfway through its growth as the first one used was noot growing healthily.

Here is a bit of the whole group's process:

Everyone's mycos

My Mycellium Initial Experimentations were made with paper thread stretch that we gained from Eurecat in Canet De Mar, one of the pure and the other with more cellulosic materials:

Mycellium Initial Experimentation

Myco 1

Myco 2

First Jess had placed the horse hoof type of mushroom in my sample, which got moulded on the first sample, that had to be binned and did not grow well on the second sample:

Gabriela Lotaif Horse Hoof

She then replaced this with the Oyster mushroom:


This was the result: Gabtiela Lotaif's Myco

Instructions and other Useful Links: Kick Starting your Myco Couture Fungi Regeneration System Hyper Artciulated MycoMorph Blast-Studio Oficina Corpuscoli MycoTech Biohm Natura Design Studios' Instagram Silvio Tinello Ecovative Design MycoWorks


I did not have a chance to experiment with Kombucha yet, but because of the results I observed from other people's experimentatio I would say this is the most appropriate technique for my idea of making the "Body Hair Second Skin".


Suzanne Lee and kombucha

Suzanne Lee's TED Talk about Kombucha:

Suzanne Lee's Video for Dazeen about Kombucha:


Sammy Jobbins Wells Kombucha

Instructions and other useful links:

Visit to Materfad

Materfad is the material library in Barcelona. The visit there was very inspiring, Robert, the speaker, was an extremely interesting guy that introduced us to a new aporach to materials.

Materfad Materials


At the Reshape we had a chance to celebrate with @betiana.pavon, @ana.correa and @lara.campos who all won prizes for their projects!!

Reshape Projects

We had also a very inspiring Talk by an extremely well curated board of speakers: