Biofabricating materials

Inspirational projects and research

Arduino Starter Kit

Designer Elissa Brunato has created the Bio Iridescent Sequin, a shimmering bead made from natural cellulose that is more sustainable than regular plastic sequins.

Circuit Prototype

Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have cultivated aquatic algae, which they then dry and process into a material that can be used to 3D print objects.

Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials
From plastic to biomaterials: prototyping DIY electronics with mycelium
Introducing the Sustainable Prototyping Life Cycle for Digital Fabrication to Designers
Living Bits: Opportunities and Challenges for Integrating Living Microorganisms in Human-Computer Interaction

Grown material - kombucha

Kombucha Mature

Kombucha is produced by fermenting sugared tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) commonly called a "mother" or "mushroom". The microbial populations in a SCOBY vary. The yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces cerevisiae, along with other species; the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic acid (and other acids). Although the SCOBY is called "tea fungus" or "mushroom", it is actually "a symbiotic growth of acetic acid bacteria and osmophilic yeast species".REF

kombucha recipe

  • water 8l
  • cider vinegar 800ml
  • sugar 800g
  • tea bags 8pcs

kombucha process

  1. Measure the voluem of your container, clean it with alcohol
  2. Boil around 5-10l of water
  3. Add the tea bags and sugar to it, boil around 10 more minutes
  4. Filter the solution and add vinegar to it
  5. Pour the remaining amount of water to the container
  6. Pour the solution into the container, mix
  7. Make sure the mix is cold enough, then add the komucha mother (hot water may kill it)
  8. Cover the container with a piece of natural fabric, cotton or linen, in natural color, clip the edges or use a rubber band
  9. Store in a warm, dark place, where it won't be moved
  10. You may need to feed it extra sugar and tea

Grown material - mycelium

Substrate preparation

I used the following ingredients to prepare my substrate: hemp, paja, cork and tea leftovers. I mixed them with a small amount of water and put in a special lab bag

Planting mycelium

Trying to keep everything as sterile as possible to avoid potential contamination, I took away some pieces of Reishii Mycelium to my substrate bag


Mycelium objects

Crafted material - bioplastics

property focus - conductivity

Electrical conductivity is the measure of the amount of electrical current a material can carry or it's ability to carry a current. Electrical conductivity is also known as specific conductance. Conductivity is an intrinsic property of a material.REF

activated carbon as a filler

Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions. Due to its high degree of microporosity, one gram of activated carbon has a surface area in excess of 3,000 m2 (32,000 sq ft). An activation level sufficient for useful application may be obtained solely from high surface area. Further chemical treatment often enhances adsorption properties.REF

alginate based bioplastic

basic alginate recipe

  • water 200ml
  • sodium alginate 4g
  • glycerine 8g

  • additionally calcium chloride 10g/100ml of water

Unfortunately, I either added too much charcoal or not enough gluycerine to this recipe (or both...) and the resulting material was extremely bristle and broke into pieces. DO NOT reproduce this recipe

thread extrusion

gelatin based bioplastic

Gelatin, animal protein substance having gel-forming properties, used primarily in food products and home cookery, also having various industrial uses. Derived from collagen, a protein found in animal skin and bone, it is extracted by boiling animal hides, skins, bones, and tissue after alkali or acid pretreatment. Immersed in a liquid, gelatin takes up moisture and swells. When the liquid is warmed, the swollen particles melt, forming a sol (fluid colloidal system) with the liquid that increases in viscosity and solidifies to form a gel as it cools.REF

basic gelatin recipe

  • water 240ml
  • gelatine 48g
  • glycerine (depending on intended rigidity)
    • rigid - glycerine 0
    • normal - glycerine 24g
    • flexible - 48g

regular conductive - from FABTEXTILES recipes