How to Make Mushroom Paper and Ink

Bring your writing to life (literally) and reduce your environmental footprint by making mushroom based paper and ink.

| May 2019

 mushroom-pattern
GettyImages/MattLeung

Many mushrooms can be used to make paper, especially the tougher inedible species that are often overlooked. Polypores are often used since they have a high fiber content, persist a long time in the environment, and are usually available year-round. Infusing mushroom particles into a recycled cardboard slurry can also create a living packaging system, an upgrade to traditional packaging systems.

mushroom-ink
Spored ink can literally make paper come to life

To make paper you will need a few supplies:

  • Mushrooms. You can use dried or old mushrooms, but extremely fresh polypores are best.
  • A screen and deckle. This is basic papermaking equipment. The screen and deckle are two wood frames, hinged together on one side. The deckle is open, while the screen has a wire mesh stapled to it.
  • A high-speed, large-volume grinder or blender. Since the mushrooms may be leathery and hard, make sure it is not expensive or one that you will be using for anything else.
  • A tub for floating the slurry. The size of the tub depends on the size of paper you want to make. It must be larger than your framed screen. A shallow plastic tub, about 2 feet square, is plenty large enough for a deckle that is 1 foot square.
  • Towels and a stack of newspapers. These are used for drainage, for wicking extra moisture away from the screens, and for stacking with the paper to help it dry.
  • Sponge. You’ll use a sponge to wipe the back of the screen, helping to remove the newly formed sheet of paper.
  • Weights. These are used to press the paper between layers of towels or newspapers, speeding the drying process. You can use anything heavy.
  • Clothesline or string. This is used to hang the paper for drying. Don’t forget the clothespins!

Step-by-Step Mushroom Paper

Step 1. Process the polypores in the blender with enough water to make a homogeneous slurry. If they are large, break them or hammer them into pieces before adding them.



Step 2. Fill the shallow tub with a few inches of water. Lay a towel down on a table or other hard surface, and stack about 1 / 4 inch of dry newspaper on it.

Step 3. Slowly pour the slurry into the shallow tub. The slurry should float on the water. Add enough slurry to make an even layer; if it seems thin or if you can see through it in spots, add more.





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