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Spore Prints: A FREE & EASY Artistic Activity!

This 2 minute project will have you discovering beauty in the small and simple things that surround you... Mushrooms!

Are you interested in learning a quick and easy craft? Have you spotted some mushrooms growing in your lawn after all this late summer rain here in NC? Or maybe you're struggling to keep your young, curious kiddos entertained just a liiiiiiiittle bit longer until school starts? We'll we've got the perfect activity!

Pro Tip: It's a great time of year to find these Green-Spored Lepiota* mushrooms growing in grassy areas. These create a beautiful spore print as their caps grow large and their spores are a rich green hue. *Chlorophyllum molybdites mushrooms are toxic if consumed but harmless to touch.*

Here's The Skinny:

A spore print is simply capturing a mushroom's spores drop on onto a surface.

What You'll Need:

  1. A mushroom

  2. Scissors

  3. Foil or paper

  4. Cup

  5. Pencil, pen, or any small item really

You'll want to let your mushroom drop it's spores overnight or at least 6-8 hours... so if you're working with youngin's that is a key detail to present at the beginning of this activity - no instant gratification here, just patience. 🙃 Additionally, if you have access to more than one mushroom, go ahead and collect a couple specimens to do a few spore prints at once to ensure successful results.

What to do:

  1. Clip the stem of your mushroom just under the cap (gilled mushrooms work best for this)

  2. Place the mushroom cap, gills facing down, on a piece of paper or foil. A lot of mushrooms have white colored spores so using tin foil is a safe bet to be able to see the spore print

  3. Place a cup or bowl over the mushroom cap on the paper or foil and wedge a small object (like a pencil, pen, clothes pin etc.) just under the lip so that there’s a small opening for airflow. *this creates humidity, or moist air, which mushrooms love*

  4. Now you wait! 6-8 hours or overnight will allow the mushroom enough time to create a beautiful spore print. When the wait is over, lift the cup and cap and take a look at the spore print you've created!

Note: If you don’t see any there’s a chance you’ve plucked a mushroom that’s too mature, meaning it has already released the bulk of its spores. It’s best to try a few spore prints at a time of the same species just to be sure you’ll have a successful print.

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