CategoriesMushrooms

Different Methods for Printing Mushroom Spores

Making spore prints is like seed saving for Mushrooms, but in it’s own unique way with MUCH smaller seeds. There are different methods for printing mushroom spores, but the general way of doing so is simply laying a mushroom fruit body flat on top of a surface to catch the falling spores. Mushroom spore prints a fun, easy, and creative way to get to know mushrooms. Plus, if you do so carefully, printing mushroom spores is a very cheap way to cultivate more mushrooms from home. Mushroom spore prints also offer beauty, making them a focus in today’s culture of art and natural aesthetics. In fact, art and consumption have long been reasons as to why people are interested in learning different methods for printing mushroom spores. FungusHead, alike other reputable and informative psilocybin mushroom retailers, aim to help anyone interested become more acquainted with mushrooms and their prints. Including how, where, and why mushroom prints are used in yesterdays and today’s society.

A Little Window Into The World Of Mushrooms

There are many different kinds of mushrooms, going back to the age when dinosaurs ruled the earth and even before then. What some see as almost alien like organisms, others also see as mystical and magical fruits that are delicious. Mushrooms are the most well known fungus, and commonly imagined as the stem and capped structures they are. This structure is actually the reproductive part of mushrooms, and in the very same way that fruit is a reproductive structure in plants and trees. Located all over the globe, beneath the soil is where you will find mushrooms growing as that is where their foundations of life are. Hyphae, which is the main body of the fungus and a network of branching thread-like structures, grow through the dead plant and animal matter in the soil. Absorbing any and all nutrients needed by mushrooms to grow. When conditions are favorable, such as a moist environment with the right temperature, the mushroom fruit body will grow up from the hyphae. It matures and releases spores, in the same way some plants spread their seeds. However, even though mushroom spores function to breed or spread themselves in nature similarly, their structures are different from that of seeds. Hence why there are more ways than one in different methods for printing mushroom spores.

In Mother Nature, when mushroom spores are released they often travel a certain distance before they land. The single cell then sends out hyphae (again, which is each of the branching filaments that make up the mycelium of a fungus) to help establish and gather food for the mushroom fruit body. After the spore has sent out its hyphae, they will eventually meet up with the hyphae of another mushroom. After the sexual process of reproduction has begun, the mushroom forms the structures of a “fruiting body” that will eventually produce and disperse more spores. Spores are so tiny that they are microscopic, leaving mycologists to measure them in microns. To paint a picture of how tiny mushroom spores really are, a micron is one millionth of a meter. So, in your mind imagine dividing a millimeter into one thousand equal parts. Now 3 to 12 of those equal parts ( 3-12 microns) is about the size of a mushroom spore! Simply unbelievable! Hence the fascination of learning the different methods for printing mushroom spores, as this is essentially the only way to see them with the naked eye. Well a beautiful cluster of them or mass we should say. Unless you have the necessary equipment, only mycologists can see those little guys with use of a micron ruler built into their microscopes to measure the individual spores. Mushrooms to this very day are still quite the beautiful mystery, especially those containing the psychedelic component psilocybin.

Printing Mushroom Spores Can Be Done By Anyone 

Different methods for printing mushroom spores is not as difficult as one would assume. If you’re mid-mushroom-hunt, mushroom spore prints can even be made on the go by sealing them up and easily pressing them home later. Although microscopic in size, learning different methods for printing mushroom spores gives a person the blueprint for all mushroom growth. The spore of a mushroom contains all of the necessary materials to form a brand new fungus, helping those that want to cultivate mushrooms at home. A mature mushroom is said to contain up to 16 billion spores, giving Mother Nature and cultivators plenty of opportunities to propagate more. You can take advantage of this phenomenon to make a beautiful print on any surface, whether for art or to cultivate your own. Mushroom spores and their prints can range in color from rusty-brown, to lilac-brown, to dark purple-brown. Not only are printing mushroom spores fun but beautiful as well when captured. In regards to printing your own mushroom spores, all you need is a mushroom, paper, and glass or bowl.

The Fundamentals Of Printing Mushroom Spores

When selecting specimens for printing mushroom spores, look for these qualities:

  • There should not be dried out or moldy spots on the mushroom.
  • The specimens should look like fresh mushrooms you would want to eat.
  • The mushroom should feel slightly moist but not wet, as dry mushrooms will not work.
  • The gills should look good, not wet and mushy.
  • The cap should be fully open with the gills exposed.

Mushroom spore printers can use mushrooms found growing outside (But be aware there are poisonous and illegal varieties that grow wild!), from the market, or from a reliable source. While wearing gloves, carefully gather the mushrooms you wish for printing spores. Be careful not to disturb the gills in the cap or get dirt on them. Using scissors, first remove the stems so as not to pull up or damage any of the gills. Then very carefully using a sharp knife, separate the cap from the stem, without squishing the gills. Place the caps with gills face down on paper, and cover with a bowl or glass- something heavy. This will keep any breeze from disturbing the process of the spores dropping from the gills onto the paper. Wait for 12 -14 hours before taking a peak to see if your mushroom has provided you with a beautiful print. Continue to wait without disturbing the surface or mushroom if the print seems a bit light or weak. If the paper absorbed a lot of moisture from the mushrooms, it may need to dry before you see the print very well. This is especially true for when printing mushroom spores on black paper or a dark surface. Also, having a few of the same types of mushrooms on hand is convenient in the event your different methods for printing mushroom spores fail. Mostly because when you pick up the mushroom cap being printed, you cannot put that cap back down or your printing will be smeared. Note that if your mushrooms are too wet, or are starting to rot, you’ll get more of a watercolor effect instead of a sharp print. After printing spores you can admire their beauty, but be advised not to do so too closely! As breathing over them or bumping the surface in which they lay can make them disappear all together with a single disturbance.

Specific Instructions Of Different Methods For Printing Mushroom Spores 

In short, the millions of spores contained inside the fruit body (cap or gills most often) of a mushroom can be exposed and saved by anyone if done so properly. Although we are sure there are plenty of different methods for printing mushroom spores, varying in small ways, the most common is allowing spores to drop naturally. And for most of us, one of the easiest ways to learn something new is by simple instruction. The making of a spore print has to be done in a sterile manner, so taking all necessary precautions is imperative. For those wanting more of a lay out of steps to follow in learning different methods for printing mushroom spores, try this:

You will need the following for printing mushroom spores:

  • Sharp knife or scalpel.
  • Gas-burner or lighter.
  • Clean paper, glass, or even aluminum foil if preferred.
  • A clean glass or bowl for covering the mushroom.
  • Sterilized pair of tweezers.
  • Small zip bag. (Small grip bags are excellent to use.)

Printing Mushroom Spores on Paper:

  1. Sterilize the area thoroughly where you plan to do the mushroom spores print.
  2. Sterilize all equipment – the scalpel by heating it in the flame of a gas burner. Take it out of the flame when it starts to glow red and wait for 20 – 30 seconds to let it cool off.
  3. Find a mature mushroom that is fresh as possible, carefully removing the veil if attached.
  4. Using a sterile scalpel, cut the stem at the highest possible point without touching the mushrooms gills.
  5. Put a drop of water on the top of the cap to help release the mushroom spores.
  6. Place mushroom cap, gills down, on a piece of paper.
  7. Cover with a clean bowl or glass to keep the spores protected while falling. (To prevent contamination, the spores shouldn’t be exposed to the outside air.)
  8. Let the mushroom cap sit for 12-24 hours minimum.
  9. Remove the mushroom cap slowly and carefully.
  10. Using clean tweezers, pick-up the mushroom spores printed paper and put carefully inside a small ziplock bag.
  11. It is very important that the bags are completely sealed and airproof.
  12. When kept in a dark and cool location, mushroom spores printed can be stored at room temperature for years!

Printing Mushroom Spores on Glass Plates

(Glass allows for easy future use of spores, as well as observation w/out risk of contamination.)

  1. Sterilize the area thoroughly where you plan on printing the mushroom spores.
  2. Sterilize all equipment – the scalpel by heating it in the flame of a gas burner. Take it out of the flame when it starts to glow red and wait for 20 – 30 seconds to let it cool off.
  3. Find a mature mushroom that is fresh as possible, carefully removing the veil if attached.
  4. Wash the glass plate(s) with soapy water and dry, wipe clean with alcohol to be safe.
  5. Create a bind between two plates by conjoining them together with duct tape.
  6. Using a sterile scalpel, cut the stem at the highest possible point without touching the mushrooms gills.
  7. Put a drop of water on the top of the cap to help release the mushroom spores.
  8. Place the mushroom caps on top of both glass plates.
  9. Cover with a clean bowl or glass to keep the spores protected while falling.  (To prevent contamination, the spores shouldn’t be exposed to the outside air.)
  10. Let the mushroom cap sit for 12-24 hours minimum.
  11. Remove the mushroom cap slowly and carefully.
  12. Seal the remaining three glass plate edges with more tape, creating a “Spore Booklet”.
  13. When kept in a dark and cool location, mushroom spores printed can be stored at room temperature for years.

These different methods for printing mushroom spores can then be used for art, scientific research, or to grow your very own mushrooms with some luck. Remember to keep the mushroom spores print within a bag in a cool, dry, dark place if you plan on using them later.

Why We Take Printing Mushroom Spores Seriously

Spore prints offer much more diversity of characteristics to the home mushroom grower than just making a phenotypic clone. In fact, it is very similar to the difference between growing a plant from seed, or from grafting. Hidden under the cap of a mushroom reside from hundreds of thousands to millions of spores that can all lead to the growth of new mushrooms. Not only is this something the mind can barely comprehend, but also capture in full. Hence the desire to replicate in physical form, making exquisite pieces of art that are also useful for scientific purposes. Why people print mushroom spores can range from personal use, medicinal use, artistic ventures, to scientific research purposes. FungusHead is the trusted source and provider of everything magic mushroom, and has everything you need to grow your very own mushrooms. From the kits themselves to products such as heated mats and thermo-hygrometers, as well as full mycological study kits including mushroom spores. We take pride in providing everything, most importantly information of the different methods for printing mushroom spores.