Creating a Spore Print

Spore prints are an exciting, engaging experiment that gives you a quick reward! These spore prints will allow you to 
  • Grow many mushrooms from the spores of just one mushroom
  • Identify wild mushrooms
  • Make one-of-a-kind nature-themed artwork 

Ready to begin?

You Will Need: 

  • A very fresh mushroom (we recommend shiitake, oyster, chestnut, or a wild mushroom)
  • Light and dark colored paper or a piece of glass/plexiglass
  • Glass or bowl to cover the experiment

How to Make: 

  1. Remove the stem from the mushroom.
  2. Place the cap gills down on the paper towel/piece of paper. If you know the color of the spores, choose a contrasting color of paper. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms drop white or cream spores. Chestnut mushrooms drop brown spores. You can also use a piece of glass so you can move it over different colors of paper.
  3. Place the glass over the cap and paper.
  4. Let the glass over the cap and paper rest for 24 hours. This time will allow for the spores to fall from the gills. 
  5. Carefully remove the glass and lift the cap from the paper to reveal your beautiful spore print!
  6. If you plan to grow mushrooms from your print, you can keep the print in a sealed bag in a dry, dark place until you’re ready to cultivate it. 

Spore prints are unique just like snowflakes- no two spore prints are ever the same. Maybe you’ll use your spore print to cultivate your own batch of mushrooms, or you’ll hang the spore print on your wall to show off your newly learned skill.

Whichever you choose, spore prints are a fantastic way to explore the life cycle of mushrooms and/or keep kiddos entertained! 

Need something to do while your spore print finishes? Click here to learn more about how to grow mushrooms from spores. 

© Photo by Derek SooHoo