Personal sized Projects

What next?

Now that I finished drying out the second round of kombucha fabric, I’ve started thinking about what to make with it. I want to end up with a light display-what form that takes is still TBD. Much like rice paper, the dried fabric is translucent and bendable. It also has a tough quality, similar to leather, that allows it to be stretched and manipulated. 

I’ll attempt dye first since I’ve had a packet of indigo sitting around forever. But after doing some research, I realized I shouldn’t limit myself to that alone. There are people doing all sorts of stuff with it. I could embellish, cut, sew, or print. Take a look at the contrast of this rust-printed fabric. The possibilities!

Kombucha Fabric Experiment: The Harvest

Here are some photos of the harvest from a few weeks ago.

It took no time for them to dry on the deck. One of them had a lot of variation in thickness probably due to the shape of the original scoby. I changed a few things in the next batch to try to remedy this. Not that I don’t want wrinkled fabric. The texture reminds me of tough elbow skin or alligator hide. The other one took up the texture of the window screen with small grid marks.

The next batch is brewing outside now. We’ve had a series of 100 degree days so things are happening fast. I’ll post an update soon.

Kombucha fabric experiment: day 19

kombucha fabricI checked in on the kombucha growth today. It’s like opening a slimy present.

It’s at about 1/4″ inch thickness now. I want to get it to about 1/2″ before I hose off and dry it.

The insides of the tubs are covered in condensation. I guess I should drill more holes or cover them with cloth instead to let them breathe.

The new SCOBY is growing around the original, circular one. I’m not sure I like or dislike this yet and I’m not sure how to avoid it. Add more tea to the brew??

SCOBY close-up

We’ve had a few hot stretches of 90°+ days so far this summer but last week was rainy and cool and probably slowed down the brew. I’ll dump in more sweet tea and stick them outside to bake in the next heat wave.

Kombucha fabric experiment: Day 1

As a kombucha hobbyist, I’ve developed a fascination with the growing MOTHER in my brew, aka the SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). It’s fueled by a mix of tea and sugar, and after a few batches is several inches thick. When I have more than I need to brew the next batch, I usually throw it outside for the worms. But not before wondering what else I could do with it.

No more! This summer, I’ve decided to grow fabric with the leftovers. I got the idea perusing google image search. I somehow came across the site of an English fashion designer, Suzanne Lee, who experiments with growing living materials for clothing. She did a great TED talk about it. She even made shoes from this stuff.

I’m starting off small, with 28 quart storage containers. I drilled holes in the lids so they can breathe, and covered the containers with towels to shield them from light.

kombucha fabric day 1
Started off with two different sizes of SCOBY. Will it matter??

Because SCOBYs grow faster in warm environments, this Instructables suggests placing the brew containers on heat pads. I’m hoping heat from that summer sun will suffice.

kombucha fabric day 1 stacked
Old towels coming in handy

If this first round goes well, I might upgrade to a kiddie pool.