Picture of How to Make 'Moss Graffiti'
Graffiti is an oft discussed topic of debate in the modern world. While some consider graffiti a nuisance, others consider it street art. With that debate still raging, we suggest performing the Moss Graffiti experiment on a wall or piece of particle board that you have permission to use.
Once you've received that permission, you'll create a beautiful growing, Green work of art®

Go to step 4 for an all-in-one picture!
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Step 1: Materials.

Picture of Materials.
  1.  Three handfuls of moss
  2.  Three cups of warm water
  3.  Blender
  4.  Two tablespoons of water-retention gel (Water Gel™ works great)
  5.  1/2 cup of buttermilk
  6.  Paintbrush
  7.  Spray bottle

Step 2: Get started!

Picture of Get started!
Moss Graffiti 1.png
  1. Put three cups (700 ml) of warm water into a blender.
  2. Put three handfuls of moss into the blender, crumbling the moss as it is added.
  3. Add two tablespoons of water-retention gel to the blender.
  4. Pour in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of buttermilk to the mixture.
  5. Place the lid on the top of the blender and pulse the blender until the ingredients form a gel. This should take anywhere from two to five minutes.

Step 3:

Picture of
Moss Graffiti 3.png
Now get creative! Use a paintbrush to paint the gel in the design you want… go crazy!

Make sure to use a spray bottle to mist your artwork weekly. Soon you'll watch your art grow!

Step 4: All in one!

Picture of All in one!
© 2012 athuljrm

Step 5: How does it work?

Picture of How does it work?
Moss Graffiti™ is a completely natural and green way of creating artwork to be shared with the world. All of the ingredients are natural and harmless to the environment. These facts all make Moss Graffiti a brilliant alternative to sprays that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and a host of other chemicals and products that make Mother Nature unhappy.
For the video explanation by "sick science", follow the link:


Hope you enjoyed my Instructable!
Happy moss painting everyone! :)

Please rate and comment! Do include your suggestions! :)
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I love the mural in step 5. What a great idea!
olao992 years ago
Where can I find an HD version of this image??
ryan8816 olao992 years ago
here on tumblr
askjerry2 years ago
I just did a search on Moss Graffiti...

Whenever I submit an Instructable... all the images are ones that I took of my project... I just don't think it's right to create an instructable and post images of other people's work. If you duplicate it... then post images of what YOU have done.

Even the "all-in-one" image was stolen from LuLu Bonanza's page...

I'll be sure to share your work with her.
The idea is awesome and fun to try. I have some rocks i'd like to 'moss up' in my garden. So i will try this technique. I'm just really surprised that this is a featured ible.

It's not just the images. I suspect some or most of the text is also "borrowed" from other sources judging from the trademarks and registration marks. I'm not trying to "be not nice" but there are some issues here that should have raised red flags in the featured process.
Athul Jayaram (author)  dogsgomoo2 years ago
Actually, I have a pro membership and so I can use the 'rich editor' which allows me to use thousands of symbols. So I used them.
I'm going to give the uploader a break because he says he's only a high school student and lives in India. I'm from another Asian country (Malaysia) and in our education system, most projects even at the high school level just involve copy-pasting information together without references. It's a terrible way to do research but kids don't know any better. I don't believe there was any malice involved.

Dear Athul, I hope you read these comments and realise this isn't how you should put a project together. But the Instructables staff dropped the ball by featuring this in a newsletter.
Athul Jayaram (author)  xenobiologista2 years ago
@xenonbiologista: I understand. Thank you! :)
Definitely! There's tons of ibles like this one done by students. Nothing wrong with them at all. It's awesome to see curiosity, interest, and engagement from around the world and I truly hope Athul's experiment works and he posts follow up pictures.

However, I've been noticing more of these types of featured ibles in the newsletters and I'm wondering what's going on "in the background" because there is no shortage of thorough and originally worked projects to feature. However, I know that this is not the place to voice such concerns.
Athul Jayaram (author)  askjerry2 years ago
Actually the all in one picture was taken from!
That's a place where you can "share" pictures!
And I shared it!
I agree, I saw this before in another context with the exact same photos...

The original creator of the idea and photos is the artist:  Anna Garforth.

The author of this Instructable even had the gall to slap his own copyright on it! 

Honestly, the way Instructables turns right around and shamelessly features such blatant theft is pretty f'd up.

elljay.q2 years ago
Hello there.
I found this project on Stumbleupon.
I couldn't find retention gel where I live.
I then found a recipe using yogurt and tried that.
I tried it and it didn't work.
I kept the project in the shade and watered it faithfully for 3 weeks and it didn't grow.
I want to try it again.
What is Water Gel?
Athul Jayaram (author)  elljay.q2 years ago
You can take the water retention gel from the diaper by following the instructions here:
Water gel or plant crystals is made of polyacrylamide. It's a sort of crystal that absorbs a lot of water and swells to a huge size compared to the dry state. You may be able to find some in shops that sell home improvements goods or gardening supply shops. If you see a picture on the packet of plants growing in vases with their roots in transparent gel (it can be different colours), that's the stuff.

Polyacrylamide gel is also used in menstrual pads, baby diapers, and sometimes in "water bomb" toys.
A.Pond elljay.q2 years ago
Most moss needs a lot of bright sunlight at least in the morning. I keep mine in the brightest window I have. I've been growing great moss for many years. Maybe it didn't get enough sunlight. It can be really sensitive. Also it doesn't like chlorine, copper or to be waterlogged, it needs to get a bit drier at times to be in it's best condition.
elljay.q2 years ago
@ flamaefata
Hello there. It would be impossible to affect the environment by harvesting moss, at least where I live. It is like a carpet throughout our forests for thousands of miles, and you'd die trying to harvest all . Here it grows practically anywhere. Moss grows by spores transported through the air.
Thanks - I'm glad to know that it won't be a problem in wetter areas. Around here it's very dry and I don't see significant amounts of moss, thus my worry.
chicopluma2 years ago
I'm so doing this in my backyard
mytree2 years ago
Very interesting will love to try it out But what is water retention gel ?
junewhosews2 years ago
What stops the moss from growing outside the letters or design?
the buttermilk acts as food to allow the moss to get s foothold, but after a while the moss will grow outside of the lines, and you'd have to trim it back.
Or you could paint strips of some sort of herbicide around the moss once it is well established.
missemor632 years ago
Wow, I have to do this in our boring yard!
ladylissa2 years ago
What is the purpose of the buttermilk? Will it work without it?
DIYUte2 years ago
THIS WILL NOT WORK! Don't bother trying it, as BrittLiv wrote most the pictures are from the Internet and were done differently.

To be constructive:
I've been experimenting with moss graffiti for quite some time. After reading the process described here in a blog. Though I was suspicious, that nobody showed their own results, I decided to give it a try... And it didn't work (all I did get was mould...).

So here is how it works:
First of you will need the moss to stick to the wall this can be done with an organic glue.
Then you will need nutritions, they can be made as shown in this Instructable. The most important part is to stick actually moss to it. Best is if you can harvest a whole area with a bit of earth (you can see it in the last picture of step 5). You will have to cut it to the correct size and moist it with water. Make sure, that you use a damp and relatively dark wall or the moss won't grow to it.

I hope this helps and will prevent a lot of frustration.

Athul Jayaram (author)  DIYUte2 years ago
@DIYUte: Actually, I just did the painting part 3 days ago. And I think it'll take about a month or so, for the moss to grow and stick with the wall.
So, I'll post the pictures of my graffiti in a month or 2!
you r just trying to fool us.
Athul Jayaram (author)  panny19962 years ago
Actually I am not!
if so you say then i m awaiting for your results(i mean your pictures)
I'm interested in seeing your pictures! I do hope you picked a shaded area, because direct sun all the time the moss won't want to grow.
I saw this done on Martha Stewart once. I'd say perhaps you just did it wrong. ;) on her show she used moss that had spore capsules. Perhaps that would help here
A.Pond DIYUte2 years ago
Moss needs a lot of morning light to grow, I'm a moss cultivator. You don't need any dirt to grow moss as it doesn't get it's food from roots,only from the green parts. Moss reproduces from spores. It can be tricky and a lot of people don't seem to know moss basics... bright morning sunlight, an aquatic plant supplement misted onto it is good, and a lot of time. It can take forever to come up, but once it does it's so nice. I have clear teapots of moss in my brightest windows, and my Newt tanks have live moss, and some that planted itself on the rocks that get the most light. (South window) The main problem is usually that people keep it too wet or dimly lit. Indoors it needs as much light as an average light-happy house plant. Moss will not let you just glue it somewhere. :)
Athul Jayaram (author)  A.Pond2 years ago
A.Pond, I would like to know more about mosses!
Because I may want to change my location of my graffiti! :)
What is "organic glue" and where can it be bought?
-Viola- DIYUte2 years ago
I totally agree with you! This images are all taken from internet.
I also tried this method but it didn't work
meckpj19762 years ago
love this might teach my Scout troop to do this
kibukun2 years ago
ZOMG, it's a grow-anywhere Chia pet!
syates32 years ago
Who could be mad about eco friendly graffiti? Lot better then painting on a bare wall.
water rat2 years ago
Quick question, is the wall on step 3 painted? If so, does it work well on painted or nonporous surfaces?
netkravler2 years ago
Adding plants to yor building is a very bad idea. Plants are agressiv, they will hook up to any nik in a brick wall, and ruin it much faster than normal. If you have a wine growing on a brick wall, you can end up with roots in the hollow part where the insullation is.

In the long ron it can cost you thousands of dollars in repair.

Im in construction. so i know what im talking about. It is quite simmilar to adding artifical growht of agne to your face. I dont need to tell you what that will end up with ! ;-)

Plants belong on the grownd
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