Introduction: Easy, Groovy Mushroom Sculptures With Tape Casting

This instructable will teach you how to make these organic, trippy mushrooms.  The process is very simple, and uses mostly household materials that you may have on hand already.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

You will need-

         -Tape. Clear packaging tape is recommended, but any tape will work.
          -Plastic wrap. I use wide 'palette wrap' plastic, but grocery store cellophane works just as well.
          - A form. In this instructable, I use a balloon. In the past, I have used large 'yoga balls' and bowls.
            -A stem/base. In this instructable, I use a LED foam stick available from Alternately, a 'fun noodle' pool toy will make stems for quite a few mushrooms.

          -Art supplies. Tape castings have an eerie translucent appearance without any additional decoration, but I like to add a little dusting of spraypaint to make them glow under UV lights.

Step 2: Plastic Wrap and Tape

Tape casting is very simple, and this is just about the easiest shape to replicate with the technique. To start, you'll need to completely cover the balloon or form with the plastic wrap. Be generous, and try to cover every piece of the form with multiple layers of wrap. The more layers that you put down at this stage, the stronger the final product will be.

After the form is completely covered with plastic wrap, you can begin to mirror that process with the tape. Coverage is especially important at this point. If you're using clear packaging tape and clear plastic wrap like I am here, it can be very difficult to tell where you have placed tape. This stage is critical, as it forms the rigid structure of the mushroom. Apply tape liberally! At least 3-5 layers are needed at every point on the sculpture for it to hold shape. More layers will make a sturdier cast, which is helpful if it will be moved often.

Step 3: Cutting and Reinforcing

At this point you already have a bulbous, organic shape that looks fairly interesting. Turning this round form into a pair of mushroomoid caps is as easy as popping the balloon and cutting a line along a circle through the center. Both pieces should hold their fairly well.

Once your mushroom caps are separated, it's a good time to take a close look at them from the inside-out. Make sure there are no areas that feel or look weaker than others. More tape can be applied to the inside for additional rigidity. If your fungus sculpture will spend time outdoors, it's a good idea to seal the entire inside surface as well as the edge with tape to keep moisture from condensing between the layers.

Step 4: Paint, Mount, and Admire!

Congratulations! You've already made two perfectly usable mushroom caps. If they look a little bland to you, you can paint or decorate them however you'd like. I personally use a very light misting of fluorescent spray paint to give the mushrooms a little color without sacrificing their ethereal, transparent quality. 

The last step is mounting. There are many, many options for stem-shaped objects to place your mushroom cap upon. In these pictures, I'm using a 'Trickystick' from It is a little thinner than the average pool toy 'fun noodle,' but the same material and a similar rigidity. You could also tape cast a stem, the same way that you created the cap, on any cylindrical form.