Introduction: Glowing Mushroom Garden

About: My name is Sabina Stan. I am a visual artist based in Romania. I work with rope, paper and recycled aluminium cans and I can do just about anything (figurative or abstract) in the technique I use, which is an …

For my latest project, I wanted to make a human heart from which mushrooms grow. However, the mushrooms ended up being a bit too big for the tiny tin heart I made. Even though this would not have contradicted the idea of a "Poisoned heart" having the mushrooms grow so big as to overwhelm it, I did not like the aesthetics of it much. So, I took out the mushroom and put them in a garden where they belong.

In this tutorial I will show you, not only how I made the garden glow, but also how I made the mushrooms and grass too. I work with tin/ aluminium cans cut in strips, but you can use paper or even cloth cut in strips. The technique is the same and I do not think you need support even for cloth or paper in a small scale, it should sustain itself.


- aluminium cans

- scissors

- 6x 5V LEDs

- 5V adaptor

- jumper wires

- wire cutter

- 3x 220 ohm resistors

Step 1:

Cut the aluminium can into strips

Take one strip and roll on end around another strip at about 1,5 cm from the second strip's end

Step 2:

Place another strip next to the vertical one and roll the horizontal strip around

Step 3:

Place a third strip next to the vertical ones and roll around the horizontal one

Repeat this until you have as many vertical strips as to make the trunk of the mushroom as large as you want

Note: The thinner the strips are, the smaller you will be able to make the mushroom

The larger the trunk is , the bigger the mushroom will get

I used 5 strips of around 0.4 cm each to create a trunk with a circumference just big enough to allow a LED and wires to pass through.

Step 4:

Create a circumference by putting the first and last strip in the row one next to the other and close it by rolling the horizontal strip around the first strip again.

Step 5:

Pass the horizontal strip around the circumference over on strip and under the next, like a woven fabric.

Step 6:

Repeat the step above until the trunk of the mushroom has the desired height .

Bend the remaining parts of the trips outwards.

Step 7:

Form a semicircle with each remaining end of the strips and create a knot above, in the middle.

Step 8:

Add horizontal strips to fill in the space, the same way as for the trunk, over one vertical strip and under the next.

To create a circle, you will need to roll around some of the vertical strips to be able to bend the horizontal strip better.

You will need to add more vertical strips as well.

To be able to create the umbrella effect of the mushroom hat, press the trunk inside the hat and press the edges.

Step 9:

To create the base -> ground of the garden <- on which you will put the mushrooms and grass, first of all you need to take a strip and then add at 90 degrees other strips, from on end to the other.

Step 10:

Add strips along side the first one, intertwined between the horizontal strips, like a woven fabric.Do this until you have a tin fabric large enough. It does not need to be square or have a regular form.

Step 11:

Bend the remaining ends from the downside of the mushroom's trunk and make sure that the space inside the trunk is empty.

Step 12:

Place the ends from the bottom of the mushroom truck through the fabric that represents the base of the garden.

Make sure that the whole through the trunk in not covered.

You can cut the strips from the ground that come underneath the mushroom and fix their ends to the strips around the trunk.

Step 13:

Cut some more green strips of different sizes.

Step 14:

Place the green strips with one end in the ground fabric and one end free.

Step 15:

Press the edge of the scissors (or a ruler) to the bottom of the green strip and drag it up to the top.

A swirl will be formed. This is a grass blade.

Based on where you start the movement (bottom or higher) and how hard you press, the swirl will differ.

You may also make it a bit more straight with the fingers or repeat the process on the other side of the strip to make it straight again.

Step 16:

Repeat this until you have all the ground around the mushrooms filled with grass.

Step 17:

Test that the LEDs you will use work

Step 18:

Solder the LED to the wires that will go through the mushroom trunk and under the ground.

Use different colors for the wires to remember which is + and which is - .

Step 19:

Insulate the wires completely.

It is mandatory if you will make this out of tin as it conducts electricity and if it gets in contact with the metal it will short circuit.

Step 20:

Pull the wires through the trunk.

I only showed you one type of mushroom hat, but you can make them in several ways, among which is this one with a whole on top as well. Basically, the trunk goes all the way up.

Step 21:

Pull the wires all the way through the trunk, until the LED is in the hat.

Step 22:

Or you can push the LED and wires through the truck until the LED is in the hat.

Step 23:

Solder the + wires together and add a 220 ohm resistor.

I actually, soldered two of them together with one resistor.

Do the same for the - wires. No resistor needed.

Depending how big the garden is, you might need to extend some wires to get them all in one place, where the power source is.

Step 24:

Gather together all the + wires in one chunk.

Do the same for all the - wires.

Insulate the wires to make sure they do not get in contact with the tin.

Step 25:

You can solder together the + chunk from the wires with the + wire of the source and likewise for the - wires or use wire connectors.

Step 26:

Encase the wires in a box and cover it with waved aluminium strips.

That's all! ^.^

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