Kombucha Wallet




Introduction: Kombucha Wallet

About: Pedro Zohrer is a professor and researcher in the field of new materials and sustainable manufacturing processes.

The Kombucha wallet is made from what is called a vegan leather, this leather is actually a type of cellulose produced by a colony of bacteria and yeasts that grow on the surface of the probiotic known as Kombucha.

This vegan leather closely resembles animal leather in color and texture.

This cellulose is extremely resistant and is an excellent sustainable alternative to the use of animal leather, paper and cardboard.

Step 1: Growing the Kombucha (Bacterial Cellulose)

First, we need to grow our vegan leather in a container of at least 43cm x 28cm of area at the base by 12cm in height.
Using these dimensions, to obtain a suitable thickness for our design, we need at least 6 liters of culture medium.

6 liters of filtered water

600 g of crystal sugar

6 green tea bags

600 ml of apple cider vinegar

1 Scoby (symbolic culture of bacteria and yeasts)

Important Only add the Scoby after the temperature drops below 30 degrees Celsius.

Boil the water, extinguish the heat, add the sugar until dissolved and add the tea bags.

Depois de uma temperatura cair abaixo de 30 graus Celcius, adicione o vinagre e o SCOBY, coloque-o dentro do recipiente e cubra-o com um papel ou um pano esticado para evitar a contaminação de sua cultura.

After a temperature drops below 30 degrees Celcius, add the vinegar and the SCOBY, place it inside the container and cover it with a paper or a cloth stretched to avoid the contamination of its culture.

Keep your Kombucha culture at a temperature between 25 and 30 degrees Celcius for maximum yield.

After 2-3 weeks, develop a gelatin about 1cm thick on the surface. Remove and wash with running water and soap with caring. Then dry in a wood in a ventilated place ..

PS: SCOBY(Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) or mother culture can be obtained in two ways: you can receive a donation from someone who grows Kombucha or buys it over the internet.

Step 2: Drying

After some time the bacterial cellulose will lose about 97% of its water, and its color will change from milky white to dark brown.

Be careful not to over dry and leave the material brittle as this will prevent your fold.

Step 3: Surface Cuts

For this project I chose dimensions that would fit well into the wallet both credit cards and business cards, such as banknotes and documents as a driver's license. I cut first the outer dimensions 25cm wide and 32cm long. Then I made markings on the folds and internal cuts.
On the sides along the 32cm I made a marking of 1.5cm on each side, with two small cuts with 1.5cm perpendicular to an average length of 16cm. Other fold marks are parallel to the base of 25cm wide, one fold will be 8cm, another 16cm and the last one 24cm from the base forming 4 sectors.

Other important cuts are located in the lower center section which are half moons 6cm long bounded on the sides from the center by 2cm. Use a metal cap of 7cm in diameter as a cutting and marking template.

Step 4: Main Folds

The first folds are on the left and bottom right sides that is 1.5 cm wide.
Then fold the top flap to the middle and bottom flap to the middle. You will notice in the side views that the ends are left over, fold these side flaps into the wallet.

Then just fold in the middle as in the last photo.

Step 5: Finishing With the Collage of Some Folds

To paste this material is very simple and environmentally friendly.

Wet the pieces to be glued and press against each other for a few minutes and that's it.

Glue the flaps with 1.5 cm, as in the photos.

Allow 24 hours to dry completely.

Now waterproof the wallet using carnauba wax and ready to use.

If your wallet is getting too hard and brittle, apply coconut oil before applying carnauba wax.

Never waterproof the cellulose with wax or coconut oil before gluing the parts.



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    13 Discussions

    This is great! I have a wallet that is very similar made of tyvek. Beautifully made!

    1 reply

    I also find Tyvek's wallets really cool. The design of the Kombucha wallet was inspired by these wallets and paper, with the advantage of the appearance of the leather and still be biodegradable.

    very interesting.

    1) where do you get the SCOTBY from?

    2) if you wanted to make larger items, can you just scale up the process?

    3) will the Kombucha grow to fit the container it is in, or is there a limit to how much of an area it will cover?

    4) in step one you said it looks and feels similar to leather, but is it as durable?

    1 reply


    1) SCOBY(Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) or mother culture can be obtained in two ways: you can receive a donation from someone who grows Kombucha or buys it over the internet.

    2) Yes the process can be scaled.

    3) Yes the Kombucha will grow by adjusting the shape of the container.

    4) There is no information available on the durability of this material because it is a state-of-the-art research. Due to the studies found, a direct relation of the properties of this material is evidenced not only the culture phase and its culture medium, but also the post treatments and purifications

    I just split my mother and didn't have anyone to gift it to so it went into the compost pile. This looks like a fun way to use the splits. What was the final thickness of the "leather" after the mother dried? I'm just trying to get an idea on what the expected thickness shrinkage would be.

    1 reply

    The mother have originally 10mm thickness, and after dried become 0,6mm.

    I'll include this among the things I'd rather not know how it was made...

    1 reply

    Eu sei como você se sente, eu por exemplo prefiria não saber como as salsichas são feitas ! kkkkk

    this looks like a nice and versatile alternative to leather, I'd love to a video of the process.

    what temp do you leave the mixture to thicken (step 1)

    how long does it take to dry it to a useable form - step 2 ?

    also, is it possible to form the kombucha over a weave like cheesecloth ( at step one, so the cheesecloth is part of the kombucha ), for extra strength and thickness?


    1 reply

    In step 1, I put the water in a stainless steel pan, heat it to the boil, add the sugar until completely diluted, and then turn the heat off. Then I add the infusion tea bags and wait until the temperature reaches 30 degrees Celsius. I remove the tea bags and put the mixture in the container where the kombucha will grow. I add vinegar and SCOBY. I cover the top of the container with a cloth or paper so that it stays firm and stretched. The time for the cellulose layer to appear on the surface is fast, around 48h but for this thick layer it takes about 22 days.

    In step 2, after removing the cellulose from the container, it is washed with soap and water and set to dry on a smooth wooden sheet. This drying takes from 1 to 2 weeks depending on the ventilation and temperature and humidity of the air .

    On the possibility of joining tissues to kombucha, I did not try to, but there is a study of a university in portugal, where they cultivated the kombucha together with a knitted fabric placed on the cultivation surface.

    I made some of the tea years ago but could not develop a taste for it. It never occurred to me that you could do anything else with it.