Moss Graffiti




Horticulturist's of the past came up with a brilliant recipe to encourage the growth of moss to age and add interest to their garden designs, this recipe can be used as an an environmentally friendly alternative to spray paint.

The success of the recipe itself can be very hit and miss and is very much dependent upon choosing exactly the right location and weather conditions; moss thrives in the damp and can most often be found growing near to a leaky drainpipe or rain-soaked wall. If you have difficulty finding the right climate in which to grow your moss, grow it indoors (where it can be frequently spray-misted with water) and transplant it outdoors as soon as it has begun to grow. This is what I have done in the example shown in this instructable.

*Several clumps of moss
*1 pot of natural yoghurt or 12oz buttermilk (experiment to see which works best)
*1/2 teaspoon of sugar
*Plastic pot (with a lid)
*Paint brush
nb If growing your moss inside you will also need a seed tray containing compost

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Step 1: Find Some Moss

Moss can often be found growing in damp areas, between the cracks in paving stones, on drainpipe covers or, in this example, near to a riverbank.

Step 2: Gather Several Clumps of Moss

Gather several clumps of moss in a bag and take them to a place where you can easily wash them

Step 3: Wash the Moss

Carefully clean the moss of as much mud as possible.

Step 4: Add the Ingredients

Place some of the moss, the buttermilk (or yoghurt) and sugar into a blender and start to mix. This must be done in small phases as the moss can easily get caught in the blades of blender. Keep blending until you have a green milkshake with the texture of a thick smoothie. Pour the mixture into a plastic container.

Step 5: Paint Your Design

Paint your chosen design onto your chosen location or (if growing indoors) on top of a flattened layer of compost in a seed tray.

Step 6: Spray Mist Your Design

Ensure that your moss design is kept moist by spray-misting it with water regularly. After a few weeks the moss should start to re-contitute and grow.

Step 7: Transfer Your Design Outdoors

If growing moss indoors transfer it to a suitable location (where it is likely to be kept damp) outdoors. Return regularly to the location and see its progress, spray-misting it if it starts to dry out.



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    52 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Hi! I made the moss mixture about a week ago. But i couldn't paint it outside because it kept raining. How long can i keep it stored in the fridge?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I would like to find out if I could get the moss go grow on cotton paper at? Would I use the same method? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


    4 years ago on Introduction

    it's a method that allows artists go grow moss on sculptures that may alluding to the destruction of nature on the one hand. Also by showing this method to children, we can show them how to cultivate moss and perhaps make a creative landscape using this method, the lesson being that nature is fragile while it is also strong. A great experiment for them causing in harm to anyone or anything

    umm, am i the only one who sees this as complete destruction of nature in the name of a silly project? we should not be teaching people complete irresponsibility towards things like moss, which is a huge part of a vibrant forest ecosystem. this project should be taken down from the site!

    9 replies

    I'll see your point and raise it to logic.
    Likely not, there are 6.5Bn people on the planet. You could consider this destruction, but on the scale of possible destruction, hipster organic all natural etc. apple orchards are far worse, the moss supply will grow back in under a year or even within weeks depending on where you get it. If you live in anything except under the stars, buck naked, you have more impact than this. Heck, squirrels have more of an impact than this project.

    lime3DGeneral Forget

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    No, its not a destruction of nature. On the contrary. By taking a sample of moss from one location, and allowing it to replicate in a new location, this project actually increases the amount.

    THANK you. What is it with people that think "it's just a bit of moss" is an excuse? You could just as easily say "it's just a little tree (perfect for Christmas)" or "it's just a beaver" or "it's just a human baby" - there's lots more out there, so it doesn't matter if we take this one. Now, if you're taking it from untended pots in your own back yard, great, but don't go "stealing" it from public places or other people's property.

    Next thing...what is it with thinking that you have to paint things with yogurt just because Martha says to? Moss has been around a whole lot longer than Martha, and even longer than yogurt, and even longer than humans. Put a rock in the shade and keep it damp, you'll get moss without wasting your time painting it with yogurt. If you put a rock in the sun, and paint it with yogurt, you're still not going to get moss.

    How can you call growing plants destruction of nature i dont see my garden as being destructive my frogs and lizards love the moss

    General Forget, I think this is a lovely way to create art. I live in a city and any bit of greenery is very welcome. And I'm certainly not lucky enough to live near a forest, the only moss that will "come to harm" is from my back garden - growing where it shouldn't in neglected pots!!

    I think there's plenty of nasty ways that people are destroying the environment, which are far more worth getting angry about, without getting upset over a handful of folks having a bit of harmless fun with moss - which most gardeners would chuck into their compost bin anyway.

    There is no harm in growing anything -_- .. By this logic growing tomatoes in your garden would be an equally destructive activity.

    This is a fun growing experiment and gives you a nice moss garden/designs in a nice eco-friendly way. Thanks for the project ideas!

    Pay no attention to the man behind the dfforget curtain. He knows not of what he speaks and is curmudgeonly beyond his years.

    This is a great, non-descructive all natural way to incorporate art into nature. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be graffiti, it could be adding moss to your rock garden or along a water feature or to hide the drain in your driveway. Even if you don't like it, it'll eventually grow itself away.

    I agree with how you feel, but moss is something that easily heals itself, plus moss graffiti can help spread moss around if its done within the appropriate environment, people shouldn't wantonly tear up beds of moss yes, but taking samples for a project that really turns out nice and even ends up helping out I think makes up for any havoc it may cause.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i was just wondering what good the buttermilk makes could you just not use water?? i want to do this but dont want to waste milk so could i do it with just 1/2 cows mils 1/2 water would it work???? does the milk give it food or something? thanks

    5 replies

    apprently the yogurt or buttermilk can be replaced with a can of beer (more man-like), and remeber kiddies, beer makes moss and kills brain-cells so stay sober.