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Mushroom Spore Print

A mushroom spore is too small to see without a microscope. But millions of spores together look like dust. You can see them by making a spore print. Here's how.

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Average Rating:
Participant Age: 7 to 12, Under 7
Approximate Cost: Under $10
Duration: Over an hour
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Portabella mushroom from the grocery store
  • Light-colored sheet of paper
  • Wide drinking glass or bowl
  • Can of hairspray or spray fixative from an art supply store
Prepare Mushroom Cap

Remove the stem from the mushroom cap. Place the cap on the piece of paper with the underside facing down. That's where the gills are, and the spores fall out from between the gills.

Cover Cap

Cover the mushroom cap with the glass or bowl. Leave it covered for 24 hours Don't peek! When time is up, carefully remove the cover and mushroom cap to see your spore print.


Spray Print

Spray the print with the hairspray or fixative to keep the spores in place.

Make a Picture With Your Print

You can make a picture using the spore print. Draw petals around it to make a flower; give it a head, antennas and legs to make a bug; or come up with ideas of your own. You can even use several spore prints together to make a scene. Hang up your spore print or picture for everyone to see.


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