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Making with Microbes



Ever wanted to make your own paper or plastic? Or create leather that doesn’t use animals? Why not try collaborating with microbes —  tiny microscopic organisms —  to design and grow a custom biomaterial at home! This biomaterial is made by the millions of living yeast and bacteria that normally work together to produce kombucha, a fermented tea. But, depending on what you feed your collaborators, they can also grow interesting and different pieces of biomaterial for you!  

Design Challenge

Grow your own unique piece of biomaterial and make something creative with it!


Biology, Biodesign




Mix: 30 min  |  Grow: 1-3 weeks

Dry: 1-2 days  |  Create: 30 min

Key Concepts

Living systems, biomaterials, microbes, fermentation

This activity was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number R25 GM129220, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Getting Started

Learn more with our videos

Learn more with our PDF guides


Making with Microbes Activity Guide

Follow this guide to use living microbes to grow a unique biomaterial!

biomaterial BTL

Making with Microbes Essential Questions

Get answers to some of the sticky questions frequently asked by adults.


Making with Microbes Care and Feeding

The inside scoop on how to help your microbes be happy and grow well!


Making with Microbes Suncatchers

Ideas to customize your biomaterial so that it shines in the sun.

If you think this looks fun, wait ‘til you try these!

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