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: 30-45 min  |  Grow: 7+ days

Dry: 1-2 days  |  Create: 30 min

Key Concepts

Living systems, biomaterials, microbes, fermentation

Want a challenge?


Research how tea is grown and cultivated.

Want a challenge?


Grow your own biomaterial with tea and sugar.

Want a challenge?


Can you change the color of your growing biomaterial with dyes?

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

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

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