Public Lab Wiki documentation

kombucha leather

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The lead image is by Suzanne Lee (watch her TED talk)

  • biomaterial means a regenerative material created by living organisms, as contrasted with materials that must be mined or extracted, or require high energy inputs from fossil fuels
  • kombucha is a symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast
  • kombucha leather is the dried form of the thickened layer that forms over fermenting liquid kombucha

Design goals

  • grow microbial leather that can be sewn or moulded in ways analogous to leather, parchment or homemade paper
  • improve our production techniques to gain greater control over the attributes of the final material
  • test enhancements of the microbial leather such as coloring or waterproofing

Project background

Artists and designers are exploring the potential of microbial leather as a sustainable alternative to the ethically and environmentally problematic use of animal-sourced leather. Parsons Sustainable Systems is helping to advance this research.


Questions can be either frequently asked questions, or "next step" challenges we're looking to solve.


Activities show how to use this project, step by step.

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.