Public Lab Wiki documentation

kombucha leather

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.

Title Author Updated Likes
How durable is kombucha leather? @lait422 9 months ago
How can I waterproof kombucha leather? @lait422 9 months ago
What kinds of surface design / decoration can i apply to kombucha leather? @liz about 1 year ago
How do I dye kombucha leather? @liz about 1 year ago
What are some techniques for drying kombucha leather? @liz about 1 year ago
How can i manipulate kombucha leather? @liz about 1 year ago
Does it matter what kind of tea i use to grow kombucha? @liz about 1 year ago

Ask a question  or help answer future questions


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

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Using a home-made Spectrometer to test kombucha readiness - - @mkoistinen - - 0 replications: Try it »
Grow kombucha leather (Parsons Healthy Materials Lab) - - @liz - - 0 replications: Try it »
Grow kombucha leather - - @liz - - 1 replications: Try it »

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

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