Finding the moss
1Gather up as much moss as you can find or buy. Where you gather the moss is important. The kind that grows on trees won’t necessarily do well on walls.
- Gather moss from pavement, damp bricks, cement walkway, etc. Moss from the woods doesn’t work as well and should be left in the wild. If there is no moss on the walks and walls where you live, the moss milk probably won’t work in that climate.
Preparing the moss
Making moss milk
1Add the buttermilk/yogurt, water/beer and sugar. Blend the mixture until completely smooth. You’ll want it to have a paint-like texture.
- If the mixture is at a consistency where you feel it will drip, add corn syrup until the consistency you desire is reached.
- Alternatively, use one cup of ordinary milk to 1 to 2 tablespoons of moss.
Pour mixture from the blender to a bucket. Whizz around but do not liquefy it because the moss cells must stay intact.
Applying the moss graffiti
Use a paintbrush to apply the moss-paint to the surface on which you wish your design to grow.
If possible, check back weekly to either spray the design with water (to encourage moss growth, especially if you live in a dry environment) or apply more moss-paint.
Check your moss graffiti regularly. Depending on your climate, sometimes it takes a while to grow your moss.
What would be the ideal weather to make the moss grow?
There is no specific, ideal weather, as there are many different types of moss through out the world. Whatever moss you find growing outside should work for the graffiti, as it is already growing in your climate. If it is very dry, however, you may need to water your moss more often. Similarly, if it is very rainy, you might not need to water your moss as often.
Which type of moss should I use for moss graffiti?
Whatever surface you will be painting on ( i.e., brick, wood etc.), use that as the medium for the moss, so that when you look outside, you look for moss growing on that medium. If there is moss outside growing on brick and you are going to be painting it into brick, then use that, as the moss is already growing in your climate on the surface you want, so it is therefore a match.
How often should I check on the moss?
You should check on it about once or twice a week to see whether it needs more water or patching up with more moss.
Is Scotch/Irish moss all right to use?
Irish moss is pretty hardy stuff as it is sun-tolerant and, unlike other mosses, can grow on most surfaces from walls to trees. For this reason, it can be used to make ‘moss graffiti’. Of course, its success can’t be guaranteed as it depends completely on your specific environment and climate.
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- Moss grows best on porous surfaces such as bricks or other stones.
- The best times to plant your graffiti are in the spring or fall, and keeping the moss moist will encourage its growth.
- If for any reason you wish to get rid of the design or parts of the design, spray it with lime juice as this will kill the moss.
- Condensed milk can be used in place of buttermilk or milk.
- This paint is very tasty to slugs. Start your graffiti well above ground level or it will just get eaten.
- Apply your paint in a moist area that receives a moderate amount of sunlight.
- Moss can also be used as a decorative element indoors.
- Graffiti art, unless done with a public art permit, is probably not legal in your area. This article does not endorse illegal art, but does suggest that the graffiti can be done in or around your home or with a permit.
- If you’re doing this because it’s the green thing to do, be careful of how you obtain your moss. Please do NOT gather it from public areas. You can buy it from nurseries or online sources who grow it commercially. It’s not exactly anti-establishment but the right thing to do.
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