What you need to make a spore print

Grow Mushrooms from the Spore Print

Most of the things you will need to do to make a spore print can be found in every household. If you use the spore print to identify fungi, you do not have to pay attention to a sterile environment; if you want to create the spore print so that you can grow your own mushrooms at home, you should get additional equipment.

Material list for a spore print

  • A mushroom that is as fresh as possible
  • Underlay, for example, a cutting board
  • Aluminum foil or paper or glass support
  • Glass
  • Shish kebab skewer or toothpick
  • Disposable scalpel or sharp knife
  • Bunsen burner or lighter

If you want to grow mushrooms from the spore print, you should also have the following ready:

  • Alcohol swab (or similar)
  • Mouthguard
  • Disposable gloves

Before starting, I recommend that you thoroughly disinfect your workplace if you want to grow mushrooms again later from the spore print.

This is how spore prints are made

To work more neatly and allow the spore print to lie down overnight, prepare a mat. A chopping board from the kitchen is ideal. If you want to work in sterile conditions, wrap the mat in aluminium foil.

Aluminium foil has proven to be very effective in catching the spores for spore printing as well as possible and growing mushrooms from them. For the identification of the fungus, plain white paper is suitable, as the colour of the spores is clearly visible. For microscopic examination, a print of the spores can be placed directly on a glass slide.

Important: In order to fold neatly later, the strip must be wider than the paper and at least twice as long as the paper. In the example in the video it is approximately 15cm x 20cm.

When you are ready, disinfect the base, the aluminium foil and the glass again. If you want to make spore moulds to grow mushrooms again, work with 70% isopropyl alcohol. As conventional surface disinfectants have a disinfecting effect, spore prints can no longer be used for growing mushrooms.

If the scalpel has just been purchased from a mushroom growing shop, it has already been sterilised and you can start working with it immediately. If not, simply sterilise it with the flame of a Bunsen burner or lighter.

Next, carefully remove the stem as close to the base as possible. Take care not to touch the slats as much as possible.

Then place the mushroom head, lamellae side down, on a piece of aluminium foil and place the glass on top of it. Leave it in this position for 24 hours to allow the spores to unravel and fall onto the aluminium foil.

After this, the spore print is almost ready. The spores will be clearly visible on the aluminium foil. The mushroom heads are then removed. In order to make the spore print durable, the condensation on the glass and aluminium foil must first evaporate. To do this, stick a skewer around the rim of the glass and allow the air to circulate.

After 12 hours, the condensed water should have completely evaporated. Now it is time to remove the glass and fold up the aluminium foil so that the spore print is as tightly sealed as possible.

Finally, we label the spore prints. We label our spore prints with information such as the type of fungus, manufacture date, and generation from which the print originated.

The spore prints we make can easily be used years later, as long as they are stored in a dark and cool place. It is also a good idea to keep them in a zippered bag to prevent airborne fungal spores from sticking to the outside of the aluminium foil as much as possible.