How to paint moss?

I was so inspired by these images and making what’s called “moss graffiti paint“ a mixture of moss, water and buttermilk. It gave me the idea to try it out on a stone Balinese statue that sits on my balcony. I thought he could use a nice coat of green, so, I followed this exact recipe… and the results are far beyond what I expected! Clearly I picked up a lot more than moss!!


My statue now has a nice coat of moss and the most beautiful ferns draping his shoulders like a boa feather. The plants growing out of his ears and nose make me laugh every time I see him. I love it so much!!

Moss Graffiti Recipe ( adapted from Apartment Therapy)

  1. Collect a good handful of moss. I found mine outside of my building, under the shade.
  2. Wash off most of the dirt and place in a blender
  3. Add 1/2 cup of buttermilk plus 1 tablespoon of sugar
  4. Add luke warm water and blend until you get a thick, creamy consistency
  5. Paint the surface that you want covered in moss, but remember, you may get some other plants growing too!
  6. Mist the painted surface everyday and if you have extra mixture, keep it in the fridge to reapply
  7. Continue misting and reapplying moss paint until it begins to establish, or about 1 week
  8. Remember to choose an area away from direct sunlight for your moss to grow.

We lurve green graffiti, so when we spotted this DIY moss graffiti recipe over on Green Prophet we just had to share it with you. Stories from Space is experimenting with the perfect formula that allows you to green your walls with moss and choose the shape in which it finally matures. All you need to get started is a can of beer, a tiny bit of sugar, a few clumps of garden moss, a blender, and a paintbrush. Step on in to learn more.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • 1 can of beer
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • several clumps of moss
  • a plastic container
  • a blender
  • a paintbrush

Go out and find some garden moss, grab quite a bit of it, and push it into your blender. (Don’t let your mom or roommates see, because they might not love this idea as much as you.) Add the beer and sugar to the moss and blend the mixture until it has a nice creamy consistency. Pour this into a plastic container or whatever other vessel you prefer and head on outside (to a north-facing wall in the northern hemisphere) with a paintbrush.

Once you have found a moist and shaded section of wall, you can start painting your moss graffiti. Depending on the design that you choose, you may want to use a stencil, unless you prefer to free-hand your design. In any case, you will want to paint on the mixture and then keep returning to the spot to make sure that it stays moist. Eventually, the moss will re-constitute itself and grow. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

+ Stories from Space

Via Green Prophet

Lead image via

How to Make Moss Graffiti – Step by Step Guide to the Coolest DIY Project or Something Else?

August 4, 2015 Anika Dačić graduated in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade and is currently pursuing MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. Her interests lie in social and cultural aspects of contemporary art production and she especially enjoys writing about street and urban art. Likes to knit, play adventure video games and host quiz nights at a local bar.

As part of our DIY summer special, we decided to bring the culture of moss graffiti closer to our readers. This recent street art form has gathered so many admirers around the world that we simply cannot put its relevance into question. Eco-graffiti or environment-friendly street art is the young offspring of guerrilla gardening which tends to bring nature into our urban public spaces. It seems that for some artists the traditional spray paint and marker pens became too toxic and mainstream, so they decided to take more “natural” approach to their creative endeavors.

We recently wrote about essential steps in making your first stencils and mural paintings and today we are giving you some suggestions on how to make moss graffiti in our in-depth, step-by-step tutorial. Unlike other forms of street art that can be finished in a day or two, if we consider large-scale murals, this project will require much more patience and effort cause that moss isn’t really going to grow on its own, at least not in the beginning. Otherwise, it is really so simple that even your granny can do it. And why not? She might even want to join you some day. Wouldn’t that be a great thing to see? Anyway, let’s get our hands dirty and start our mossy tutorial.

Hugo Rojas – DUMBO ArtsFest, 2012. Photo © Jaime Rojo via brooklynstreetart

How to Make Moss Graffiti

Let’s first take a look at some essential tools that you must have if you plan to make your graffiti garden. You will need moss, of course, and we’ll talk about the right place to find it later. Then you must have blender or a similar gadget that will never be used for its original purpose again, a couple of cups of water, the same amount of buttermilk or yogurt (vegan yogurt will serve), a tablespoon of sugar and corn syrup (optional). And if you are really, really lazy some innovative people even made a special moss milkshake which comes in a regular milk carton but already has all ingredients mixed for you. If you plan to do it from scratch, then stay on this page for a while longer.

Dr Love – Moss mixed with stencil made for Upfest in Bristol via streetartnews

Step 1: Find Some Moss

What is the best moss that can serve your purpose? You need moss that has been on the streets before and not some previous “tree hugger”. So forget your trip to nature and start ripping the moss from the cracks in the pavement. It’s the moss you need because you know it will thrive in the urban environment. And if there isn’t any moss in your area then the climate is wrong, and you can forget about it all, and accept the fact that you will never become a star of the moss graffiti scene. Once you have one or two handfuls of moss ripped from the ground with the roots, and cleaned from the dirt, you can begin to mix the ingredients.

Mosstika Urban Greenery – Hungarian Cattle – Brooklyn, 2008. Courtesy of the artist

Step 2: Make a Really Messy Mixture

This is where you want to get that blender working and the recipe is as follows, with no special order required. You want to break large pieces of moss into smaller ones and place them in the blender. Then you add 2 cups of buttermilk or alternatives which are discussed earlier, 2 cups of water, a tablespoon of sugar and that corn syrup for a smoothie-like texture. Once you have your “paint” it is time to choose the right location, pick up your brush and paint your mossy masterpiece.

Anna Garforth – Grow, 2013.

Step 3: Plant Your Mossy Design on the Wall

But what is the best wall? Why should you go through all this trouble if your moss graffiti won’t grow? Well, this is where some essential botanic knowledge comes to the rescue. First of all you should consider planting your artwork in spring or autumn, as moss likes moist and will thrive on those places not exposed to direct sunlight. Secondly, the best place is a stony area or a wall made of bricks. And definitely do not forget to plant your artwork high above the ground or otherwise your moss graffiti will become a feast for slugs. Once you know all this you are ready to get your brush and spread your mixture on the wall in the shape of your previous design. You also shouldn’t forget to sprinkle some water on your artwork occasionally and see how it grows day by day.

And that is how you make moss graffiti, the coolest DIY project, loved by the local community members worldwide. But is it really loved by all?

Stefaan De Croock aka Strook – Reverse moss graffiti. Courtesy of the artist

Moss Graffiti: Helping the Planet or Destroying the Essence of Street Art

Although it is approved among the communities and it’s rarely tagged as vandalism is this kind of artistic expression staying close to the very roots of street art? It is a form of public intervention definitely, and a way of artistic expression, but is it a form of graffiti after all? Moss graffiti is mostly presented as a healthier and eco-friendly alternative to aerosol works and spray paint and it is a good initiative when it comes to the raising awareness of global environment issues. To be sure, there are impressive artworks made of moss out there, but when it comes to praising moss graffiti just because they’re made of nature-friendly materials and promoting them as an alternative to the traditional graffiti styles that we all love and cherish, can we really accept it? There is a question to be considered and in the meantime…

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All images used for illustrative purposes.

Featured image: Anna Garforth – Grow, 2013. Courtesy of the artist

How to Make Moss Graffiti – The Step by Step “Grow” Guide

Before getting into our guide on making moss graffiti, let’s talk about the impact of paint in the graffiti world. Obviously paint is not the most environmentally friendly medium for artistic expression. A significant number of these products contain substances that may be harmful to the environment such as lead, cadmium, formaldehyde, CFCs in paint spray, and many other similarly toxic substances. An alternative to using paint is to use moss instead. This medium is not only ecologically sound but also grows with time.

Choosing The Right Spot

Areas that are exposed to the sun throughout the day are not conducive for moss growth. Moss needs some amount of sunlight in order to survive. Because moss is technically a plant, the area also needs to be moist enough to allow the moss access to sufficient water to grow. A wall inside the house may also be used as long as it satisfies these criteria. If the spot does not receive light from the sun, one or more light bulbs may be used to simulate sunlight.

Planning The Graffiti Piece

Good artwork takes careful preparation. A site for the graffiti should first be selected. The site should be made of material that is porous enough to allow the moss to take root. A tentative plan on how it will look should then be etched on the chosen wall using chalk. This will ensure that what is put up is not haphazard or amateurish but something that will add an artistic ambiance to the area.

Gathering The Materials

Once a tentative plan has been chalked out, it is now time to collect the materials needed to churn out the moss paint. The most important ingredient is moss. About a handful or at least two clumps of it would be enough but having more would not be bad. Moss is not really hard to find. It is common in most places that receive some amount of sunlight such as the wall of fence.

*Two cups of buttermilk is also needed (Yogurt may be used as a substitute).
*1 half a teaspoon of sugar
*2 cups of water (beer may also be used instead),
*A standard Blender
*Paintbrush
*Stencils if necessary (large wall stencils work great such as our Chevron stencil pattern).
*Container for the finished product
*Corn syrup may also be needed in certain cases to increase the consistency

Preparing The Moss For Processing

Wash the moss carefully. Make sure that bits of soil found on its roots are completely removed, or at least as much of it as possible. The clumps of moss are then broken apart even further into smaller pieces. This will make it more manageable and easier for the blender to work on.

Mixing It All Together

Place the washed, broken up moss in the blender. Add the two cups of buttermilk, the two cups of water, and the half teaspoon of sugar. Blend this mixture until it is completely smooth. Now, use the paintbrush to test the consistency of the blended mixture. If it drips like paint with too much moisture, add corn syrup then blend the mixture again. Repeat this step until sufficiently viscous consistency is achieved. If the mixture becomes too thick, this can easily be remedied by adding water.

Once the moss paint mixture has the desired consistency, transfer it into another container with a lid. Seal it for the time being until a sufficient amount of this paint mixture is produced. If the mixture is to be used later, store it in the refrigerator.

Applying The Moss Paint

A paintbrush it the most common means of applying the moss mixture on the wall. Spraying it onto the wall is another method. The moss, however, often does not take hold as quickly as when a paintbrush is used. The moss being used as paint is a living thing. The harsher method of spraying it on the wall will not help it take root effectively. Using a paintbrush is a gentler way to apply the mixture.

Stencils may also be used to create a precise image or graffiti. These could be cut from waste cardboard lying around the house into any shape desired. Another method is to cover the whole surface with moss paint, allow it to take root and grow, then trim or remove portions of it to produce the graffiti piece. A dull knife or even a piece of hard wood may be used to accomplish this. Some people use high pressure water hoses but this requires more expertise and a steadier hand. And who knows, you could be the next Banksy of moss graffiti art.

Once the graffiti is completed, store the excess in the refrigerator. This will ensure that a ready supply is at hand for use on days when an additional coat of moss needs to be added.

Helping The Moss Take Root And Thrive

The first couple of weeks are critical. The moss graffiti should be misted using a water spray once every other day to keep it moist. On days when it is not to be misted with water, apply an additional coat of moss paint mixture. The best time to put up a moss graffiti are the spring and fall seasons. There is sufficient moisture in the air so misting or applying a new coat of moss paint may be done once a week. Monitor the moss graffiti on a regular basis to ensure it stays moist. This will encourage its growth.

Removing Moss Graffiti

When one becomes bored of the mural or tag, scraping off the moss will not do. Small particles of it may still remain to reproduce. The most efficient way to completely remove moss is to spray it with lime juice. This will kill the moss and effectively remove it from the medium. The graffiti can also be modified this way. Use a stencil so only the areas where moss is to be removed is exposed.

In Summary

Moss graffiti is not difficult to accomplish. It does need careful planning like any artistic endeavor. Time is also needed to make the moss paint mixture and ensure that the moss takes root and grows properly. The refreshing appeal and ecological soundness of the graffiti piece produced is well worth the trouble though. If you want to create an intricate design then it will take some careful planning and application. Choosing a stencil somewhere in the mid range difficulty such as the 50 stars stencil template is a good option.

Have you heard of moss graffiti or moss art? Outdoor walls and surfaces covered in mosses shaped into words or images (Google Images). Many articles on the internet promote mosses as an easy way to create living/green art. As a scientist who regularly grows mosses in the laboratory I have a number of issues with this art form, but let’s start with methods.

There are two methods described online for making this type of live wall art.
#1 The milkshake technique – Collect a few clumps of mosses. Grind up the mosses in a blender with buttermilk, beer, or some other liquid to help the moss stick to the wall. Then paint the mossy solution onto the wall. Water the mossy area to help the mosses to grow.
#2 Collect patches of mosses. Trim and arrange them into the desired design. Then paste/attach them onto the wall.
The problem with many of the descriptions online is that method #1 is outlined and then art made using method #2 is displayed as the result! There are many before photos and videos for the milkshake technique (here, here, and here), but hardly any after photos. This is the best one I could find. Why do very few people show the results of the milkshake technique (method #1)? Well, mosses are not fast growing plants. After painting mosses onto a wall they need to be kept constantly moist and will take a long time to grow. I think that many people try out this technique and few plants grow.
Why does this technique seem to fail so often? In theory this technique could work. All moss cells are totipotent, meaning each individual moss cell can regrow an entire moss plant. However, moss species are often very specific to where they grow. Some species grow only on soil, others on trees, and still others on rocks. The success rate will probably be low if mosses that usually grow on soil or wood are painted onto concrete or brick walls. Another reason they may not grow is that the surface is not moist enough.
The vast majority of the moss graffiti images online were not made using the milkshake technique. The lush mats of mosses in the shape of a creature or phrase with crisp edges were instead made from fully grown mosses. Very few sites describe the process wherein they harvest mosses, cut them into those amazing shapes, and then use a paste to attach them to the wall. Most mosses used for horticultural or ornamental purposes are collected from the wild. The mosses used in these pieces may be able to stay alive or continue to grow for a while, but I wonder how long they can stay alive without constant watering and maintenance. My guess would be that they can stay alive for a bit, but in the end they would eventually die.
These urban displays of mosses are beautiful, but I think that it is important to consider the cost of this beauty. Where was the beautiful moss taken from to put onto this wall?
I think it is a fun activity to move mosses around the yard on a local scale to landscape with mosses. I am also in favor of purchasing mosses from a grower that produces them sustainably or rescues them from development sites, like Moss’in Annie. However, I imagine that many of the mosses used for these art/graffiti installations were not sourced in an eco-friendly way, but were instead pillaged from the wild. The strip mining collection of mosses is a big business with much of the collection in the United States happening in the Pacific Northwest and in the Appalachian Mountains. Personally and professionally I am opposed to this type of collecting. Many of these mosses are long lived plants that are growing in old climax communities. They could easily be 10 to 50 years old and it could take at least that long for them to regrow. Wild collection on a massive scale is just not sustainable industry.
Consider a hunt for urban mosses that are hiding in plain sight. Any moist place is a great location for mosses to grow. In the cracks or at the edges of the sidewalk. Beneath a dripping window air conditioner. Around the base of a tree trunk. Mosses are writing their own graffiti and they are adding a bit of green to the man-made world that surrounds us.
An alternative to adding mosses to walls is to remove some of the mosses that are already present to create a design. I thought this one was a pretty amazing display of that technique.

My moss art is probably my favorite thing in my Secret Garden. This project started out as a complete failure. I had seen all over pinterest “moss graffiti” that was always words. I wanted so badly to give it a try, but to do my own version of it. Not a saying, but a design.

The problem was that there were plenty of articles that talked about it and tons that had “recipes.” However, there was not a single one that I could find where the person had actually done it. Almost every article had the SAME picture. So I decided to try it and see if it would really works.

ATTEMPT #1 {REAL MOSS}

This wall of my house is on the north. It is mostly shady and there was already moss growing on the ground along the wall. I figured this would be the best place to try out moss graffiti.

The recipe that sounded like it was the best included buttermilk, water retention gel, moss, and water. Water retention gel actually comes as granules. I bought mine online after doing a search for it. I found that the amount of water retention gel that they were saying to add was way too much. I played around until I had what I thought was a good consistency.

It looked like manure and I was grossed out to touch it. It felt like what I imagine a fresh pile of manure would feel like too and it stunk. Uggg. But I powered through. I taped up my stencil with painters tape. It held surprisingly well. This stunning stencil is from Cutting Edge Stencils and is called Zamira. They actually had it enlarged for me when they discovered what I was doing with it 🙂 I {heart} them.

I used my hands to smear it on. I wanted to push and smear it really well so it got stuck in all the grooves of the brick. It obviously took longer than if I had been painting, but I also only had one to do and not the whole wall. I got done and when the water retention gel’s moisture got sucked into the dry brick, I realized that it was too thin. There was still too much gel and not enough moss. I made some more and barely put any gel in at all.

This picture is just showing how I had to flip the stencil over to get the full design.

Here you can see that I added a thicker application of the moss.

Now here is the sad part of the story. The big fat fail. Up until this point I had full control of the project. But from this point on it was Mother Nature that had the upper hand. We had record low humidity. And record high heat. I also got started on this project later in the spring than I had hoped. I was shooting for March and ended up getting to it in early May.

I did everything I could possible do. I started out spraying it with water from a spray bottle every morning and evening. The brick was absorbing the water too quickly so I bought a misting system and hung it above. That helped and I started to see some growth. But it just got too hot to quick. The 100 degree weather was too much. At this point I decided to come up with a plan B. At first I was going to get plywood and blend up some more moss and try to grow in indoors where I could control the environment a bit more. But I didn’t want to wait the 6 weeks it usually takes for the moss to grow. So I decided to use preserved moss.

OPTION #2 {PRESERVED SHEET MOSS}

I bought the thinnest plywood I could find since I didn’t want it to be heavy. You can get plywood in 4 feet by 4 feet pieces instead of the regular 8×4 and it will save you money. Plus, the end project is almost 4×4 anyway.

I stained it grey because I wanted it to look weathered and also to match the rest of my secret garden.

I then used the same stencil and traced it with a pencil.

I bought 7 bags of preserved sheet moss at Hobby Lobby. I had a bunch of extra scrap pieces so I probably could have gotten away with less. I would lay a piece of moss down on one of the designs and slowly cut along the lines. I would have to blow to get the dirt and tiny pieces of moss out of the way so I could see the line. Most took 2 or three pieces of moss. Only the little ones were able to be cut out of a single piece of moss. As soon as I had it cut out I used a glue gun to adhere it to the board. Where the seams were (where the two pieces of moss touched) I kind of fluffed it up so the seam was not as noticeable. And in a few cases I would glue small pieces of moss on the seam. This took me three days of doing a few here and a few there as my kids and schedule would allow.

It looked like a hot mess while I was working on it and I was beginning to worry. But as soon as I got the shop vac and cleaned it up I was amazed!

This next step is the most important step if you will be hanging your moss art outdoors.

This NEEDS to be sealed. Preserved moss is dyed so it will look green. In the sun it will fade and if it gets wet, the dye washes off. If you hang it like it is without sealing it, as soon as it get wet, you will have green streaks running down the board.

I use Helmsman on almost everything I put outside (ie. furniture) and most of the time I use the kind in a can and use a brush. But with this project I used it in the spray can.

I sprayed the crap out of it. I saturated the moss. I think I ended up doing 4 coats and used two bottles. Over kill? Maybe. But while I was sealing this out in my garage (with the door open) we were having intense rain storms. I wanted to make sure it held up alright. After I hung it we had another storm (the one that knocked my huge tree over). It has rained several times since and it has held up so far. Not only does the Helmsman Spray help seal it but it also has UV blockers to help prevent fading. If it does fade, you can also freshen it up like I showed with my topiary.

I already had the molding/trim since I had planned on framing the real moss that was growing directly on the brick. I cut it and added it to the board. Since the board is so thin, I screwed the molding on from the back. I thought it would hold better than nailing with my nail gun. As far as hanging it on the side of my house, my husband and I screwed it directly into the brick.

The real moss is actually still on my house. It is just covered up by the plywood version. I am still determined to see if I can make it work under better weather conditions. I have moss growing on my garage roof like crazy so I figure it could totally work. But I love this version too 🙂

I am glad for the first failure because I realized that there are many of you that live in places where growing moss is not an option. And there are those of you who may not want to stick you hand in the manure-like moss and go to all the effort to get it to grow. So there are two options depending on you and where you live that you can try!

How To Make Moss Graffiti: An Organic Art Form

Have you ever thought about decorating the walls of your home with graffiti? I believe not! But what if I were about to tell you that there is a way to make natural graffiti that not only will highlight the beauty of your house but it will also give it an impressive added value?

No, for this type of art you don’t have to use paints, but some unusual ingredients that will make a special type of “paint”. This natural paint can basically decorate anything, from ugly concrete angles to old bricks or old wood, creating wonderful living art.

I’m speaking about the moss, a natural element that is lately used to create impressive graffiti art. Generally you’d just get out your weed whacker and get rid of the moss, but in this article we’re talking about turning into something impressive. If you would like to try an alternative solution for your home décor, read this How To Make Moss Graffiti: Organic Art guide and discover the secrets of the living paintings.

What Is Moss Graffiti?

Moss graffiti, also known as eco-graffiti or green graffiti, is a green alternative to the toxic and environmentally harmful spray paintings used by the street artists. In fact, with moss and a few other harmless ingredients can be created a natural paint that, with time, will simply grow where it was applied. This paint of moss will eventually give life to original green creations that will enhance the facades and the walls of any building.

Today, moss graffiti is considered a true Guerrilla Gardening instrument.

Why Should You Make Moss Graffiti?

While moss graffiti is basically a form of street art, the beauty of this green alternative to the regular graffiti transformed it into a green home design element. In fact, you can use moss graffiti to decorate the external walls of your house and not only. This original decorative method will definitely make you stand out from the crowds.

How To Make Moss Graffiti

To make your wonderful moss graffiti you have to choose a porous surface, such as a brick wall or other old external wall. Ideally, the wall you want to decorate should be located in a shady and fairly humid area.

The best time to make moss graffiti is in spring or fall. In these seasons moss growth is favored. To help your moss grow faster don’t forget to water it from time to time with the help of a spray bottle or of a water vaporizer.

Basically, there are three methods to make moss paint. Below, I describe each of them so you can choose your favorite. However, if you want to skip the preparation part, know that on the market, there are available ready-to-use moss graffiti kits.

1 First Method

Ingredients

  • One handful of moss
  • 2 cups of buttermilk or plain yogurt (animal or vegetal)
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar

Utensils

  • Blender

Procedure

  • Rinse the moss with clean water, scatter it and put it in the blender.
  • Add the water, the buttermilk or yogurt and the sugar.
  • Blend all the ingredients until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. The result should be smooth and creamy, with a consistency similar to the one of the usual paint.
  • If the mixture is too watery, you can thicken it by gradually adding corn syrup until the desired density is reached.

2 Second Method

Ingredients

  • One handful of moss
  • A few drops of water saving gel
  • One jar of buttermilk – alternatively you can use a mix of milk and yogurt in equal parts
  • Water

Utensils

  • Blender
  • Bucket
  • Brush
  • Spray bottle

Procedure

  • Rinse the moss with clean water, scatter it and put it in the blender.
  • Add the buttermilk and the water saving gel.
  • Blend until you obtain a smooth and creamy mixture.
  • Transfer the “paint” into a bucket and apply it on the walls with the help of a brush.
  • Fill the spray bottle with water and sprinkle it over the painted graffiti.The water saving gel can be found in the vast majority of gardening shops or on the internet.

3 Third Method

Ingredients

  • One generous handful of moss
  • One can of beer
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar

Utensils

  • Blender
  • Lidded container
  • Brush

Procedure

  • Rinse the moss with clean water, scatter it and put it in the blender.
  • Pour the beer over the moss, add the sugar and mix well until you obtain a smooth mixture.
  • Transfer the “paint” into a lidded container then use the brush to paint your walls.

Now, that you have the paint, you only have to move to the next step, creating the actual moss graffiti. Here are the steps you should take.

1 Choose The Right Spot

The first thing to do if you decided to decorate your home with organic art is choosing the right spot. Moss doesn’t really like the sun, so you should choose a shady spot that receives a small amount of sunlight to stimulate moss growth.

Ideally, you should decorate with moss graffiti the northern façade of your house or an area that is shaded by trees or bushes.

If you want to use moss graffiti on the inside of your home, you should choose a room that satisfies the above criteria. However, sunlight can be replaced by artificial light.

Another thing to consider is the moist in the area where you want to apply moss graffiti. Don’t forget that moss is a plant and needs water to grow and survive. Therefore, you should either choose a humid spot or make sure that you sprinkle water over the painting on a regular basis to stimulate growth.

The characteristics of the wall are also extremely important and will determine the success of your graffiti work. The wall should be porous to allow the moss to attach. If the wall is too smooth, moss might not grow or the result might be unimpressive.

2 Choosing The Model

Once you found the right spot, you should choose the right model. There are no rules when it comes to this step, and you can choose to create anything, from complex patterns to drawings or messages written on the walls.

If you need inspiration, you can search the web for regular graffiti models and transform them into green graffiti.

However, if you want to make sure that the result of your work will be artistic, it is recommended to draw a sketch of the design with chalk before applying the moss “paint”.

Another way of creating a graffiti model or image is using different stencils to create a precise image. If you’re not good at drawing, there are many ready-to-use models available. On the contrary, if you have a natural talent, you can create any shape you like and cut it in regular cardboard.

Once you have the pattern ready, you only have to attach it to the wall and use it to apply the moss paint.

3 Applying The Moss Mixture

For this step, you will need a brush and a bucket. First of all, prepare the moss paint following one of the three methods described above. Transfer the moss mixture into a bucket and, with the help of a paintbrush, apply the mixture on the wall using your chalk sketch as a guide.

Although the best way to apply moss to the wall is the method described above, you can also use a spraying method if wanted. If you want to feel more like a street artist who is using spray painting, you will need an empty, clean spray bottle.

Transfer the moss mixture into the spray bottle, then spray it on the wall just as you would normally do with regular paint.

This method, however, is less effective than the paintbrush method. Because the moss you are using is a living thing, you would need to be gentle while applying it to the wall if you want it to settle and take root effectively. If you spray the moss it might not stick to the wall as desired.

Another method to create wonderful moss graffiti is by covering the whole surface with moss then trim or remove it to create the desired shape.

I wouldn’t recommend you this method if you don’t have impressive artistic skills, but if you are a true artist then you might like the challenge. Basically, all you have to do is to cover the whole wall in moss paint and wait for the moss to grow.

Once you have a moss wall, you can trim or remove the unwanted moss portions with the help of a dull knife or other thin and hard object.

4 Growing The Moss

Probably the hardest part of making moss graffiti is actually growing the moss on your walls. There is no guarantee that the moss will stick to your wall and start growing, so you should pay special attention to your work of art in the first couple of weeks after applying the mixture.

Your main concern should be keeping the moss moist. To do this, you should spray water on your graffiti at least every other day. If the weather is really warm, maybe you should spray water on your work daily.

I recommend making a moss graffiti in spring or fall for two reasons. First, the outside temperatures don’t reach extreme picks, so you won’t have to water your artwork every day. Secondly, in these seasons the air is naturally moist, so your moss graffiti will benefit from the natural conditions.

You should monitor your graffiti regularly and check on its progress. If you don’t notice impressive results, you should apply a new coat of moss mixture. For this reason, make sure you keep any moss paint leftovers. Moss paint can be successfully preserved in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

5 Removing Moss From Walls

After you have successfully grown your moss graffiti, there are some situations when you want to remove it from your walls.

You might want to remove moss graffiti because you got tired of the pattern and want to change it, because you’re not happy with the result from the first place or if you decided to apply the moss paint on the whole surface and need to shape the graffiti.

But if growing moss on your walls might be challenging, removing it might be even harder. If you think that scraping off the moss will suffice, you couldn’t be more wrong. Moss reproduce with spores, therefore the removed moss can still leave its spores behind. This means that new moss will eventually grow, even if you don’t water the graffiti anymore.

There is no need to despair, however. If, for any reason, you want to remove the moss, here are a few ways to do it.

1. Removing Moss With Pressure Washer

The simplest way to remove moss from the walls is with the help of a pressure washer. However, this method might not be effective and you might have to remove the moss various times before getting rid of it.

Materials

  • Wire brush
  • Dull knife
  • Broom
  • Pressure washer

Method

  • Remove the moss from your wall using the dull knife.
  • With the help of the wire brush try and remove any moss debris that is still attached to the wall.
  • With a pressure washer wash away any moss debris from the wall. This will help to remove the spores too.
  • With the broom, clean away all the debris from the ground.

Keep an eye on the surface for a couple of weeks. If you notice any regrowth you will have to remove the new moss again.

2. Removing Moss With Lime Juice

A natural and effective way to remove moss from your walls is with lime juice.

Materials

  • Lime juice
  • Spray bottle
  • Wire brush
  • Water

Method

  • Put the lime juice into a clean spray bottle and spray it on the moss.
  • Leave it for about 24 hours.
  • Check and see if the moss has turned yellow.
  • Remove the dead moss with the help of a wire brush, then clean the surface with water.

This method can also be used if you want to modify the pattern of your moss graffiti. In this case, use a stencil to cover the areas where you want to leave the moss.Lime juice is one of the most effective ways to remove moss from the walls. The method also has the advantage of being harmless for the environment.

3. Removing Moss With Chemical Substances

If for any reason, you don’t want to use the methods indicated above, you can remove moss using a chemical solution.

Materials

  • Bleach, ammonium sulfamate, or sodium pentachlorophenol (one of the three)
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Garden hose
  • Wire brush
  • Protective gear (mask, goggles, and gloves)

Method

  • Put on the protective gear.
  • Choose the preferred substance and make a solution with water. In the case of bleach, you should add 20 ounces of bleach to five gallons of water. The sodium pentachlorophenol should be diluted in proportion 8:1 (eight parts of water and one of chemical). The ammonium sulfamate should be diluted as indicated by the manufacturer. Use a bucket to dilute or solve the chemical substance.
  • Pour the solution in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution on the moss graffiti and leave it for a while. If you use the bleach solution, you should leave it for 15-30 minutes. The ammonium sulfamate and the sodium pentachlorophenol should be left about 24 hours.
  • Check if the moss turned yellow. If so, with the help of a wire brush, remove all the dead moss from the wall.
  • Wash the surface with abundant water. To make the process easier, you can use a garden hose connected to a water source.

The methods described above will keep moss away from your walls for up to a year.If you decide to use the ammonium sulfamate, choose a non-windy day to remove the moss graffiti, to reduce the harmful effects to a minimum. This chemical can cause lung, skin and eyes irritation, so make sure you are using it with caution.Keep any chemical products away from children and pets.

Moss Graffiti Alternatives

The methods described above represent the traditional way of making moss graffiti. However, there are some alternative methods you can use to achieve similar results.

Two alternative methods are based on transplanting existing moss to the wall and create the desired pattern with it. The main difference between them is the source of the moss: you can either collect the moss from a wood or park, or grow your own moss at home.

For both methods, you will basically need freshly harvested moss (harvest it with care, you want to have full patches of moss) and water resistant glue.

Materials

  • Moss
  • Water resistant glue
  • Scissors
  • Stencils

Method

  • With the help of the scissors and the stencil cut the moss in the desired shape.
  • Apply it on the wall and fix it with water resistant glue.

The easiest way to do this is, obviously, with already grown moss. However, you can even grow your own moss at home if you want to.

The downside of this method is that you will have to use glue on your walls. If this might not be a problem if you want to decorate your own house, it is probably not a good idea to use the method if you want to apply moss graffiti anywhere else in your city.

If you decide to grow your own moss, you can even use it to create the types of moss paint described earlier.

How To Grow Moss Indoors?

Although moss can easily be found in nature, if you want to use a completely environmentally-friendly solution to create your moss graffiti you should probably grow your own moss. Fortunately, moss doesn’t need any particular conditions to grow, so making your own moss supply is easy and fun.

Read this step-by-step guide and learn how to grow your own moss.

You will need:

  • A clear glass container with a lid, preferably a terrarium, but a large jar can do it as well.• Pebbles
  • Granulated charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • Water
  • Stones and small branches
  • Moss

How to do it:

  • Fill your terrarium or jar with a thin layer (about one inch) of pebbles
  • Add a layer of one inch of granulated charcoal
  • Add about two inches of potting soil. If the soil is too fluffy, press it with your hand as much as you can.
  • Spray some water over the soil, then decorate the “ground” with stones and branches. You should create an environment that looks as much as possible as the ground of a forest.
  • Place the moss on top of the soil, stones, and branches. Ideally, you should harvest sheets of moss from your yard or from a wood. If you only have crumbled bits of moss don’t worry, they will grow as fast as the moss sheets.
  • Spray some more water over the moss and close the terrarium or the jar with the lid, leaving a small opening so the air can circulate.
  • Place the jar on a shelf, away from direct sunlight. However, make sure that there is sufficient light in the spot where you keep your moss.
  • With the help of a spray bottle, water your moss a couple of times per week.

With this method, you can produce all the moss you need for your graffiti works. When you start running out of moss, all you have to do is to plant a few moss crumbled bits in a new terrarium or jar.

Moss Graffiti Failure

Even if you follow carefully all the steps described above, sometimes you might notice that no matter how hard you try your moss graffiti will simply not grow. Here are a few reasons why your moss graffiti might not grow:

Too much sun: if you choose a sunny spot to make the moss graffiti, the moss growth might be inhibited by too much sun. Make sure you choose a shady wall to apply your moss graffiti.

Lack of moisture: after applying the moss graffiti you should water it regularly if you want it to grow. If you do the graffiti in the summer you should water it every day. If you don’t notice any signs of growth within two weeks, you should apply a new moss mixture layer. Even if you paint the moss graffiti in spring or fall you should still water your artwork at least two times per week.

The surface is too smooth: although moss can grow virtually anywhere it still needs a porous surface to attach to. If the walls of your house are painted, they might be too smooth and the moss can’t attach to them. If possible, choose a spot that is free of paint or a brick wall.

Too alkaline surface: moss doesn’t need any special pH to grow, but it definitely doesn’t like the surfaces that are too alkaline. If you want to achieve an impressive result try to avoid fresh concrete walls or the surfaces covered in mortar.

You’re using the wrong type of moss: although you might think that moss is, all the same, the truth is that there are different types of moss and not all of them can regrow from crumbled bits. While you might be able to create beautiful moss graffiti with the most common types of moss, the large mosses, such as the sphagnum moss, can only be reproduced from large sheets. The moss paint preparation process will destroy the structure of these types of mosses and it will not grow. For this reason, it is advisable to learn what the different types of mosses are before starting to make your own moss graffiti.

Moss Graffiti Artists

That being said, moss graffiti is still one of the most awesome ways to create an original, eco-friendly, home décor. If you need some inspiration, you can search the works of these street artists and get inspired by them.

One of the street artists that became famous for the art of moss graffiti is the Hungarian artist Edina Tokodi who uses the art name Mosstika. Edina created a sort of urban guerrilla gardening using the traditional graffiti stencils method on different surfaces, such as wood or concrete. She is creating various moss figures, including human and animal shapes, that definitely impress the crowds.

Moss graffiti can be used beyond the creative expression, being able to improve the old and ugly facades of the buildings present in the outskirts of the big cities. The Spanish artist Spy is one of the pioneers of this form of art.

He actually transformed the old façade of a library located in Besançon, France, realizing an impressive moss graffiti that changes color based on the season. His work is green in spring, red in late summer and yellow in autumn, while in winter it doesn’t have a defined color. The artwork is called “Grow”

Another street artist that stands out from the crowd is the British artist Anna Garforth. Her idea was that of highlighting the degraded corners of her city with inspiring quotes and phrases. She cuts the letters in the moss, then attaches it to the walls using a natural glue.

Garforth created in this way a new form of street art named MOSSenger, that bonds the urban art to the concept of the messenger. This experimental art was tested on the walls of some degraded buildings in London and the community appreciated her efforts.

As you can see, the strategy of the eco-graffiti is nothing but the externalization of an out of the ordinary artistic current that bonds the respect for the environment to the will of making a statement. And even if you’re not a street artist, you can still decorate the external walls of your house with this beautiful form of art.

Other Decorative Use Of Moss

If the idea of moss graffiti attracts you, but you don’t feel so creative to put it into practice, you should know that moss can be used in the internal home décor as well.

For example, the Swiss designer Nguyen La Chanh created the moss bath carpet. Using three different types of moss to create different patterns, the moss carpet represents an innovative way to maintain the contact with the nature from the comfort of your home.

If you’re wondering why a moss bath carpet, the answer is simple: the bathroom is the most humid room in your house, maintaining the ideal conditions that contribute to the healthy development of moss.

But this is not the only use of moss for the indoor decorations. In fact, some Italian interior designers create true wall decorations with moss. The artworks made by these artists are true indoor vertical gardens that are easy to maintain.

Using different types of moss can be created various patterns and various colored compositions that will definitely impress your guests.

Using the technique of moss graffiti you can even try to create your own indoor composition, experimenting on the hidden walls first. Growing moss on the indoor walls doesn’t require any special conditions other than choosing a spot that is not exposed to direct sunlight. To maintain a proper air humidity you can use a traditional humidifier.

On the other hand, moss can be used to decorate flower pots or bonsai compositions, especially if you want to create an oriental design.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, making moss graffiti is not difficult and the result you can achieve will definitely impress your family and guests.

My advice is to experiment your skills in a remote spot of your property. Try and see which moss paint recipe works better and use different types of moss to determine which is the one you like best. Once you learn the technique, you can create all the decorations you want directly on the main façade or in your living room.

What do you think about this form of art? Would you decorate your home with moss graffiti? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and impressions with us.

Share the article with your friends too. Someone might get inspired!

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