Fungi activity - spore printing

Fungi activity - spore printing

You will need: 

  • A mushroom fruiting body, preferably an older one. It can be any type of mushroom, but cap and stem mushrooms are easiest and work best.  - You can also use supermarket fungi! 

  • Printer paper. Black or white will usually work some mushrooms have very light or dark spores so you may want to try on both.  

  • A glass bowl or cup large enough to cover the mushroom.  

  • A Ziploc bag for storage or some clear sticky back plastic. 

  • Disposable gloves  

*Children should always be supervised when doing spore prints and with younger children using mushrooms from a shop that are safe is a better option. This activity is aimed at children 10+ 

*Be aware that some mushrooms are poisonous and can be very harmful if ingested, to be safe you can use mushrooms from a shop and wear gloves while you are handling the mushrooms; be sure to wash your hands well afterwards! 

  1. Make sure all your equipment is ready and you have put on your gloves. 

  1. Choose your mushroom. An older more bruised mushroom will usually release more spores and work better.  

  1. Carefully detach the cap from the stem if necessary. 

  1. Place the cap down onto the paper like it was still on the stem with the top of the cap facing up and the underside on the paper. 

  1. Cover the cap with a cup or bowl. 

  1. Leave the cap on the paper covered overnight or for at least 6-12 hours.  

  1. Once the time has passed you can remove the cover and the mushroom cap to reveal your spore print. Take time to look at the colours and patterns that have been left behind, just be careful not to touch it as this may disturb the print. Don’t worry if it hasn’t worked you can try leaving the mushroom longer or try again.  

  1. You can then store your spore print in a Ziploc bag or carefully place a layer or clear sticky back plastic over the spore print.  

  1. You can frame spore print or create a collage of them, use your creativity to see what you can come up with! 

Spore prints can also be used to help identify mushroom species. Different colours or shapes can pin point which species a mushroom is.  


(Photo credit: Raf 2021) 

spore print on black paper
spore print on white paper