Friday, June 06, 2014

Friday Find: Moss Graffiti

Good artwork takes time, skill and careful preparation. However, you don't have to be an artist to find enjoyment in the sheer simplicity that is moss graffiti. Bound to one color and texture it's much easier to create a great looking piece of art than slaving over a canvas with a myriad of colors, paints and methods to choose from. 
 
And the best part? Most, if not all of the ingredients needed to create moss paint are free or already in your kitchen! No need for expensive materials, just moss, water, sugar, and beer or buttermilk. You will however, need a blender. Preferably your own, as most likely if you borrow your friend or neighbor's, they will not be too keen on you mixing moss in their blender!
 
Moss prefers to be in areas with low lighting and high moisture. So a dry area with lots of sun may not be ideal for you to try this. That aside, let's begin!
 
You will need:
  • Several clumps of moss. Two handfuls should be more than enough. Moss is surprisingly easy to find, look for high moisture areas around stones, fences, or even the side of your house.
  • 2 cups of buttermilk or a can of beer.
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • Corn syrup (optional)
Preparation:
  • Carefully wash the moss of any excess dirt, the cleaner the moss the better as it will make for a better mixture and will be less abrasive to your blender.
  • Break up the pieces of moss and place in your blender along with the buttermilk, water and sugar.
  • Blend until the mixture is nice and smooth. If you find that the consistency is too thin you can add corn syrup to thicken.
Application:
  • Once you have your mixture to the desired consistency it's now ready to be used!
  • Find a surface to paint on, preferably a porous stone wall or walkway - that you own. Despite moss being a natural occurrence compared to paint, your local ordinance probably does not allow for you to just start painting on any building you see! 
  • Using a paintbrush is the simplest way to apply the mixture to your canvas, if you're confident in your painting abilities, have at it Picasso! If not, you can also use stencils if you're a bit artistically challenged.
Management:
  • Like any plant, you have to care for the moss if you want it to continue to grow.
  • Your moss painting should be misted with a spray bottle every other day to encourage decent growth. If there is a sufficient amount of moisture in the air you can cut this down to once a week. The ideal time for this project is during Spring or Fall. 
  • If you would like to remove your moss painting, scraping it off will simply not do. The easiest method is to spray it with lime juice as this will kill the moss. You can also use the lime juice to remove mistakes, or parts of your painting that you no longer like. 
Despite the time it takes to manage your moss graffiti, this is a rather simple project that doesn't take much effort to achieve the desired results. So, get out there and create your masterpiece!

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