Mold Printer: Creating Living Self-Revealing Artworks

Valentin Postl, Wolfgang Schwendtbauer, Thomas Preindl, Kathrin Probst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review


We present a method of creating living computer-aided drawings by depositing mold spores onto a growth medium using a modified 3D printer. Our approach combines the precision of computerized numerical control with the organic growth of fungi to yield an aesthetic and evolving viewing experience. The organic element of the drawing results in unique and unexpected artifacts driven by environmental factors and manufacturing inconsistencies. The microscopic spores, invisible to the naked eye, also allow for a sense of anticipation and surprise as a drawing slowly develops. Exploring the possibilities of mold-based media, we examined the color, growth pattern, and species interaction of two non-toxic fungal species. In this paper, we address the technical challenges of building a reliable mold printer, explore different methods of preservation, and conclude with a discussion regarding the artistic possibilities of creating living mold drawings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTEI 2024 - Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9798400704024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024
Event18th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2024 - Cork, Ireland
Duration: 11 Feb 202414 Feb 2024

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference18th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2024


  • Bio-HCI
  • Biodesign
  • Digital fabrication
  • DIYBio
  • Fungi
  • Nature
  • Prototyping
  • Slow Design


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