How To Make Moss Graffiti: Organic Art

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.

Moss On Wooden Wall

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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