Growing Kombucha Leather - Session 1 - Preparation

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Participants will prepare to grow artificial leather-like material from the bacteria found in Kombucha. Each student will prepare one tray. The group will experiment with different sources of Kombucha bacteria/scoby/mother so results can be compared when harvested. The session will include a lecture informing students about the nature of bacteria in Kombucha and how that translates in to the leather-like material that is produced.


Session 1 Agenda

6:00pm - Gather and immediately start boling water

Introductions (as water boils)

6:10pm - Infuse tea and sugar

Lecture on Kombucha/Bacteria Science durnig infusion / boil for 30 minutes

6:40pm - Start cooling to room temperature

Prepare trays and discuss potential uses during cooling procedure

7:10 pm - Transfer to trays and add scoby 

Cleanup when transferred

7:30 End



Supplied by MakeHaven

  • Scoby (supplied by MakeHaven but bring your own to experiement)
  • Cider Vinegar
  • Tea (option to bring own to experiment)
  • Starter
  • Plastic growing tray
  • Sugar 




The leather takes a couple weeks to grow so a followup session is required to harvest the scoby. At this follow up session students will compare the results of their efforts and learn how to dry the scoby. They will take their product home, returning when the leather has dried to sew a simple product like a wallet from the material they grew.

  • Session 1 - Prep - (June 29th) - Students prepare a tray to culture "leather".

Waiting while it grows

  • Session 2 - Harvest - (July 14th) - Grown product is extracted and examined. Wet product is taken home to dry.

Waiting while it drys

  • Session 3 - Create - (July 28th) - Group gathers to compare and do final pre on dried results. Group cuts material and hand sews a wallet or other small item from "leather" and discuss possibilities in fashion.
Real name: 
Nora Pyenson


Instructor Bio: 

As a microbiologists I've often thought that many of my experiments are technically (or conceptually) easy enough that a high schooler would be able to do them. There are lots of ways to use microbiology, molecular biology, and engineering for fun and interesting projects. I like communicating science in an uncomplicated and unpretentious manner and I'd love to be able to help non-scientists learn about experiments. I'm new to the New Haven, but in NYC I really loved being a part of my university's science outreach, especially when it involved helping other adults.

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