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Moss Graffiti (wonderfulengineering.com)
153 points by ColinWright on Dec 9, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments

Don't be fooled! Most of these pictures are moss glued to a wall or sculpted from existing moss on the wall, NOT painted on with the the recipe shown in the article. If you check out videos/blogs/etc about this, there are never follow ups, just people making it. It's because it fails most of the time.

I've tried it myself, it's possible, but don't expect results similar to those in the article. Getting it to grow on a vertical wall is very hard, it won't hold the water and unless you have windy rain it won't really get enough water in the beginning. Because before it's become nice moss, it's more like dry grass on a wall. I've experimented with adding super absorbent polymers to hold the water ("water beads for plants" or something like that). With that, I got better results. But mostly on angled/horizontal surfaces. For some reason, my country doesn't sell that kind of stuff, so I had to cut a bunch of diapers open.

Nothing like the results in the results in the article, but one person (http://ourlittlegreendot.com/diy-moss-graffiti-paint-results...) reported success following a similar recipe and using the mixture to make a garden statue look like something found abandoned in a jungle.

These people (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBsIljmgm7o) seem to show it working with diaper-stuff like you mentioned, though many people are crying "fake" about their video.

Man vs. Pin tried (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMfwen84Wmo) and didn't have much success, though in the end a neighbor washed it away, and it looks like he was putting it on a sunny wall in a warm climate.

It'd be neat to figure out, but doing something like a vertical garden where you start out flat, grow the moss, then hang it on a wall seems more realistic to get anything like the Anna Garforth pieces everyone seems to post along with the recipes.

Thinking on "things that are used in industry as substrates for encouraging cell growth" — why not agar? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agar#Plant_biology)

Easier said than done. If the amount of humidity at the wall is not ideal, you have to visit and water the moss regularly. If the conditions aren't right you often just end up growing mold graffiti (https://vimeo.com/44045555).

Guides like this one often include the work of Anna Garforth (http://www.annagarforth.co.uk/) but she uses a different method. She grows moss and cuts it into typography, then adheres it to the wall. I have yet to see a real example of grown moss graffiti.

Ah, thank you. Some of the pictures you can clearly see the depth of the moss and it was absurd to think that you could paint something on to a wall which would then grow an inch or two straight out with no spread across the surface whatsoever. I'd be interested in a more honest picture set showing the results of the actual instructions being followed; I suspect they're less impressive than the clearly-molded moss drawings.

Or, alternatively, instructions for how to grow and cut your own moss-mat to reproduce the photos.

I feel like I saw this on stumbleupon like 10 years ago

As others have pointed out this is fake. Not only that but this blogspam is full of stolen images.

A friend did this on his sidewalk. Now he can't kill/remove it short of grinding out the concrete.

Bleach it?

You should be able to use a high pressure washer to remove it.

Got an uncle who knows his way around a pressure washer. There are still some stains on my driveway he can't remove.

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." - Yogi Berra

Can't you just poison it or something?

We have so much humidity and moss growing everywhere in Vancouver, and we love murals over here. Just saying...

I wonder whether a business would be required to clean up moss graffiti like they're required to remove painted graffiti. After all, moss does grow everywhere naturally in this city. I even have some on my balcony on 20th floor.

See this "reverse graffiti" - someone washes some dirt off a car tunnel wall to create images.

It gets hosed off shortly after.


Thanks for sharing that - never seen it before. I like that it gets something accomplished if it needs to be removed. Reminds me of the pothole artist in Chicago.


I've seen this used for advertising. Stencil on the sidewalk + a pressure washer.

This looks like a hoax. Moss is very sensitive.

So how do I get it out of my backyard?

With polluted, dry air and sun light.

Much prefer the title "Moss Graffiti" to the link-bait original title "Using A Blender, This Guy Executes The Coolest But Most Illegal DIY Project Ever."

Cool project, awful title. "Most Illegal DIY Project Ever?" Seriously, I thought it was going to be a home-made suitcase nuke.

I hope everyone realizes that the HN guidelines call for changing titles when they are misleading or linkbait.

Edit: What the guidelines say has always been the policy. For example, that's why we changed the linkbait title to "Moss Graffiti".

I think people know that, but I think they also know that HN policy for the past few years has been to revert user-supplied titles back to the original article title, so it's hard to know what the right thing is to do.

No, that's a common misconception. The policy (and practice) have always been as the guidelines say; that's why we changed this story's title from the baity original to "Moss Graffiti". Perhaps I'll add this info to my remark above.

I think the reason for the misconception is mostly sample bias. People don't see most of the cases that get silently fixed and/or don't realize that we fixed them. Only the ones that seem wrong stand out.

I think the reason for the misconception is that Paul Graham actually said that it was the default policy.

"The only way we can tell if a newly created title is accurate is to read the article, and we're not about to read every article submitted to HN. The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended." (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6572466)

After that, it seemed like people kind of gave up the fight and just started leaving the original title more often.

(I don't mean to argue with you here. I gladly accept that it is not the way that post seemed to indicate. I'm just trying to identify the source of the disconnect.)

He was talking about the general case, and that's still true. But there are exceptions. It's usually easy to tell that a title is linkbait; indeed, that basically follows from the definition. And users, who can and do read the articles, protest if the title is false.

The only thing we changed about titles since PG handed off moderation duty is to emphasize that it's ok to take other language from the article, such as a subtitle, a photo caption, or a representative sentence, if the formal title doesn't represent the article accurately. It's nearly always possible to do this, so it strikes the right balance between wanting informative titles and not letting submitters editorialize.

But even that is barely a change. PG mentioned subtitles in the post you quoted.

DIY nukes aren't actually that hard, especially with gun type bombs. A team of undergraduate engineers wouldn't have much problem.

The only challenge is getting fissionable materials.

I love how it is the most illegal DIY project ever. What is that based on?

I hate the modern internet sometimes. I think the radioactive boy scout would be much less legal than moss graffiti, for starters: http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radscout.html

That was an amazing read! Thank you :)

most illegal ever? probably based on nothing, but since it's still a form of graffiti, it would generally be illegal unless you own the property you're adding moss to :P

An alternate form of this is cleaning the sides of dirty buildings to leave messages/art.

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