Growing furniture, bacon, and leather out of mushrooms.

Did you know that we can grow houses, furniture, coffins? We know how to make those industries more sustainable with mycelium. So how might we turn fungi into bacon, bricks, leather? How did I?

Dasha Nikolaeva
4 min readAug 15, 2021

In April, I watched a video about mycelium packaging and found the idea very exciting. So…

I’m growing mycelium!!!

What did I do as of now(1,5 months)?

  • invaded logs with mushrooms,
  • made cardboard mycelium,
  • grew agar mycelium,
  • made grain spawn,
  • grew some mold😭.
cardboard, grain spawn
agar mycelium

Why did I decide to grow it at home? (Why not?)

  • It is fun — I wanted to see how it works from beginning to end.
  • I wanted to do it myself asap.
  • It would die off during a week of delivery — ordering mycelium when it’s 35 degrees C outside is not a good idea.
  • I wanted to try many ways of making and keeping mycelium.

I ordered pink oyster mushroom mycelium sticks for the bacon imitation experiment(then planted those sticks on logs).

I’ll be posting detailed guides on each experiment soon.

Mycelium 101.

What is mycelium and how does it grow?

We can grow mycelium (mushroom “roots”) into pretty much anything by putting it into substrates like hay, straw, wood chips, corn husks, grains, or even hemp.

Substrates can be found at the local farms. In fact, many farms would normally throw those substrates away so they are happy to get rid of them.

As mycelium expands on the substrate, it acts as some kind of very strong glue. It holds the substrate parts(ex. grains) together very strongly. You just need to:

  1. Plant it(mycelium or spores) on the substrate and put it into some form(or to 3D print the substrate with spores),
  2. Wait for the mycelium to develop(5–15 days),
  3. Bake it to stop mycelium from growing further and to give it its final shape.

-> This is a light yet strong material that can be shaped into any form you like. Plus, it’s biodegradable.

Now, obviously, I have simplified the process but you get the point. In reality, it’s not all that easy with the biggest threat being poor sterilization which can cause contamination(development of mold).

Why did I decide to get into it? What exciting things can you do with mushrooms?

So idea #1: grow mushrooms

Nutritious, tasty, fast, easy-to-grow. You can make meat substitutes out of ‘normal’ mushrooms. For instance, pink oyster mushrooms can imitate bacon pretty well if seasoned and cooked right.

Idea #2: marshmallow meat

Aka aerial mycelium, aka bacon.

Credit: Atlast Food co, Ecovative Designs,

Aerial mycelium, unlike normal mycelium, grows upward — and not inside the substrate. It appears as a marshmallow-like structure.

There’s a company making bacon out of it. After mycelium is grown, it’s harvested and then cut and seasoned to make a healthy vegan alternative to bacon!

Credit: Atlast Food
  • healthier — 1/5 fat compared to pork bacon,
  • more fiber and the same amount of protein,
  • cheaper — can go down to 1/5 of porks price,
  • faster — grows in days, not years.
Credit: Atlast Food, that’s how it’s made into bacon
Photos: Courtesy of Stella McCartney

Idea #4: mycelium coffins

  • compostable,
  • cheap.

Idea #5: mycelium furniture and building materials

A new trend of sustainability is hitting architecture too. Designers are growing mycelium chairs, tables, and lamps.

More articles coming soon!

How to make cardboard mycelium:

My website:

Reach out to me at or