Making Vegan Leather - SCOBY

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

If you're reading this, I assume you're interested in being part of the solution to cut down on waste, and understand that no material is perfect. But that doesn't mean we don't have a part to play in trying to reduce our negative impact on our Earth, and I hope that you learn something from my experiments and failures. I thank you, gentlefolk.

SCOBY from brewing kombucha

I'm documenting my process of making vegan leather from SCOBY pellicle. SCOBY means "Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast", mainly made out of yeast fungi and water from the fermentation process of kombucha.

It feels like what it looks like; wet and slimy, and kind of like what wet rawhide would feel like.

As a by-product from brewing kombucha, my aim is to use this to create a durable, usable material that acts as an alternative to leather. By all account, I will not claim that it will ever be as strong as real leather, as least not without the use of synthetic resins and other nasty substances like PVC and the likes, but I will try to find that balance between having a decent material to work with, and crafting it into something usable, at least for a year.

I get some of my tips from The Thought Emporium, GiY: Bio Buddies, Video Eppo, and Scihouse . The true gem I found is Riina Oun and her residency at GreenLab. She's really pushing the boundaries of this material! These are just some of the people I found in my few days of research.

I get my supply of pellicles from my personal favourite local brewery Wild Boocha. I met one of the founders at a flea market earlier this year, and she was the one who introduced me to it. I reached out to her for some of their SCOBY pellicles and they were more than happy to give me some, since they throw them out after keeping a little piece for their next brew.

In the next blog, I'll be showing you guys my first few experiments and notes. Feel free to drop a message or any comments, and I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can! Also, don't forget to sign up to my mailing list (I promise I don't have the time to create spam for your inboxes)!

Till next time, gentlefolk!

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