1. Get your stuff together:
you'll need some foil,
some rubbing alcohol (medical sterets work very well),
a sterile blade,
some thumbtacks with mini-handles,
two freshly laundered teatowels,
and some ripe mushies, of course.
The mushrooms should have popped their veils, and formed a nice open cap that is nearly flat. it's best if you wait for the right time before printing, maybe another day or two past prime picking time.
these are nearly ready >>>>>>>
while these are probably a little late! >>>>>>> - spores everywhere!
2. Clean your hands and wear a mask if you have one. lay one folded teatowel on the tray. Cut the foil into pieces maybe 15 x 8 cm. fold the foil pieces in half, then open then back up again (easier to fold later).
Swab them with alcohol. Swab the rims of some drinking glasses and put them on the foil. Don't put them on the fold, put them on one side of the fold only.
3. Now you're ready for action: clean your hands again, and open the terrarium lid. Choose your mushroom - one that has opened right up, and preferably has some purple spore dust on the stem, so you know it's already dropping. stick the pin in the middle of the cap. Holding the pin, cut off the cap as high up as you can with the sterile blade. Place cap gills-down on the foil, lifting glass briefly to do so. don't touch it with your fingers, they're filthy!
4. Position the glass carefully: make sure it does not completely seal the spore-dropping zone, so humidity can escape from a gap at the edge of the rim. either this, or make sure the foil is entirely enclosed within the glass: in at least one spot, the glass needs to rest on the teatowel, rather than creating an airtight seal (see on the right, in the pic above). The cap needs to be able to lose humidity slowly. As the cap dries, it sheds spores easier, like in nature. Otherwise the glass gets all sweaty and steamed up, and the spores just get stuck on the gills: Idoubt that many spores blow away on foggy days.
5. Repeat with the next mushroom, until the tray is full. Now cover the whole deal with the other clean teatowel, and put it out of harm's way in a dark cool drawer for a while, 12 - 24 hours.
6. When your chosen time is up (don't be mean, give them at least 12 hours), take out the tray and remove the top teatowel. If you look carefully through the glass, you should see a print laid down, where the edges of the cap have curled up as it dried.
Carefully remove glasses one by one, lifting out the cap and reswabbing the other foil-half and any sticking-out corners before folding over back along preformed fold. Now fold over two of the other three edges to form an envelope, with three closed sides and one open one. the caps can still be dried for consumption, or eaten on the spot if you're hungry!
sorry, i haven't got a pic of the print - you want to get this covered asap, as any crap from the air that lands in the print (during photography, for example!) can spoil it. if these prints are for microscopy purposes, you want to keep them pristine. or if like me, you live somewhere that growing is legal, you'll be better off with a clean print as well. imagine if a contam spore landed in your print - you'd end up growing it!
Still, here is a picture of a print prepared on typing paper:
7. finally, give them a day in a sealed desiccant chamber for the print to dry before folding the fourth side and bagging the foil squares up individually. You wouldn't want the print to go mouldy after all that work! Here's an example of a desiccator chamber, without its lid:
by shirley knott