Did You Know You Can Make Clothes out of Your Kombucha Scoby?

updated Jun 5, 2019
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How To Make Your Own Kombucha Scoby (Image credit: Emma Christensen)

What I’m about to show you is a little shocking. If you’ve ever made your own kombucha or had a bottle of the tea before, you’re probably familiar with that white-brown blob that floats around, called the scoby or mother. It’s a living thing made out of bacteria and yeast that makes kombucha so fizzy and tangy.

As it turns out, you can also make clothing — like jackets and vests — out of this living thing. Yes, I know — I was just as confused and alarmed as you are right now. Prepare your eyes.

In the video above, Suzanne Lee explains that in order to make scoby clothing, you need a large amount of the material. For example, if you were to brew a batch of kombucha in an empty bathtub, you would create a large rectangle scoby. You would then take this scoby and dry it out before making the article of clothing you desire.

As is obvious from the title of the TED talk, the idea behind scoby clothing is sustainability. If we can grow our own clothes, we don’t need to rely on other natural resources. Scoby clothing is also biodegradable, which is cool.

So, let’s get this straight.

If you take a whole bunch of this thing and dry it out…

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

You have the potential to make this cool bomber jacket…

(Image credit: flavorwire)

Or this shirt-vest thing…

(Image credit: Design Boom)

And even this blue jacket….

(Image credit: Awesome Pickle )

Are you as amazed to learn this as I was? I love the concept behind the sustainable design, but as Suzanne Lee says in her TED talk, you can’t really wear the clothes out in the rain because the clothes will absorb a lot of water. I can’t decide if I’m incredibly impressed by the potential of my own baby scoby, or grossed out at the idea of actually wearing one of these things.

But clothes are only the beginning for your little scoby friend. There are companies, like ScobyTec, that are experimenting with other “wearable technology.” Kinda neat, but mostly scary.