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Beautiful and interesting pictures can be made from fully
grown, fresh mushrooms. The pictures are called "mushroom
prints," because they are kind of like finger-prints, foot-
prints, and hand-prints. While we're outside, we'll find
some mushrooms, pick them carefully, and put them into
plastic bags. After everybody has one, we'll go right back,
because we have to print the mushrooms while they are fresh.

Mushrooms are very delicate, and they have to be handled
carefully. Take the cap off from the stem by breaking it
gently near the top o the stem. Turn over the cap, and look
underneath. That is where the spores are. (Remember, spores
are like seeds.) If that underside is pink or brown, you
should have white paper; if it is light-colored, you should
use darker paper so you can see the print clearly. The
spores are usually the same color as the underside, but you
can't really see the spores because they are so tiny.

Put the mushroom cap down onto the paper, with the spore side
touching the paper, and you can see the top of the cap. Put
a glass bowl or jar over the cap and the paper so the spores
won't be blown away if there is a draft. Leave it like that
all night. In the morning, take off the bowl or jar and
set it aside. Gently lift the cap off the paper. There is
your spore-print! Isn't it beautiful?

Get some clear hair spray, or artist's fixative so you can
keep your mushroom print. Hold the spray can about a foot
(as long as your hand to your elbow) away from the picture,
and spray it. After the spray is dry, you could put the
mushroom-print in a place where everyone can enjoy it. Ask
Mom or your teacher to help you decide where it will look
best, and how it should be put there.

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