Agar Agar

Bioplastic Cookbook for Ritual Healing from Petrochemical Landscapes

Tiare Ribeaux

Agar Agar Bioplastics Protocol
  1. Prepare work area with hot plate, pot, beakers, scale, stirring tool, and needed ingredients (agar powder, water, glycerol), and mold off to the side
  2. Measure out 43g of Glycerol, 320 ml water, and 13g Agar Agar and mix together in a pot
  3. Cook over low-medium heat and stir until solution starts to froth or becomes viscous, then stir for a few more minutes - let it boil gently for a minute but not a high boil
  4. Remove from heat and stir for a minute, then pour into solution. Don't let it cool too long as it becomes viscous quite quickly
  5. Pigmentation - Add pigment either into solution or onto mold surface or wait until after pouring to sprinkle pigment powder. Experiment with coloring for what works best for the desired aesthetic you are going for. Adding pigment to the hot solution can spread the color more evenly but also will fade the color a lot
  6. Pour into mold
  7. Spread the liquid equally throughout the surface, try to create as thin of a layer as possible
  8. Cut the edge of the agar from mold with exacto blade after 24 hours
  9. Wait and Dry, typically 2-4 days
  10. Agar shrinks a lot in size and thickness over time, and if left in a mold where it's connected to wooden edges, will form cracks in the center. Make sure to cut the agar free from the edges of the mold after the first 24 hours of setting. It has an amazing texture, almost the feel of a skin, and is a more flexible than gelatin. It is one of my favorite bioplastics to work with.

    Agar is a biopolymer made from agarose and agaropectin found in the cell walls of red algae from the phylum Rhodophyta. The agarose is released and the molecular bonds are able to be released and realigned to create the biomaterial through heating and boiling. It's often used as a substrate for culture media in petri dishes used in biological laboratories. (Great to use as a custom base for bacterial Agar Art, potentially outlined in a later "chapter"!)

    Agar affects touch capacitive screens! As you can see in the video below - as it touches the iPad, the indium doped glass senses it like a finger touching hyperlinks on this website :)