Floor tiles made of coloured snail poo
by Lieske Schreuder


Dutch designer Lieske Schreuder fed coloured paper to snails and then collected their vibrant-hued poo to make floor tiles (+ slideshow).

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Snail eating green paper

Having noticed that snails in her garden seemed to enjoy eating paper and cardboard, Schreuder purchased hundreds of them from a snail farm and built a laboratory to test what would happen if they consumed coloured paper.

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Coloured snail excrement

"The result was that snails do not only eat coloured paper, but also defecate in colour," said the designer. "So blue paper means blue excrements! Snails cannot take the colour pigment of the paper into their bodies and that is the reason the excrements are coloured."

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Tiles made of snail excrement

Her laboratory comprises a series of compartments where the snails have access to sheets of coloured paper, which has a similar cellular structure to the plant matter they typically eat.

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Threads of snail excrement

Schreuder gathers the excrement, which has a malleable texture, and feeds it into a portable machine she designed to grind, mix and press it into tiles with a roughly textured surface that retains the colour of the original paper.

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Carpet woven from threads

"Walking outside, in the garden or on the streets, we are constantly walking on snail excrements," Schreuder explained. "But because these excrements are very small and look like normal dirt, we are not aware of this. This made me think of a situation where these excrements are in colour. This would be some sort of snail excrement carpet."

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Excrement processing machine

The faeces can also be pressed into a mould using a spatula to create a delicate thread with a five-millimetre diameter that the designer is currently researching uses for.

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Snail producing yellow excrement

"One metre of thread will take me an hour and contains six grams of excrement that is ground before processing," said Schreuder. "It will take approximately nine snails five days to produce these six grams."

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Snail producing blue excrement

The project is one of 57 ideas for combining biology with art, architecture and design presented at an exhibition called Biodesign at The New Institute in Rotterdam, which continues until 5 January 2014.

Snail Poo project by Lieske Schreuder
Snail laboratory
  • Mark

    This will probably nullify the “5 second rule” when food is dropped on the floor.

  • Christophe

    A french designer Manuel Jouvin has made the same project 3 years ago. Here you can see the same process: http://www.manueljouvin.com/dejection-molding.html

  • Jean Baptiste

    I have seen the same project on dezeen some years ago: http://www.dezeen.com/tag/manuel-jouvin/

    What’s new with this one?

  • Lena

    I am shocked by Lieske Schreuder’s negligence or bad faith as her project looks a lot like one that was posted on Dezeen a few years ago. As a designer myself, I would hate to be seen as a copycat or naive enough to pretend to be the first one to feed colored paper to snails in order to use their poo as raw materiel.

    You should know better, all you had to do was type ‘snail’ in the excellent dezeen search engine to find the previous and innovative projects on dejection-moulding.

  • Bad Luck

    I guess that is bad luck for Lieske Schreuder. But if she unintentionally did the same project like this other designer did already, then it is not of less value than his project. And why would she go ahead and publish it here if she had willfully copied the idea? Usually ideas are copied to be manufactured and to make money from.

    • Lena

      Of course it has less value, the purpose of innovation is to be the first one! Copying is all about being “next”. And not always about money. It’s about being proud of creating something new and not recycling someone else’s idea. As I said, when one creates, one has to study what has already been done in the regarding field. Especially since Dezeen is in her references she could have searched there beforehand.

  • Jefferies

    Wow. Why would you even consider working on a project like this?

  • Treelove

    If you feed coloured paper to 7 billion humans, you can make highways with coloured poo. You can also make bricks to build buildings. You don’t need tar or concrete anymore, you just saved the environment.

    • Bub Deleo

      There’s no need. Just use existing poo and paint them afterwards.