Canvas Kit™ - Create Living Paintings


Create living paintings with colorful bacteria! Great for science class, visual arts class, or as a fun and easy science and art exercise at home.

The Canvas Kit is a fun first step into learning about genetic engineering and an exciting new branch of art called BioArt. Using the colorful bacteria in this kit, it is time to make some beautiful living BioArt.

Further, this kit is the subject of Chapter 3 of the new Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero book.

You will:

  1. Make your own "painting canvases", called LB agar petri dishes. This is a very common skill in the life sciences.
  2. Paint or stencil the colorful bacteria included in the kit onto three canvases.
  3. Incubate them in a warm spot, or in an incubator if you have one
  4. Like an invisible ink, you won't see them at first, but as they grow and divide they will become visible between 12-48 hours and change color. Your painting will emerge! 

While you do not need any specialized equipment to complete this kit, a DNA Playground can be used to incubate the paintings for easy and awesome results. If you do not have an incubator, you can simply place your petri dishes in the bags provided in a warm spot.

Try the Virtual Bioengineer Canvas Kit Edition!

You can even visit the American Society for Microbiology Agar Art Competitionfor inspiration and a chance to enter your artwork & win! 

Fluorescent beach scene painting by Nobel laureate Roger Tsien's research lab. 

What's Included

Individual Kits: An individually packed kit with all the ingredients needed for the entire experience for an individual or small group (sterile water, powdered agar, selection, applicators, colorful bacteria, inactivation bag, stencils, and 6 cm petri dishes). 

Classroom/Group Kits: Eight individually packed kits with similar ingredients as in Standard Kits. The exception is that instead of the cells and inactivation bags included in every individual kit, they are shared between all participants. Save $165 compared to 8 separate Standard Kits. 

See the instructions for more information!

Colored bacteria included are purple, cyan (fluorescent), and magenta (fluorescent). If you have already engineered cells with an Engineer-it Kit and still have them, you can also use those cells with a Canvas Kit!

The kit must be refrigerated upon arrival for a longer shelf life. 

Customers outside of North America: If we suspect your country has regulations on genetically engineered cells, your colored cells will be substituted with cells that naturally produce pigments (yellow & white). This will meet shipping and import compliance. If you are keen on getting more colors, you can order an Engineer-it Kit and complete the genetic engineering of cells in a location that is approved by your government. This works because the Engineer-it Kit will be shipped with no genetically engineered products (meets import compliance), and YOU will complete the engineering steps (in an approved space). 



Kits are shipped 1-5 days after you place your order. If you require yours for a specific date or event, please contact us prior to, or with your order # so that we can try to make it happen for you! ☺︎ 

The kit(s) must be refrigerated upon arrival for longer shelf life.