Tutorial: African Mud Cloth/Textile Art

Guest post by Annie of Sun and Glory

A few summers ago I worked at a kid’s art camp here in Los Angeles. I taught a sewing class to 1st and 2nd graders and also assisted other teachers in their classes. There was one teacher I was especially fond of. She was like every art teacher I remembered growing up, but even more eccentric and hilarious! One day she had the kids make their own African textile art, or also known as mud cloth, using brown paper bags and sharpies. I fell in love with this idea and immediately joined in with the kids! Also, a good way to use up those paper bags one collects because you forget to bring your reusable bags to the grocery. I was so inspired I started making these at home for the wall and small pieces to put on greeting cards.

To make your own you will need:

Brown paper bag
Sharpies (different size tips if you like)
Your hands
Crayons or markers in white or different colors

Cut a paper bag into the size you would like your art to be. I cut mine at 13 x 19 inches.

Crumble the paper in your hands…A LOT and for a long time! This may hurt your hands after a while! You can add water to make the paper a bit more pliable, careful of ripping though

The paper should become soft and supple. This is when you are ready to start making your design!

Spread the paper back out and start with your design. You can always draw it out on a piece of scrap paper or with a pencil on your art.

You can find some examples of African textile art here or here. I used my own inspiration for this one from designs I like to doodle in my own art.

Add in some white detail or color if you like. Crayons, colored sharpies, or even paint sharpies are great (which is what I used)!

I love this project because you can do it with children too. But also find a number of uses like wrapping paper, a card, wall art, or even disposable placemats.

A few examples of other pieces I have made:

You can find Annie online here:

Site: annerocchio.com
Blog: sunandglory.com
etsy: etsy.com/shop/sunandglory (handmade)
etsy: etsy.com/shop/anneroc (vintage)
twitter: twitter.com/#!/sunandglory

Thank you Annie!

Jan Halvarson


Alison said...

What a wonderful simple idea. Thanks for sharing. Love it.

paperlovescissors said...

sounds like a fun craft to do with your family and kids. thanks for posting :)

S said...

Love it!

Adina said...

What a great idea! Before I read the posting I was sure it was made of fabric.

Miss Milky said...

It's a funny idea! Thanks for sharing :-)