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DIY Mudcloth Inspired Prints

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Framed DIY African mudcloth inspired art print

This graphic DIY art print was inspired by mudcloth.

You can’t peruse Pinterest or Instagram without coming across mudcloth textiles or other mudcloth-inspired home decor items.

Well, now you can have art inspired by this trendy textile in your home at a fraction of the cost. This is an incredibly simple art tutorial which doesn’t require a lot of artistic talent.

What is mudcloth?

Mudcloth, if you’re not acquainted with this gorgeous textile, is a thick fabric which is made by sewing together narrow strips of handwoven cotton. The cotton fabric is then painted with aged and fermented mud or natural dyes.

Mudcloth originated in West Africa, specifically in the Malian region. It is often seen in home decor as a dark toned fabric ordained with a white geometric pattern consisting of bold yet simple dots and lines, or as an ivory toned fabric with black geometric dots and lines.

DIY mudcloth print in gold picture frame
Framed DIY African mudcloth inspired print

Malian fashion designer Chris Seydou has been credited with introducing mudcloth to a global audience.

Pillows, wallhangings, blankets and wallpaper either made with authentic mudcloth, or inspired by mudcloth are often found in Scandinavian, bohemian, contemporary and minimalist decors.

Supplies for making mudcloth prints

Here’s what you’ll need for this easy project:

  • Canvas art pad – I specifically chose to use acrylic gesso primed canvas sheets in an effort to recreate the thickness of traditional mudcloth. However, thick cardstock paper would work as well. The size will depend on what size print you’d like to create.
  • Black acrylic pen – it’s important to use a real acrylic pen to paint your pattern.
  • Affordable black or gold frame – to frame your finished design. I used a pretty gold picture frame.
  • Sketch pad or scrap paper – to sketch out possible patterns and designs before beginning.
  • Tracing paper – use tracing paper as a guide while drawing out your pattern.
  • Pencil – use a pencil to easily transfer your pattern from the tracing paper onto your canvas.
  • Ruler – to help create straight, even lines while creating your design.
  • White eraser – to erase any mistakes.
Supplies for making DIY mudcloth prints

Supplies for making your own DIY mudcloth prints

How to create a DIY mudcloth print

First, sketch out possible patterns and combinations on scrap paper or on a sketching pad until you find one that works.

Drawing mudcloth pattern

This is the kind of project that requires a bit of pre-planning. You’ll know you’ve got your design down when you see it. You can easily create your own unique design by googling mudcloth patterns and symbols as a starting point, or you can feel free to copy my designs. See photos below.

DIY mudcloth pattern on canvas paper
Framed African mudcloth inspired art print

Once you’ve decided on your design, you can either hand draw the pattern onto your canvas paper, or use a ruler to carefully measure out each section so that your dots and lines are evenly spaced. However, even though I did this, the pattern still turned slightly uneven, which is fine.

After you’ve drawn your pattern in pencil on canvas paper, then use the tracing paper to copy the pattern. This is so you can use the tracing paper as a guide which will then ensure each repeating portion of your pattern is uniform.

Tracing pattern for DIY mudcloth print

I traced each section onto tracing paper, then I went over the pattern on the tracing paper again by pressing very firmly with my pencil. Then, I flipped over the tracing paper so that the penciled side was facing downward onto my canvas, and traced the pattern again.

You will want to press very firmly so that the pencil marks are deposited onto the canvas. If the pencil marks on your canvas paper are too light, go over them again, using your ruler as a guide where necessary. I found this method easier and quicker than hand drawing but hand drawing works too. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Drawing mudcloth pattern onto canvas paper

After your pattern is complete, use a white eraser to correct any pencil marks. I find working with pencil on canvas often leads to smudges, so using an eraser to correct any pencil marks is an easy fix. 

Next, use the black acrylic pen to paint your pattern.

Painting DIY mudcloth pattern onto canvas paper

If your print will be displayed near direct sunlight, you can also use a clear gloss medium to protect your print from UV light.

After your paint is completely dry, apply the medium with a large paint brush, spreading evenly.

Let your print cure for approximately a week before framing it. 

Framed DIY mudcloth print in bohemian room

Mudcloth-inspired art print in gold picture frame

Yield: 1 mudcloth print

DIY Mudcloth Inspired Prints

DIY African mudcloth inspired print in gold frame

Create a beautiful African mudcloth-inspired art print at home with this easy DIY.

Active Time 2 hours
Additional Time 7 days
Total Time 7 days 2 hours
Difficulty Moderate
Estimated Cost $20

Materials

Instructions

    1. First, sketch out possible patterns and combinations on scrap paper or on a sketching pad until you find one that works. This is the kind of project that requires a bit of pre-planning. You’ll know you’ve got your design down when you see it. You can create your own unique design by googling mudcloth patterns and symbols as a starting point, or feel free to copy my designs.
    2. Once you’ve decided on your design, you can either hand draw the pattern onto your canvas paper, or use your ruler and carefully measure out each section so that your dots and lines are evenly spaced.
    3. After you’ve drawn your pattern in pencil on canvas paper, then use the tracing paper to copy the pattern. This is so you can use the tracing paper as a guide which will ensure each repeating portion of your pattern is uniform.
    4. Trace each section onto tracing paper, then go over the pattern on the tracing paper again by pressing very firmly with your pencil. Then, flip over the tracing paper so that the penciled side is facing downward onto your canvas, and trace the pattern again.

      You will want to press very firmly so that the pencil marks are deposited onto the canvas. If the pencil marks on your canvas paper are too light, go over them again, using your ruler as a guide where necessary.
    5. After your pattern is complete, use a white eraser to correct any pencil marks.
    6. Next, use the black acrylic pen to paint your pattern.
    7. If your print will be near direct sunlight, you can also use a clear gloss medium to protect your print from UV light. After your paint is completely dry, apply the medium with a large paint brush, spreading evenly.
    8. Let your print cure for approximately a week before framing.

Notes

I specifically chose to use acrylic gesso primed canvas sheets in an effort to recreate the thickness of traditional mudcloth. However, thick cardstock paper would work as well.

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