This graphic DIY art print was inspired by 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. Malian fashion designer Chris Seydou has been credited with introducing mudcloth to a global audience.
Create a beautiful African mudcloth-inspired art print at home with this easy DIY.
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. See photos below.
- 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. 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 ensure each repeating portion of your pattern is uniform. 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 I 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.
- 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 your eraser to correct any pencil marks is a easy fix.
Next, use the black acrylic pen to paint your pattern. Let your print cure for approximately a week before framing. 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.
This is an incredibly simple art project which doesn’t require a lot of artistic talent. You can’t peruse Pinterest or Instagram without coming across mudcloth textiles or other mudcloth-inspired home decor items. Now you can have art inspired by this trendy textile in your home at a fraction of the cost! Let us know what you think in the comments below.