12 Things You Didn’t Know About African Mud Cloth

Written by Julia Austin


How it’s made

The process for making mud cloth dates back to the 12th century. Narrow strips of hand-woven cotton are dyed in a bath full of tree branches and leaves. The branches and leaves dye the cloth a yellowish hue. Next the cloth is dried in the sun, where it is decorated with dark mud. Once the mud has turned gray, the excess is scraped off. This process of applying and removing mud is repeated several times until the muddy areas become permanently dark. The mud itself is mixed with a water or tea substance, and set aside for a year before it is put to use on cloth.