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Senufo Mud Painting

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What you need for this ZOOMdo:
  • some dirt
  • a white t-shirt - make sure you get permission to use it
  • acrylic paint - blue or black paint will make your mud painting look the most like Senufo mud paintings, but you can also experiment with other colors
  • permanent black marker
  • kitchen strainer - make sure you have permission to use it, because you're going to use it to strain your mud!
  • disposable plastic container and a plastic spoon
  • an old toothbrush
  • small paintbrush
  • some newspaper
What you do for this ZOOMdo:

  1. Senufo Mud Painting is an interesting way to decorate your clothes using mud! The technique is used by the Senufo people of West Africa. The mud patterns help the Senufo blend in with their surroundings, and the designs are usually made to look like animals found in their environment.
  2. Check with an adult before you begin.
  3. To make the mud put the strainer on top of a plastic container. Pour a 1/2 cup of dirt into the strainer. Slowly, pour about a 1/2 cup of water over the dirt until all the dirt has filtered through the strainer. Use a spoon to help push the dirt through. You need to get all the dirt through the strainer.
  4. There will be a layer of water on top of the mud. Carefully pour it off the top and you'll have your mud!
  5. Now, mix a small amount of acrylic paint with the mud and stir it with a plastic spoon or a stick.
  6. Stuff your t-shirt with newspaper so that the mud doesn't soak through. Be sure to smooth out your shirt so it's flat.
  7. Now, it's time to design your t-shirt. The Senufo use animals in their designs, like crocodiles, turtles, monkeys, lizards and other animals commonly found in West Africa.
  8. First, draw your design in pencil, then go over it with a permanent marker. The Senufo use a dye made from boiled leaves to draw their designs.
  9. Now, use the toothbrush to fill in all the large areas of your design. Scoop up some mud with the toothbrush and spread it on the t-shirt. You can also use the toothbrush to make striped patterns. If you don't have a toothbrush, you could use a feather or a stick to spread the mud.
  10. Use the paintbrush to fill in the smaller areas of your design. You can also use it to make a pattern of lines or dots.
  11. When you're done painting, leave your t-shirt to dry overnight.
  12. When it's dry, shake off the excess mud. Handwash your t-shirt in cold water, and hang it up to dry.
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