Ivory Coast 'Mud' Painting

Ivory Coast 'Mud' Painting lesson plan

Visit the Ivory Coast of West Africa! Join the Senufo people to create a dramatic, less messy version of traditional mud painting!

  • 1.

    The Senufo peoples living in Africa’s Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) traditionally paint pictures of animals on cloth using black mud. These symbols are intended to protect hunters from danger and help them bring in a big catch. The black and white designs help camouflage hunters in the thick brush. Here is one way to make a replica of this dramatic-looking cloth.

  • 2.

    Stretch white fabric over cardboard and tape edges to the back. On white paper, use Crayola Colored Pencils to sketch the animal you will showcase on your fabric. Cut out the inside of the animal shape with Crayola Scissors to make a stencil. Lay the stencil in the center of your fabric.

  • 3.

    Cover your painting area with newspaper. Mix a small amount of black Crayola Tempera Paint with Crayola Texture It! Tempera Mixing Medium on a paper plate. Dab paint around the inside edges of your stencil onto the fabric with a Crayola Paint Brush.

  • 4.

    Remove the stencil and fill in your animal with the black textured paint. Decorate your fabric with lines or basic shapes to frame your animal. For even more texture, air-dry your animal a few minutes and then dab another coat of the paint mixture on top of it. Air-dry the paint.

  • 5.

    Display your mud painting still mounted on cardboard or remove it and place it in a frame! How are your classmates’ designs similar? Different?


  • Students design their own version of a traditional West African mud painting on fabric.
  • Students apply coats of Texture It! Tempera Mixing Medium mixed with black paint to emulate thick mud.
  • Students compare and contrast examples of real Ivory Coast art to their own art and that of their peers.


  • Research the Senufo people and present your mud painting with your research. Include a map, brief history of the Senufo, and a description of the significance of mud painting.
  • Attach the fabric to a vest or other clothing. Reenact a day in the life of a Senufo hunter.
  • Assessment: Students will be successful if they create a project that emulates traditional Ivory Coast mud paintings, with an animal in the center and designs around it.