Oh mud cloth. You are so dreamy. So unique. So hot-right-now. And so not in my budget. Even though this unique textile is hard to come by, it's easy enough to recreate the look. If you can't buy it, you DIY it, right? This mud cloth fake-out method is great for larger surfaces, or when you want to add some statement to a room.
I love the look. It's also known as Bògòlanfini, which roughly translated from the Bambara language of Mali means “by means of mud.” I love how different each print turns out, but how there's always a sense of order to the patterns. Watch the video below to see how to fake your own mud cloth curtains, and keep reading for the full step-by-step.
- Acrylic paint
- Foam brush
- Dura-Lar film or some type of clear, acetate paper
- Craft knife
- Cotton fabric, pre-washed and ironed if necessary (I'm using a flat bed sheet)
- A drop cloth
- Stencil templates (found here, here, and here)
To create the mud cloth look, click to download these free stencil templates:
Alternatively you can hand-paint your own patterns. Check out our past mud cloth project for pattern inspiration.
Once the templates are downloaded, print them onto the Dura-lar paper. The stencils print at standard size (8.5 x 11 inches). If you clear paper is larger than the standard printer size, simply trim it down using a piece of regular paper as a guide. Let the printer ink dry. With a craft knife, cut along the printed lines.
Lay down a drop cloth to protect the surface you are working on. Use acrylic paint and a foam brush to apply the stencil to your fabric. Use a dabbing motion rather than a brushing sweep when applying the paint. My stenciling got a bit messy as I went, but I'm not bothered by the uneven nature of the design. I think it kind of lends itself to the handmade quality of mud cloth textiles. If you want a sharper-looking print, use a spray adhesive to keep the stencil in place as you work.
If you want to turn a flat sheet into curtains like I did, you'll need to start by cutting the sheet in half lengthwise. Next, hem the cut edges by hand or with a sewing machine. Fold the cuff of the sheet (the part that would normally be by your head) down so it's facing away from the print. Stitch the cuff in place, creating a sleeve for the curtain rod to fit into.
My head is spinning with all the possibilities here. Mud cloth pillows, mud cloth duvet covers, mud cloth re-upholstery projects – the list could go on and on!
While the results of my fake mud cloth methods don't hold a candle to the intricate delicacies of actual mud cloth fabric, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. These mud cloth-looking curtains add an extra bit of drama to my living room. I'm still swooning!
On a stenciling kick? Learn how to put a pattern on a door mat!