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?


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.
  • VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.
  • VA: Analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art.


  • Students work in teams to research the Senufo people and present their original mud painting artwork with their organized research. Include a map, a brief history of the Senufo, as well as a description of the significance of mud painting to the culture.
  • Students organize a Senufo day. During their celebration, students attach their original mud painting to a vest or other clothing. Re-enact a day in the life of a Senufo hunter.