Mud brick houses have been the mainstay of shelter for many cultures for hundreds of years. Relatively simple in design in construction, anyone can build one with some spare time and a few easily attainable materials. Depending on how you want to build your mud brick house, you can use store bought bricks, or you can make your own bricks out of mud and straw. The two basic ingredients in a mud brick house, straw and mud, were the supplies that aboriginal tribes used to construct their homes. They also used sand as a bonding agent.
If you want to make your own bricks, you will first need to build a mold for the bricks. You usually want the molds to be fairly good sized, and fairly sturdy, so a size somewhere around 13x9” or so should suffice. The next step is to mix the materials for the bricks. This requires a tub or a small kiddies pool filled with three parts sand and two parts clay, then doused with water to mix. The mixture should be of a moldable consistency, not too dry that it cracks but not too runny, either. At this point, add a small amount of straw, just enough to hold the material together.
Once you have a fairly stiff mixture, put your mold unit on a flat surface and push the mixture into the molds. Flatten them out and press out the air bubbles, then let the mixture sit for about a half hour. At this point, the bricks should be solid, but not dry yet. Remove them from the mold and put them on a flat surface to dry. Let them sit for at least 24 hours before proceeding.
Once you have enough bricks for your floor plan, make sure your foundation is level (this may require an extra step of leveling out concrete, which is another simple task). You can mix up some extra mix to use as mortar. Lay your bricks on top of each other, alternating back and forth so the bricks don’t stack exactly on top of each other, but rather shift back and forth in the classic brick wall fashion, in order to ensure a strong wall. Proceed with all the walls of the house, double checking for level construction and stability often. Once you have completed laying out the bricks and mortar, you can seal the bricks with a stucco-mixture, or you can leave them exposed.
At this point, proceed to the roof construction with your sturdy new brick walls! If you wish, you can use other renewable materials like bamboo or straw for the roof to complete the look of your new brick house. Don’t forget to seal and insulate your roofing for maximum weather protection. Congratulations!