Build a Mud Hut for Free

Building a mud hut from scratch is a pretty daunting task, but this guy makes it look way too easy.

I built this hut in the bush using naturally occurring materials and primitive tools. The hut is 2m wide and 2m long, the side walls are 1m high and the ridge line (highest point) is 2m high giving a roof angle of 45 degrees. A bed was built inside and it takes up a little less than half the hut. The tools used were a stone hand axe to chop wood, fire sticks to make fire, a digging stick for digging and clay pots to carry water. The materials used in the hut were wood for the frame, vine and lawyer cane for lashings and mud for daubing. Broad leaves were initially used as thatch which worked well for about four months before starting to rot. The roof was then covered with sheets of paper bark which proved to be a better roofing material (*peeling the outer layer of bark does not kill this species of tree). An external fireplace and chimney were also built to reduce smoke inside. The hut is a small yet comfortable shelter and provides room to store tools and materials out of the weather. The whole hut took 9 months from start to finish. But it only took 30 days of actual work (I abandoned it for a few months before adding bark roof, chimney and extra daub ).


Finding Clay to Build your Mud/Clay Hut

In order to build your mud hut you will want to find the right type of mud or clay. Here is a good video on how to dig up clay. A good rule of thumb for your mud walls is by mixing together two parts clay soil, two parts water, and one part dead grass in a large pit and mold together into a good mortar. Check out the below video to see how to dig for clay in the ground.

How to Dig for Clay

Building your Walls

To build your shelter you will want to layer rocks and mortar against the poles to keep the wall straight and keep it from caving in. You will want to make the walls thicker at the bottom than the top to provide more stability.

After you build the walls you want to layer more limbs across the tops of the walls and layer saplings or large leaves to construct the roof. Smear mud onto the thatched saplings and then sprinkle fertile soil over the roof to encourage grass and moss to grow for a weather tight seal.

After you are done with the walls and roof you will want check for cracks inside your home. When you find cracks slather the mud mixture over the inside walls. This will also give the walls a smooth texture.

If built right these structures can last thousands of years.