Dirt, sand, straw, clay, and water. Mixed and packed together in different combinations, these materials can create incredibly sturdy shelters and structures. In this video from The Nito Project, artist builder Benito Steen demonstrates how to build with different mud recipes, including rammed earth, cob, adobe, clay, wattle and daub, and other age-old materials.
Steen also shares the mud recipes for these walls of earth. His parents, Athena and Bill Steen of The Canelo Project, have promoted the use of straw bale homes and other eco-friendly building techniques for decades.
Mix 1 – 1 clay, 1 sand, ¼ water. Uses: rammed earth, earthen-floor subfloor, earth-bag fill, Earthship tire fill
Mix 2 – 1 clay, 1 sand, ½ straw, ½ water. Uses: cob
Mix 3 – 1 clay, 1 sand, ½ straw, ¾ water. Uses: adobe, plaster, mortar, earthen-floor finish layer
Mix 4 – 2 clay, 1 sand, 1½ straw, 1 water. Uses: wattle & daub, base-coat plaster
Mix 5 – 2 clay, 1 sand, 2½ straw, 1¼ water. Uses: straw-clay block, base-coat plaster
Mix 6 – 2 clay, 1 sand, 3½ straw, 1½ water. Uses: straw-clay infill, lighter straw-clay blocks
Clay mortar: 1 clay, 1½ sand, ¾ water
Read more about earth structures on Wikipedia.
Then watch more videos about shelter and mud, including hikaru dorodango and Primitive Technology’s Barrel Tiled Shed & Tiled Roof Hut.