Brick made from soil and straw is an inexpensive building material available throughout the world that, when used properly, can create a structure that last decades. Made primarily of a clay-rich soil, you can form the bricks to the size and shape desired with simple square molds. Once dried, they can support the weight required to build most simple structures, such as single-story homes. This is especially true when you reinforce the bricks with straw, which helps to hold them together even under pressure from adjacent bricks or from roofing materials.
Things You'll Need
- Soil with high clay content
- Water hose
- Mesh screen
- Wooden brick mold
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Dig up the soil that you wish to use to create your bricks with and place it into a large pile on a tarp. Allow the sun the dry the soil to the touch then break up any large lumps with the flat of the shovel.
Place a large mesh screen over a wheelbarrow and sift the collected soil through the screen to remove any rocks from the material. Any rocks present when you make the bricks can serve as points of weakness in the bricks after baking, causing them to crumble when you apply weight. Fill the wheelbarrow to the halfway mark.
Add half as much sand to the wheelbarrow as you did soil. Mix the soil and sand thoroughly with the shovel.
Add water to the soil in the wheelbarrow using a water hose. Mix the soil as you add the water until it forms a soup-like mud.
Break dry straw into 3-inch long pieces. Add half as much straw to the wheelbarrow as you did sand and mix it in thoroughly as well with the shovel. Allow the straw to absorb some of the liquid in the mixture, thickening the mix to a loose dough-like consistency.
Cover a flat area near the wheelbarrow with a thin layer of sand. Place the brick molds onto the sand so that the open face of the mold is accessible.
Fill each mold with the brick mixture to the rim. Pack the mix in firmly to avoid creating any voids in the bricks. Allow the brick to sit in the mold for 24 hours to firm up.
Tip the mold onto its side and slide the brick out. Place onto a flat surface and dry the brick for two weeks under direct sunlight to remove as much moisture as possible. Turn the bricks every few days for even drying.