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Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 6 a.m.

Make your own Adinkra cloth from Ghana

By Ann Arbor Art Center

Adinkra Cloth Making.jpg

Photo by Flickr user nikkorsnapper

In this activity, you and your child can create an Adinkra cloth using a few common home supplies. Have fun and teach your child about traditional Ghanaian art and how to tell stories through symbols.

The History of Adinkra cloth

Adinkra cloth comes from the Ashanti people who live in Ghana, a country in West Africa. The Adinkra symbols are printed on both cloth and pottery and are made using stamps and screen-printing.


By Robert Sutherland Rattray Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons

The traditional stamps are carved out of an old calabash squash. Each stamp and symbol tells a story, so when creating an Adinkra cloth, the Ashanti people chose a story that was important to them.

Though originally only worn for funerals, Ghanaians today wear Adinkra cloths for many different kinds of celebrations. These cloths can also be used as tablecloths, wall hangings and pieces of clothing.

Make your own Adinkra cloth

Time: ~30 minutes


  • Piece of cloth
  • Paint
  • Scissors
  • Dried/flattened Sponge

For preparation, determine which Adinkra symbols you will want to use on your cloth. Print the symbols or save them to look at during the project. An index of these symbols and their meanings can be found at

To print these instructions, please download and save the following pdf: How to make an Adinkra Cloth

Things to think about:

  1. What story does your Adinkra cloth tell?
  2. Why are your symbols important to you?
  3. Is there a celebration that you would wear your Adinkra cloth to?
  4. What are other ways you could use your Adinkra cloth?
  5. What materials do you think the Ashanti tribe used to make Adinkra cloths?
  6. What other materials do you think you could use to make a stamp?

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The Ann Arbor Art Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging the community in the education, exhibition and exploration of the visual arts. Offering studio art classes, workshops, exhibitions, summer camps and more, the Art Center is celebrating over 100 years of being the place where creativity and community meet. For more information please visit or stop by the Art Center located at 117 W. Liberty in downtown Ann Arbor.