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Clay bricks, hollow block materials from cheap materials



The high cost of construction materials for housing and the need for enough shelter lead to this simple procedure. Rice hull is used in cooking bricks. The produced ashes is used in the mixture of bricks. These materials can be found anywhere in the Philippines.

Materials needed:

  • clay
  • rice hull
  • rice hull ash

Tools needed:

  1. Oven or kiln with 3m x 5m measurement. (Open on top and made of red clay.)
  2. Shovel, hoe and tool for digging.
  3. Wood or metal mold with inside measurement of 2″ x 4″ x 10″ for red clay and 3″ x 8″ x 12″ for floor tiles.
  4. Wood or metal for scraping.
  5. Drying place (like table)
  6. Hole about 3mx2m with water.
  7. Mixing container — wood or concrete.


A. Bricks

  1. Dig clay and bring to the hole with water.
  2. Soak for a day.
  3. Transfer mud clay in the mixing container and add rice hull ash: 1 part of ash to 3 parts of clay.
  4. Mix well by foot. Remove roots, leaves and other wastes.
  5. Prepare the molds (metal or wood). Wet inside surroundings and sprinkle with ashes.
  6. Pour the mud clay mixture.
  7. Scrape excess from mold.
  8. Remove from the mold carefully.
  9. Let it dry under the shade for a day.
  10. Let it dry under the sun for 5-7 days.
  11. Arrange the pile of brick tiles before firing.
    • a. Place 30 cm thick rice hull ash under the oven. Arrange the pile of bricks at 5 cm apart from each other and 15cm from the side of the oven.
    • b. Cover with rice hull ash, including the space between piles. Cover the first pile with 5cm thick of rice hull ash. Do the same in the second and next piles.
    • c. This size of oven can accommodate 1,200 bricks.
    • d. Ignite rice hull ash starting from the bottom. This will last up to one week. Leave bricks to cool.

B. Brick Tiles

  • The method of making brick tiles is similar to bricks. They differ only in size and shape.
  • Both sides of the floor must have a 1 inch groove.
  • A laborer can make 200 bricks in a day.
  • An open oven with 3m x 5m size can cook 1,200 bricks in a month.



  • 1 part of cement
  • 3 parts of: sawdust, soil, rice hull, wood shavings, wood chips, crushed coconut trunk


  1. Mix well, add enough water to desired consistency.
  2. Put in mold and place under the shade for a few hours.
  3. When dried, remove the blocks from mold to dry and incline to one side for ten (10) days. Sprinkle with water from time to time to prevent cracks.



  • powdered coconut husk
  • sandy soil
  • cement


  • molds (made of heavy wood or iron)
  • shovel


  1. For every part of cement – 6 parts of coconut husk soil (or 50 – 50 coconut husk and soil or powdered coconut husk only).
  2. Refine and strain soil on 1/4″ wire mesh strainer.
  3. If rice husk have long fibers, cut it to 1 inch size.
  4. Measure cement and other materials. It is better if the inside diameter of the container measures 30cm which is enough for one bag of cement.
  5. Mix the ingredients well with the aid of shovel.
  6. Make a mountain with hole at the center to pour water. Mix well to attain desired consistency.
  7. Put in a “hollow block” shaped mold the mixture of cement and rice husk. Lay mold on its side on top of a level platform. Fill the mold completely and scrape excess.
  8. Place flat wood on top of the mold and invert it. Compress it like the first one and scrape the top. If necessary add more mixture of cement and rice husk/soil.
  9. Remove the three sets of blocks from the mold. Remove the lock and push carefully the molded block.
  10. Let the block dry under the shades for a few hours to one day after removing from the mold. In drying let it lie on longer sides so it will slide on the longer side.
  11. Let it age for 10 days outside. Sprinkle water from time to time to prevent cracks.

The blocks can be used for walls or fence which will not carry weight.



  1. Burn rice hull into ashes.
  2. Refine the ashes.
  3. Mix the ff.:
    • 60 parts of cement
    • 40 parts of rice hull ash
    • water
  4. Put in a wooden mold.
  5. Let it dry.


The National Institute of Science and Technology was able to produce blocks that does not need to be ignited. This block is rectangular in shape with curve on sides and can be tied on bond. It measures 8″ x 8″ x 6″.

The provinces of La Union, Bulacan, Batangas, and Quezon and Negros Occidental have four (4) kinds of “non-metallic ores” deposit that can be used. The clay and limestone can be found in almost anywhere in the country, but the gravel and sand are abundant in Regions III, IV, VI and X.

Raw Materials: clay, lime, sand, gravel, water

Tools needed: pickax, shovel, wire strainer, wooden mold


  1. Crush blocks of clay with a pick. With a wire strainer, remove the wastes like stones, roots, twigs and others.
  2. Strain the lime and sand separately to set aside bigger pieces.
  3. Mix well five (5) boxes of clay, two (2) boxes of lime and two (2) boxes of sand.
  4. Gradually add water until desired mixture is attained. The mixture should not be too wet or too dry to maintain the shape of blocks when placed in mold.
  5. Put in wooden molds and press hard until all the spaces are filled up. Scrape excess in molds.
  6. Remove blocks on mold and let it stay under the shade for three days. Then dry under the sun for (3) three more days.


Who would think that the ashes from Mt. Pinatubo is not only a curse but a livelihood also. There is truth that God made all things in nature with goodness. Researchers from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) found that ashes from volcanic eruption naturally possessed materials that can be used in various industries.

For Example:

1. Concrete mixture for hollow blocks making – natural binding quality useful in hollow blocks making. This can be used instead of sand with a proportion of about 1:6 (one kilo ash in 6 kilos cement). This is formed into molds (example 4″x6). If hardened for 15 days, it is 35% lighter than the one made in ordinary method.

Because of the fineness of the ash, it goes to the smallest space that are being cemented, so the concrete using this is more solid. It becomes more durable through the years. It can be used in making dikes and medium height buildings.

2. Makes the top of asphalted road shiny.

3. In making bricks, this ash can be a substitute for clay for about 20% because it contains 63% silica.

4. For making glass and crystals – for the same silica and potassium oxide contents.

5. In making ceramics and glaze for tiles, lavatory and toilet bowl.

6. Filler for making plastics, rubber, insecticide and soil fertilizer. Aside from fertilizer, it is also a good conditioner for soil in pots, for example, anthurium, because it does not contain germs or animal pest, that is why it is cleaner.

7. Insulation material for making cushion because of its special characteristic of maintaining heat.

8. For cleaning dirt caused by oil and grease because it is a good absorber of this kind. And because of its characteristic that it can not be burned, this is good as covers for piles of oil wastes to prevent fire.

9. Like cleanser it is used in scrubbing and cleaning kitchen utensils such as pots, pans, dishes and others.

10. Can be made into figurines and other sculpture designs.

Uses of Bloated Volcanic Ash

When the ash of volcano bloat by means of heating this between 1600°F-1700°F, cool it first, then crush slowly (so it will not be in powdered form) the uses of this are the following:

1. Filter medium. Crushed or whole, it can be used to filter water, syrup, beer and wine, fruit juices and the like, fats of animal or plants, imperfect varnish, machine oil, chemical used in dry cleaning and liquid wastes from factories.

2. For walls and ceilings. Because of its distinctive quality of lightness and sound proofness it can be used as ingredient for wall finish and plastic board.

“Fireproof” Tiles for Roofing and Walling from Pinatubo Ash


  • Boil bloated ash and binder or mixed glue.
  • Press the mixture.
  • Cook in 200°F (93°C) heat.
  • Paint a fire resistant paint so as not to pulverize. This happen if the pressure and heat is not enough or low and with not enough binder, there seems to have dust on top.


  1. Get a handful of soil and add enough water to make it sticky.
  2. Mold it into balls and dry under the sun for 2 to 4 days.
  3. See whether the dried soil cracked or not. If it remains firm and hard the soil is clay.
  4. Test another one with this procedure.

Conduct another test by molding 4″ x 10″ x 2″ and burn with rice husk for one week. Good clay when dried by this method will sound metallic when tapped.


There are three (3) types of manufacturing methods for bricks:

  1. Soft-mud
  2. Soft-mud with repressing machine
  3. Mechanical method

Methods 1 and 2 are most suited for cottage industry. They are manually generated and require only a small capital.

Method 3 used machines for raw material processing and farming. Even if most of the machine can be made it still needs a big capital investment.


1. Raw clay is left in the open for stock piling with a duration of about two (2) months or until the clay disintegrates thru the action of sun and rain.

2. The disintegrated clay is brought to the processing area. Sandy clay, plastic clay and sand are mixed in their proper proportions. Water is added to combine clay mixture.

3. Knead either by hand or foot for about three (3) hours.

4. After kneading, the clay should be aged for two (2) days to get a homogeneous mixture. Aging distributes its workability and lessening the possibility of cracking during drying and firing.

5. Form the clay into a wooden mold.

6. The formed bricks from the mold are then placed on a pallet and allowed to dry to leather hardness for not more than two (2) days.

7. The leather hard bricks are retouched to remove the finger marks and scratches due to forming and handling. The retouching work can either be done by skillful hand manipulation or by machine for better and faster finishing.

8. Retouched bricks are kept in the drying area until they are completely and uniformly dried. The drying takes about two (2) weeks during dry season and four (4) weeks on a rainy season.

9. When dried, put the clay in improvised kiln. Arrange them loosely and pour rice hulls in between the spaces.

10. Set fire from the bottom. Baking process takes one week.


Materials: clay, sand, water

Tools: shovel, hoe, pickax, strainer, wire #14, wooden scraper, wooden molds 10″ x5″ x12½”, gas oven


  1. Dig soil, remove stones and waste with the use of strainer.
  2. Mix with:
    • 25% water (1 part water in 4 parts of soil)
    • 10% sand (10 parts of sand in 10 parts of clay)
    • Mix well.
  3. Put in molds, scrape excess.
  4. Remove molds and let dry bricks within 3 to 4 weeks at room temperature.
  5. Invert brick so it would not crack or form wrinkles.
  6. Preheat gas oven for 2 hours at 980°C.
  7. Arrange bricks alternately
  8. Bake for 16 hours.
  9. Cool before use.


Due to the increasing cost of cement, the Forest Products and Industries Development Commission (FORPRIDECOM) conducted a research that will produce blocks from soil and water, or a combination of one or two different wastes or wood waste like rice hull, coconut coirdust or sawdust. The binder used is lime. Lime can be found almost anywhere in the Philippines.


  • lime rice hull
  • coconut coirdust rice hull ash
  • sand wood ash
  • soil

Tools needed:

  • 1/4″ wire screen
  • mold
  • shovel


  1. Powder the soil and remove lumps by using 1/4″ wire mesh screen.
  2. Mix well any combination of one or two of the following:
    • a. 3 parts soil + 1 part coconut coirdust
    • b. 3 parts soil + 1 part rice hull
    • c. 5 parts soil + 1 part lime
    • d. 5 parts soil + ½ part lime + ½ part rice hull ash
    • e. 5 parts soil + ½ lime + ½ part wood ash
    • f. 4 parts soil + 1 part rice hull + 1 part lime
    • g. 2½ parts soil + 2½ part sand + ½ part lime + ½ part wood ash
  3. Make a mountain-like of any of the combination and put a well at the center for water.
  4. Pour the material combination on the well slowly and mix with shovel. The result must not be too dry or too wet for moulding.
  5. Place in molds. Shake and scrape the top.
  6. Dry under the shade for a few days.
  7. Dry under the sun for few days.
10 Comments leave one →
  1. emmanuel fosu permalink
    09/20/2010 2:30 PM

    thank you very much for sharing your findings with the rest of the of the world

    03/05/2011 7:44 AM

    thank you for this wonderful information. I will surely practice this and build my own house.

  3. kumarappan1692 permalink
    03/19/2011 3:59 PM

    i wnt more detail

  4. 05/04/2011 5:51 PM

    It is very informative. I also try to do this.

  5. Jay permalink
    01/29/2013 11:33 AM

    Can you also do Hollow Blocks from wood ash and Calcium oxide extracted from Limestone??

  6. Jay permalink
    01/29/2013 11:38 AM


  7. Prince permalink
    01/21/2014 11:43 PM

    These are great ideas, considering their availability it will make communities move on with modern housing.

  8. 08/14/2014 10:54 AM

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.

    I believe that you ought to publish more on
    this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people
    do not talk about these subjects. To the next! All the best!!

  9. 08/28/2014 2:29 PM

    These factors mold and manipulate the shape and cross-section’the structure’of the jet stream.

    Any leak in the plumbing or problems in the ventilation need to be addressed in order to stop the mold from
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  1. Blocks Made from Cheap Materials « Geopolymer House Blog

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