Paint a Frida Kahlo Inspired Self-Portrait Activity

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Updated on Dec 16, 2010

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who lived from July 6, 1907 to July 13, 1954. She was married to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Many of her paintings are self-portraits reflecting different periods in her life, many of which were filled with pain and suffering. In this activity, your child can put pick up a paintbrush and create a self-portrait inspired by this renowned artist.

What You Need:

  • Paper (heavy weight paper with a cold press surface is best for watercolors)
  • Watercolors or watercolor pencils
  • Paintbrushes
  • Bowl with water
  • Paper towels
  • Frida Kahlo’s work
  • Hand mirror or recent photo of your child

What You Do:

  1. Have your child familiarize herself with a variety of pictures painted by Frida Kahlo, including her many self-portraits. 
  2. Challenge your child to compose her own self-portrait, using the magic of watercolors and Frida Kahlo’s style as inspiration.
  3. Ask your child to draw her picture lightly in pencil first. Watercolor paper is best, but plain drawing or copy paper is okay, too. Just be mindful that the paper will warp a little more and the watercolor effect won’t be quite the same.
  4. Have your child go over her drawing with watercolor paints or watercolor pencils. Watercolor pencils are particularly fun, even for much younger children, because they marvel at being able to activate the colors with wet paintbrushes. And, they are surprised to discover really bold lines when they dip the pencils into water before they draw.
  5. Put your child’s masterpiece on display once it’s completely dry. 
  6. This is a great project for high school aged kids who are studying art and want to practice various techniques using a medium of their choice such as charcoal, watercolor pencils, oils, or pastels.


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