Frida Kahlo Inspired Self Portraits Level: 3-8


Frida Kahlo Inspired Self Portraits

Art Lesson Plan by Francesca Levy



Frida Kahlo is one of the most important artists from Mexico. She is best known for her self-portraits. Her paintings are strongly influenced by Mexican folk culture and use lots of bright and vibrant colors. Frida Kahlo initially wanted to be a doctor, but after a serious accident she decided to become a painter. She practiced painting while she was in bed healing from her accident. Frida Kahlo uses a lot of unique elements in her self portraits such as animals, flowers in her hair and special clothes and jewelry.



Students will create a self portrait and learn more about Frida Kahlo.



Anchor Standard #1
-Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

Anchor Standard #3
-Refine and Complete artistic work.

Anchor Standard #5
-Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Anchor Standard #11
-Relate artistic ideas and work with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.



Using marker and watercolor paint, create a Frida Kahlo inspired self portrait.


Step 1:
Using a pencil first, draw a portrait of yourself from the shoulders up. Remember to make your head take up most of the paper. Use shapes to figure out how to draw yourself- what shape does each part of your shape look like most? Your head is an oval, your ears are semi-circles, your eyes are shapes like footballs. Remember this is a SELF portrait, which means it should look like you! Try to make your hair and facial features look like you, look in a mirror while you draw if you need help.

For the background, use elements of nature like Frida Kahlo used. Frida often painted herself in nature. Leaves, flowers or clouds are all good ideas for your nature backgrounds. Once you are done in pencil, use a permanent marker to trace over all of your lines.

Frida Kahlo Inspired Self Portraits Art Lesson Plan

Step 2:
Once your lines are traced, use your watercolor paints to paint your portrait. If you are having a hard time getting your skin, hair and eye colors just right, try blending or mixing paint colors. Your unique skin color can be made by mixing brown, white, red and yellow paints until it’s just right. Remember to use bright, vibrant colors like Frida when painting your background.

Frida Kahlo Inspired Self Portraits Art Lesson Plan

Step 3:
While your painting is drying, draw an element from Frida Kahlo’s self portraits on a separate sheet of paper using crayons or oil pastels.
Frida often drew herself with flowers in her hair, or with animals, such as monkeys, on her shoulder. If you need inspiration, look at some of Frida Kahlo’s self portraits for inspiration. Once you have drawn your special Frida Kahlo element, use water color paints to paint it.

Frida Kahlo Inspired Self Portraits Art Lesson Plan

Step 4:
Once your special element is dry, use scissors to cut it out. Decide where you want to put it on your portrait. Once you have decided, use glue to glue your special element to your self portrait- now you have a painting just like Frida!

Frida Kahlo Inspired Self Portraits Art Lesson Plan


*Don’t forget to put student name and year on the drawing, at least one inch away from the outside border.*

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Required Materials

  • 01Display My Art Drawing Paper
  • 02Pencil
  • 03Permanent Marker
  • 04Watercolor Paint
  • 05Blank Paper
  • 06Crayons or Oil Pastels
  • 07Scissors
  • 08Glue
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