The artist Frida Kahlo created and re-created herself through her personal style choices and self-portraits. She also kept colorful journals of her thoughts and ideas that were filled with vivid symbolism. Her ability to creatively communicate who she was and how she felt is vibrant and powerful. Kahlo’s art and self-portraits have inspired the world.
This project is a creation of a journal with a collaged cover inspired by the work of Frida Kahlo.
Upon completing your journal, you can fill the pages with your own writings and drawings to express your thoughts about yourself as an artist, and your ideas about Frida Kahlo.
- Glue stick
- Thin cardboard or poster board
- Regular printer paper
- Hole puncher
- Thin ribbon, yarn, twine, or brads for binding
Collage and Assemblage Materials:
- Magazine or recycling paper images
- Ribbon, fabric, or lace trim
- Dried or cloth flowers and leaves
1. Cut the poster board or thin cardboard for a cover and back. We recommend (9 x 9 in. or 4 x 6 in.), but you can choose any size.
2. Cut regular printer paper pages the same size as your covers (or 1/4–1/2 in. smaller.)
3. Stack the pages inside your covers and hole-punch the edge of your journal through the covers and pages. Tip: Measure and mark the hole punch locations. You can also use a nail to create holes; just be sure to put foam core or cardboard under your paper so you don’t scratch the table.
4. Bind your journal with brads or ribbon.
5. Choose images and objects to add to your collage. Then, assemble your collage.
6. Trim with an outline of ribbon, leaves, or a flower (see samples). Use a poke tool to make a hole to attach a button or flower with thin string, ribbon, or brads. Using a marker, add a title, or an inspirational quote by Frida Kahlo to your cover.
7. Your journal is ready for your own writing and sketching!
Kahlo used many symbols in her work that represent ideas and events in her life. What kinds of things do you see included in her self-portraits?
In your journal, you can sketch a portrait of yourself or someone close to you, then write about it, too!
Text by Suzanne Couture, senior teaching artist.
Images: Nickolas Muray, Frida with Olmeca Figurine, Coyoacán, 1939 (part of collage image). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of George and Marie Hecksher in honor of the tenth anniversary of the new de Young museum. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives; Nickolas Muray, Frida on Bench, New York City, 1939 (part of collage image). © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives