Colorful Little Story Staring Frida Kahlo

I have been obsessed with color for as long as I can remember and I am always looking for new and interesting ways to apply my obsession to the world around me. I recently ran across a huge stash of really thick tags at a local vintage shop and when I received a bunch of the new summer stencils form The Crafter’s Workshop I was inspired to create a mini stream of conscious story book staring one of my favorite artists Frida Kahlo! (Stencil TCW646)

Below is a step by step visual tutorial of my process. I have also included a list of all of the Supplies I used and as a fun little bonus I bundled a few tags, rings and ribbon strands into a little mini book kit and put them on my Etsy shop so you can create a little mini Frida Kahlo book for yourself!

Supplies:
TCW White Gesso
TCW Black Gesso
5 of The Crafter’s Workshop new 6″ inch summer stencils
(TCW646, TCW639, TCW642, TCW651, TCW650)
Alcohol Blending Solution
Chameleon Color Tones Pens (cool color pack)
Vintage Tag pack (11 tags, binding ring & ribbons)
Acrylic Paint
Acrylic Ink
Graphite

Gesso, stencils, tags, and more for my Frida Kahlo mini book.

Gesso, stencils, tags, and more for my Frida Kahlo mini book.

I always like to gather my supplies and decide on colors first. I knew I wanted to experiment with the Chameleon pens and acrylic paint so I selected my colors and put everything in my line of sight to start.

First I had to prep my tags so I applied a light layer of TCW white Gesso. Whenever I use ephemera or something I am repurposing I always apply gesso lightly so that I can see the text or bits of the object underneath I feel this adds character to my finished work.

Tags with a light coat of Gesso applied.

Tags with a light coat of Gesso applied.

Next I dropped blue and green Golden brand liquid acrylic onto my tags in a random pattern and then I used my finger to smear the paint loosely around the tags. I like to use my finger for this application because it feels more loose and looks more expressive and free.

Layer one is liquid acrylic applied with my fingers.

Layer one is liquid acrylic applied with my fingers.

Next I used my cool pack of Chameleon Pens to scribble color into the white spots left on my tags. It is very important to make sure your background layer of gesso and the first layer of acrylic paint is completely dry before you apply the marker.

This layer is another opportunity to just be free to scribble. The loose marks and lines give the tags energy and life.

Chameleon Pen scribbles

Chameleon Pen scribbles.

Next I dropped alcohol blending solution onto my tags. Since Chameleon pens use alcohol based ink the blending solution turns the marker pigment into a watercolor feel but still allows some of the original marks to stay. I blended the alcohol blending solution and marker ink with a paint brush and then allowed this layer to dry completely.

You can still see the bits of letters peaking through from the original tags. This helps the layered look appear ordered, chaotic and free all at the same time and adds visual interest.

Application of alcohol blending solution.

Application of alcohol blending solution.

Next I used my fingers to apply a layer of neon pink acrylic ink. The warm pink color really pops off the cool blues and greens of the background.

Pink Neon Acrylic Ink

Pink Neon Acrylic Ink

After all of my layers were completely dry I used a pencil to scribble a layer of graphite into my tags. This layer mimics the ink and paint process I used and adds a line weight variation that is visually interesting.

Graphite scribbles

Graphite scribbles.

I flipped all of my tags over and dropped pink acrylic ink, and green and blue high flow acrylic paint onto the backs to create a calmer background for my tags. Since I knew I was going to write my story on the backs I wanted to keep them more of a simple solid background. I used my finger to apply the layer of color so that each tag back would look more personal and original. This process allows for some interesting texture and variation as well.

Apply a layer of paint to the tags backs.

Apply a layer of paint to the tags backs with your fingers.

After my tags dried completely I used TCW black gesso to apply bits and pieces of 5 different stencils to my tags to create a story. I looked for elements in the stencils that were interesting and different so I could tell a full story.

Tags are dry and ready for stenciling!

Tags are dry and ready for stenciling!

You can see all of the elements and variation I got from my selected stencils. Here is the list go the 5 new 6″ inch summer stencils (TCW646TCW639TCW642TCW651TCW650)

Black gesso stencil application

Black gesso stencil application

Once the black gesso was dry I used a white gel pen and a medium nib black marker to add bits of detail to some of the stenciled tags.

White gel pen was added for extra detailing

White gel pen was added for extra detailing.

Close up.

Stencil tag close up.

Stencil tag close up.

Once my tags were completely dry I put my book in order and flipped through to write my story. Each tag “page” was viewed and the stenciled imagery was used for the adjacent pages written words. Below I laid out the tags in story order so you can read the story all at once. I have also included a link to a little flip through video below so you can experience the story as a mini book. The first pink tag is the cover then you read the story down the left side and then down the right.

Story added to the back of my tags with hand lettering.

Story added to the back of my tags with hand lettering.

YouTube mini book flip through

Click here to watch my YouTube mini book flip through

To finish up my little book I added a metal book ring and a few different blue and purple ribbons  to offset and contrast all of the neon colors of my pages.

Bound finished tag book

Bound finished tag book

Close up of my finished mini book.

Mini tag book close up.

Mini tag book close up.

This was a really fun and super colorful piece to create. I enjoyed the freedom of mixing so many different mediums together and the personal touch blending the colors with my hands added. I would love to see your mini books so if you make one be sure to share your creations on The Crafter’s Workshop Facebook page or by tagging The Crafter’s Workshop on InstagramTwitter or Pinterest! Also tag me @Drawriot if you share on Instagram! Until next time, keep creating! ?

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. This post also contains affiliate links. The opinions I share are solely my own.

Tori Weyers
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

6 thoughts on “Colorful Little Story Staring Frida Kahlo

  1. I love Freida! Living in NM I have had the opportunity to view her paintings in Santa Fe and Mexico City. I use many stencils from “The Crafter’s Workshop” on fused glass with Color Line enamel paints.

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