Sunday, 11 September 2016

Calico Frida! by Julie Ann

Hot sunny days, cloudless skies and vivid flowers will soon give way to the muted tones of Autumn, so I wanted to create something of a 'farewell to summer' with a burst of brilliant colour. I was really excited to see that Calico have introduced 3 beautifully adaptable art dolls and an idea for my project was born - a Frida Kahlo doll! This isn't my first attempt at capturing the spirit of Frida. One of my first projects on the Calico Team was Frida inspired!

I love Frida's flamboyant style - it always reminds me of sun-baked summer days. With this project I had lots of fun creating a colourful character, holding her own little 'Day of the Dead' skeleton doll with a friendly exotic bird to whisper secrets in her ear!

Here's my work-table with some of my pieces laid out! The dolls are so easy to assemble! I chose the medium sized doll with holes. I gave everything a coat of Gesso and then painted what was going to be the back of the doll, black. I'm a great fan of antique Santos and the ancient crackled paint you find on their faces, so I crackled Frida's face using a coat of black acrylic, a layer of glaze and thin layers of water-colour over the dry crackle. The birch plywood heart painted black was going to be Frida's elaborate hair-do and that little scrap of doilie was a stencil for her bodice.

With the little holes you can position the limbs any way you choose using brads. I decided that I would like Frida's head to be fixed, so I glued it into place with a non-toxic superglue and pressed my 2 surfaces together using one of these useful plastic clips. Her beads were created using tiny blobs of glitter glue, and the floral pattern and white edging were created very quickly using cocktail sticks dipped into white acrylic paint. For larger petals you can use the eraser from the end of a pencil, or the flat circular ends of brushes or pencils dipped into paint. You can achieve some great prints using everyday objects, or you can use a rubber stamp with paint as long as you make sure you clean the stamp thoroughly straight away.

To add interest and different tones to Frida's skin, I went over the acrylic base with light layers of water-colour, creating the impression of a collar bone, cheek bones and so on. Frida's head with its centre parted dark hair was glued to the black heart, which I painted with a pink ribbon. For the fine detail on Frida's face I used a black pigment pen. The red rose is paper clay created from a home-made mould and Frida's earring is a little hand-painted charm.

And here is full-length Frida! I used my little drill to make a hole in the heart plaque so that I could attach a cord; but you can buy the plaques with ready-drilled holes if you prefer.

Frida's skirt is a scrap of lace covered with heavy gel medium to make it stiff. I finished it off with a line of pearly, rainbow sequins.

'Feet, what do I need you for, when I have wings to fly?' Frida looks down on us from the boughs of my apple tree! I added a touch of glitter glue to create the impression of glittery slippers. I hope that you've spread your wings this summer and the coming autumn days will be filled with creativity!

Calico Crafts Parts Used
Standard Doll Kit Style 2 
Standard Heart birch plywood plaque
Skeleton MDF Wood Shape (small)
Sheet of MDF Garden Birds


  1. You've captured the spirit of long, hot summer days, my friend! With these glorious colors and Frida's indomitable soul, the sun is always shining...

  2. I she is magnificent Julie Ann. I love the watercolour touches to create the contours of her skin. You have certainly captured the essence of Frida! What great additions to the Craft parts too! Xx

  3. Thank you so much for the lovely comments! I really enjoyed creating my own little Frida! xx

  4. I love Frida and her glittery slippers, Julie Ann! ;) xx

  5. Ths is quite incredible. You have captured frida perfectly!

    Lucy x

  6. Thank You for the lovely comments: Claudia, Jannet and Lucy. xx

  7. Frida is totally fabulous WOW!
    The hand earring and her crackled face...every detail is wonderful ♥

  8. Love Frida, especially her face! Chrisx