Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pop Art Self-Portraits for Kids

These Pop-Art Self-Portraits for kids are a blast to make.

A short description of the process would read like this. Convert photos to coloring pages, glue to a cardboard canvas panel, drill holes in the top of panel. Allow kids to color and embellish. Thread with a piece of hemp for a hanger.

Converting Photos to Coloring Pages

Start with a basic black and white photo (most photo-editing software allows you to convert color photos to black and white). Enhance the contrasts.

Use your Edge Effects option to Find All.

Fiddle with brightness and contrast until you have a decent looking coloring page.

I've found that using an Edge Preserving Smooth function sometimes  helps clean-up and enhance the edges.

Applying Page to Cardboard Canvas Panel

Drill holes into the top two corners of your canvas.

Use Liquitex Matte Gel Medium to adhere the page to the canvas. You could use glue or Mod Podge. There are two reasons I didn't:

  • First, I wanted something a little neater to work with (I didn't want to accidentally get glue on the front of the image and I find a gel medium easier to work with). 
  • Second, I feel that the gel mediums create a tighter bond and these were going to take a beating from the kids. 
Let the Kids Make Pop Art

Let the kids color their portrait. 

Have the kids choose gems for their decoration (if you have time, it would be fun to let the kids use glitter paint or glue to embellish their picture too).

Have the kids arrange their gems. Put down hot glue dots for them to put their gems on (I had the kids use crayons to color their image and regular glue doesn't stick well to wax. So if you didn't use crayon, you could probably let the kids use regular white glue to glue the gems down).

Have the kids choose their beads or other embellishments for the  hanger.

Thread the hanger through the holes so that the tails of the hanger on the front of the canvas allowing embelishments to hang down in the front.

I brought washers for the boys to use if they didn't want to mess with gems or beads.

I think these are fun expressive pieces of artwork and I am jazzed to hang my girl's portraits up in the house.


  1. What a cool fun project! Thanks for the tute, Melissa, I didn't know how to do this with a photo.

  2. So coolio! Thanks for sharing - my kids would love it!

  3. I like this project for my grandson - Very nice tutorial -- thanks!

  4. Wow! What a fabulous idea! I'm going to try this after know that week before school starts again can get pretty boring. My kids will love this. Thanks for sharing! Happy Friday! :o)

  5. Those are fantastic Melissa! I have to do this with my little one! I would love a portrait of him that he has himself (mostly) created. GREAT IDEA!

  6. Cool! Maybe someday I'll have a copy of Photoshop.

  7. this is such a great idea and using photo editing software sure makes it easier. I like that you used washers for the boys...I know how they can be, they don't want to go anywhere near "girl" stuff.

  8. I love this idea, they all look fabulous! I love the little boy who coloured himself a beard!