This month, we take a look at a fun and easy craft to try with your grandchildren – painting umbrellas.
Painting an umbrella together can be the perfect creative project for an enjoyable afternoon with your grandchildren. Best of all, you’ll make something useful that kids will enjoy showing off when it rains.
What You Need
It’s a good idea to start with a very plain umbrella, white if you can get it, or other muted colours like pastels, tan, or cream. Try looking for a nylon umbrella, which is often the easiest fabric to paint on. Sites like Amazon and eBay are great for finding them cheap.
There are different types of paint you can use to paint an umbrella. Fabric paints are often best for canvas umbrellas as they easily bond with the textile. Acrylic paint can be good for nylon umbrellas or other synthetic fabrics. Metallic paints can make a nice finishing touch for details, but they are more expensive. Whatever paint you buy, make sure it’s waterproof!
Other supplies you’ll need:
- A pencil and eraser
- Sharpies or other thick marker pens
- Firm paper or white cardboard
- Masking tape or sellotape
- A smock or old shirt
- Primer, an iron or stabilizing spray – depending on the paint you buy (check instructions)
- A print out of any special character your grandkids might want to draw, or a computer or tablet to look pictures up on the day
How To Paint An Umbrella
It’s very easy to paint on an umbrella once you have your supplies, but here are some tips to help you through the process:
- First off, treat your fabric if you need to, depending on the paint and fabric you’ve chosen. You might need to do this in advance of your grandchild coming over, so it’s ready to go
- Cover your work surface in old newspaper, and dress in smocks or old shirts so you don’t get any paint or marker pen on your clothing
- Draw your main design in pencil on a piece of firm paper or cardboard (or have your printed design ready). While some details will look great when you just draw them directly on the umbrella, others will be best if you plan them in advance – it’s up to you
- Draw over your image in pen when it’s ready, and let the ink dry
- Tape the image to hold it in place on the underside of the umbrella
- Trace the image onto the umbrella, and paint onto the surface following the manufacturer’s directions
- If you need to, once you’re finished iron the paint into place or use a fixative, as directed on the paint supplier
- Keep the umbrella open and indoors for at least a night so the paint has a chance to dry before it’s used
What To Paint
The beauty of painting an umbrella is that you can let your grandchild paint their favourite characters, animals or even stories onto one, making it unique for them. You could even paint your own umbrella at the same time, and make your own designer accessory.
Think about painting:
- Flowers and trees
- Birds and butterflies
- Cars and trucks
- Pirates or princesses
- Cats, dogs, rabbits or ducks
- A rainbow, clouds, or the sun
- Fruit or vegetables
- Fish and sea life
- Spots, stars, or geometric shapes
- Their favourite characters from books or television
Image via Martha Stewart
What would you paint on an umbrella?