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DIY – Decorate your own Umbrella

It’s Day 1 of March Break and you’ve already reached for the Advil and your wine. Spring is supposedly coming in 2 weeks and there is still 3 feet of snow in your backyard. Operation “Occupy Your Kids with Crafts Week” is running out of ideas and your kids are bored and getting louder. It’s time for a DIY – Decorate your own Umbrella!

DIY – Decorate your own Umbrella

This all started when my daughter brought home her umbrella from school in pieces.

She got it last year for her birthday from one of my best friends (it’s the Alex Color A Yumbrella umbrella for kids) and she loved it to death. The markers faded and bled in the rain but she didn’t care and basically wore it down.

When it died an untimely death I thought surely we can do this on our own somehow no? I just really didn’t want to resort to fabric paint and stenciling. Most of the fabric markers tend to bleed and well, water + rain = not a great idea.

I wanted something kid friendly and easy that they could do themselves. Again, without the clean up factor of paint. You really have to be in the mood to deal with paint.

So you know when you get a craft idea that’s so simple that you can’t believe it never occurred to you to do it before. What is waterproof, easy to use, kid friendly, flexible and probably in every household craft box across the country?

Foam shapes.

This is just Walmart. Never mind the dollar stores across the world.

So I got some of these…

If you’re trapped inside, Amazon has them too:


Then got my daughter to pick out whatever shapes she wanted. Butterflies won that round. We also picked up two blue child sized umbrellas at the Dollar Tree.

This is the story DIY Umbrella # 1.


Got out the Fabri-Tac. This is a fabric glue. Very easy to use.


If you don’t have Fabri-Tac use any waterproof glue / permanent adhesive like E6000.

In fact I would recommend using a stronger adhesive for longevity, but it really depends on the ages of your kids. The original E6000 is NOT meant for children’s use and has a strong chemical scent to it.

However, the brand does have a Fabric style glue which gets excellent reviews on Amazon. Again, use your discretion based on the ages of your children.


The most important step is to pay special attention to the edges of the foam shapes when you’re placing the glue on the backs of the foam shapes to avoid any curling up of the foam.

Foam will curl when wet as I learned via my bat display on Halloween.

And this is the story of DIY Umbrella # 2.

Here are some tricks and lessons I learned to help you:

  • Press down firmly when you place the foam shapes on the umbrella to secure them to the nylon or else it will peel off.
  • Let it dry 24 hours before getting wet or as per curing and drying times on the instructions of the adhesive glue you used.
  • Choose thinner foam shapes vs thicker ones. Thicker ones are harder to mold. In fact, small shapes work way better.
  • We had these umbrellas for quite some time after and I was even surprised at how well they lasted. That is, the foam shapes lasted longer than the actual dollar store umbrellas. 

Can you fold the umbrella?

If you’re wondering how the umbrella folds with the shapes glued on it, it does so very easily. Foam is thin and flexible and will conform to any shape you mold it too.

This is why, again, it’s important to get the edges of the shapes glued down so the edges of the shapes don’t peel off.

I think this would make an awesome craft for an older child’s birthday party or even a loot bag treat to take home. It’s a great idea for an event decoration where you want personalize a slogan or saying. 

The possibilities are endless because foam shapes come in just about everything from footballs and dinosaurs to fairies and stars.


The DIY Dreamer

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  • Reply
    Time With Thea
    March 11, 2013 at 9:07 am

    What a fun idea! Your daughters may be starting a new trend at school!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Is it wrong that I desperately want one for me? This looks fantastic and would also be an excellent craft during Girl Scouts. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

    SO cute. I agree with Joan – I want one for myself too haha.

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      March 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Hilarious! ITA with you both! I wanted a black and white version for my adult self. Which I would probably do with fabric paint. But for this I was like Ok let’s think of what’s fast and easy…

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 10:33 am

    great idea! your girls are so cute with their umbrellas. and now they have one of a kind accessories! of course, fast forward a few more snow days and i can see them with umbrellas and 1,500 different decorations glued on them. HA! 😀

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    This is one of those things I’ve pinned and wanted to make though instead of foam the person used stencils and fabric paint. Got to love giving something a fresh look!

  • Reply
    Tia & Jeff
    March 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Your girls are so sweet! 🙂 What a fun March break project

  • Reply
    Green Door Hospitality
    March 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    This is such a cute idea! Love it!

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    March 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    When I was little, I got some idea in my head that I wanted a parasol… we didn’t have a TV, and I read WAY too many books where the girl did things like carry parasols or befriend their maid… My mom ended up sewing layers of nylon ruffles on a pink umbrella. You think I am kidding, but I am so not.

    Your project looks way easier. And also like something they could be involved with making… without also making you nuts!! Cute!!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      March 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      See it just means your Mom was truly the DIY Queen!!

      That’s just it with this project. I am trying more and more to do simplified crafts b/c I am finding a lot of things out of reach for me in the craft world b/c I don’t have the right gear to do it. So when I do something I consciously think ok can the average person go to the store and get what they need for this.

  • Reply
    Kelly (Cobwebs, Cupcakes And Crayons)
    March 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    What a precious idea! Would make such a sweet gift!!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Brilllliiiiiiiiant!! love Love LOVE this!! I know a particular soon-to-be three year old who is getting a make-you-own umbrella kit for her birthday!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      March 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Smart!! A birthday craft umbrella kit! I am making up a crafting kit for a friends daughter for this weekend. Any present to help occupy your kids time is always a great present. Er, I mean one that is creative present to inspire creativity.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    This is totally adorable and you have a talent for coming up with crafts that your kids can enjoy and don’t seem to drive you crazy. I’m sure your daughter was sad that her last umbrella bit the dust, but this seems like a great alternative.

  • Reply
    now at home mom
    March 12, 2013 at 1:23 am

    good idea, so cute! 🙂 & your girls look so cute too! hope you will have a great March break week with them!

  • Reply
    Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
    March 12, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Ahhh, makes me recall the bumblebee umbrella my daughter had with pop up wings. She loved that thing. Now, at 11, I’m happy when I can get her to leave the house with a coat when it’s raining. Sigh.

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      March 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      LOL!! Reminds me of me at 13. I refused to wear a hat or layer my coat. I froze to death at the bus stop then smartened up and dressed warmer on my own.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    March 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Your post reminds me of an interview I had trying to be a camp counselor in Maine. All my answers of what to do with the kids revolved around crafting. They asked what I would do with the kids if it had been raining for days straight. More crafting! They replied, It really must not rain in San Diego 😛 I didn’t get the job…

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      March 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      What?!! I am on Day 3.5 of non stop crafts. Painting birdhouses. Bracelet making. Necklace making. Today it’s baking soda dough (if I don’t lose my sanity). Yesterday I was like take your umbrellas and go play in the rain. Muddy rainboots. Bad idea.

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
    March 15, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Rainy days are days when I sometimes feel MOST inspired creatively. Guess it’s the melancholy angsty artist within. Add a soundtrack of Smashing Pumpkins and call it a Rainy Crafternoon for the Record Books.

    All that to say…I love your rain-inspired craft! Practical and purdy.

    • Reply
      March 15, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Argh!! I wrote out a whole response and this darned thing called the internet timed me out.

      The gist was that I am the opposite. I get creatively inspired to do crafts when it’s super sunny out. Which makes no sense b/c I should be outside playing. If it rains all I want to do is drink coffee and write.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Love this idea!!! Totally steal all your ideas!

    • Reply
      March 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Too funny April!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Such a cute idea!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Oh my goodness!!! How cute is that!!! Fabulous idea Alex!!!! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

  • Reply
    April 4, 2014 at 5:01 am

    very creative, does this compromise the umbrella at all? I have a good umbrella about $50, thinking of doing it on mine but im worried!

    • Reply
      April 4, 2014 at 7:11 am

      I don’t know if I would do this on a $50 umbrella. This is because the ends of the foam if you don’t get every edge may curl up which is what made it an easy kids craft for a season (my kids find ways to break umbrellas, it’s a gift). I’d go with stencilling if I was to do one for myself with fabric paint. I just realized I need to update this post because Fabri-Tac doesn’t hold as well as I’d like in the long run and I’d recommend e6000 glue for any embellishment glue for an umbrella project. It now even comes in a spray version.

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