Decorate an Umbrella with Fabric Paint!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

They say that April showers bring May flowers. And in some parts of the country this year there've even been April flurries to herald in the blooms! While Mother Nature keeps us on our toes, here's a colorful springtime project that really brings the flowers when it rains. It's just one of a slew of ways to decorate an umbrella with paint (because let's face it, sometimes a purple umbrella isn't quite bright enough). It's part pop art (a gumball machine!), part impressionism (Monet's gardens at Giverny) -- and a whole lot of color to brighten any dreary day! We often think of fabric paints in the context of T-shirts and other wearables, but it's fun to experiment with paint on other fabric-based surfaces: embellished pillows, couches, canvas director chairs, curtains, and...umbrellas!

What you need:
-a plain umbrella
-Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in a variety of colors 
(I used Azalea, Lime, Mandarin Orange, Linen, Crimson Red Matte, and Holiday Green Matte)
-Tulip Sponge Pouncers (foam paintbrushes)
-paper plate (to use as a paint palette)

Check out the how-to video I did for, or scroll down to follow the step-by-step photos.

Open the umbrella (I know it's considered bad luck, but you'll have to get over it -- or take the project outside if the weather's nice!). Squeeze one paint color onto your palette and use the pouncer to start making dots around the perimeter of the umbrella. Make them close together at the bottom of the umbrella and space them farther apart toward the top.

Wash and dry the pouncer before changing colors, or start with a fresh brush. Squeeze out a new dollop of paint and press dots around the base of the umbrella, interspersed with the first color. Reinforce the fabric surface on the inside of the umbrella with your other hand (just slide it under, palm up).

Continue to add colors the same way, and your "garden" will grow more and more lush. It's repetitive, but incredibly meditative, too!
When you've added all of your colors, let the umbrella fabric dry completely. Now that you've completed this "rainy day activity," you can take part in a new one: go outside with your umbrella and jump in the puddles!

It's a nice vibrant splash of color while we wait for the flowers to poke through.