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Painted Umbrella




Coaxed open by raindrops, umbrellas bloom like flowers in spring. Your child can turn hers into the prettiest of them all by painting it with a fanciful pattern. It only takes a few supplies and a child-size umbrella. Give kids this absorbing activity, and on the next wet day, they can show off their handiwork in the rain.


  • Nylon umbrella
  • Paintbrushes
  • Permanent waterproof paint
  • Newspaper
  • Smock


  1. Step 1

    Follow the paint manufacturer's directions: Some fabric paints require the addition of fixative; others require ironing the umbrella after painting.

  2. Step 2

    Carefully cover the work surface with newspaper before you begin, and have your child wear a smock.

  3. Step 3

    Once finished, keep the umbrella open overnight; the paint must dry completely before you close it or use it.

Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 12 2004



Reviews (11)

  • bonbut 10 Mar, 2012

    There are several waterproofing sprays that might help keep the paint longer if used on the nylon.

  • MT-R 16 Apr, 2008

    I've done this as a farewell gift to a business colleague -- had everyone sign a dark umbrella with permanent metallic marker pens. It was a big hit and looked terrific!

  • eb1111 15 Apr, 2008

    How about using glow-in-the-dark paints on the inside of a clear umbrella? That would be very cool ! I tried painting (with heat set paints) a nylon umbrella 15 years ago, but the iron melted the nylon. So I would NOT recommend heat. Try permanent fabric paint marker pens. You'll have the permanence of fabric paint, but the dexterity of pens. Painting on the inside is a great idea. I have an umbrella that has the sistine chapel on the inside. I got it years ago through a catalog, and it's a wonderful idea!

  • bearina 14 Apr, 2008

    There are crafter size paints for plastic which might work on the clear umbrellas.

  • merrykay 14 Apr, 2008

    How about permanent markers? I can't get that stuff out of fabric, no matter what I try

  • Candace74 14 Apr, 2008

    Fabulous idea! Perfect project when the weather is't great and kids are anxious to get outside to play. :)

  • Anna_Marie 14 Apr, 2008

    My other suggestion was the same as JJWLTN's... use see-through plastic umbrellas and paint on the inside with a paint that would hold to vinyl. Those would be really cute!

  • Anna_Marie 14 Apr, 2008

    My last comment was a lot longer...wonder why it didn't print the entire thing?

  • Anna_Marie 14 Apr, 2008

    really cute idea for a girl's bday party....I would think fabric paint would stay...may need to wash

  • JJWLTN 14 Apr, 2008

    What if one were to paint the "inside" or underside of the umbrella?
    The artist might be even more inclined to use it as a sunblock and it should then withstand a moderately heavy rain shower as well.
    Always look forward to these " ... of the day" ideas! They are always fun to consider.

  • janefarris1 14 Apr, 2008

    I saw a similar project on Carol Duval. She recommended that the umbrella be used primarily for shading. A light rain is ok, but the paints probably won't hold up. They also used the same type of paint as used in this project. I love the idea of this, but realistically, the only time I use an umbrella is when it is raining and want something that won't wash away. Has anyone tried this? Thanks!