If you’ve broken half the number of umbrellas in your lifetime as we have, then you’ve probably also wondered whether there isn’t something you can turn the metal frame or fabric into rather than just continually popping the sad, broken things into your recycling box. After our fourth one this year, we decided to do a little research and see what kinds of DIY magic we might be able to create so that at least our poor umbrellas would go to good use.
Sure enough, we found plenty of options for transforming old or broken umbrella parts into all kinds of cool things. Check out these 15, which were our favourite ideas out of all the things we discovered!
1. Reusable grocery bag
Do you get tired of paying extra money for plastic bags at the grocery store? Sure, it’s only a few cents, but if you grocery shop as much as we do then we both know it starts to add up! Reusable shopping bags, however, also cost money, even if they’re a better investment. Instead of buying the ones from the store, why not make your own? As long as it’s in tact, the fabric of your latest broken umbrella is the perfect material to make a new grocery tote out of! Check out how it’s done on Everyday Crafty Goodness.
2. Lined purse
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to make yourself a new bag for school, work, or taking Baby on outings, but you’re had bad experiences with things like lunches or bottles leaking all over the fabric? How to Reuse it Creatively has a great suggestion for making that problem a much easier one to clean up! Try making yourself a messenger bag, but before you use it, line the inside with the shiny material from your broken umbrella. Anything that spills inside the bag will be much easier to wipe off!
3. Magazine rack
Maybe both the fabric and the metal frame are salvageable, but the umbrella is just too old and worn to withstand the wind anymore? Give the whole thing a new lease on life by transforming it into a little standing magazine hammock, just like Crafting a Greener World did here.
4. Umbrella and plastic bag Christmas tree
Do you really love it when your upcycled ideas actually look upcycled? We’re pretty big fans of the idea too! That’s why this plastic bag and umbrella frame Christmas tree idea from Makezine caught our eye right away. Try it out during a year where you won’t actually be around near the holidays enough to enjoy a proper Christmas tree, but you still want to mark the occasion and get into the spirit at least a little bit.
5. Hanging Halloween decor
If you hang the stripped metal frame of an umbrella upside down from the ceiling, you’ll notice that it kind of looks like a spooky, spindly chandelier frame… so that’s exactly what BHG turned it into! Add some little lanterns from your local crafting or dollar store and cover the whole thing in fake cobwebs. Bonus points for plastic spiders!
6. Spring flower door decor
Maybe the umbrella won’t stay open anymore but it still looks pristine and new on the outside? Use that to your advantage and make it into a decor piece! We really like this spring flower door hanger idea from BHG. It looks like you came in from a rainy spring morning walk with a handful of fresh, dewy flowers that very morning.
7. Umbrella circle skirt
Is the frame of your favourite brightly coloured umbrella broken but the material that covers it is fine? You don’t have to throw that pretty fabric out! Instead, use it to make yourself an awesomely cheerful circle skirt, just like this one from Burda Style.
8. Umbrella handle wall hanger
Perhaps your umbrella is in very rough shape after blowing out your hand and into the street and the only thing left that’s really worth salvaging is the hooked handle on the end? Well, that’s okay, because we’ve totally found a good project idea for that too! Das Roke Paket suggests detaching it and fastening it to a small wooden base (paint a wooden plaque from the dollar store), then hanging it on your wall to hang extra clothes from.
9. Umbrella play tent
Crafty Moods guides you through the process of using the metal umbrella frame and some of the fabric covering it to make an awesome hanging tent for your child’s play room or bedroom. Use it as a quiet, comfy space for reading or simply as a great spot for playing house!
Maybe you have one of those classic transparent plastic umbrellas and the top still works, but the handle broke off so that it’s annoying for you to hold in the wind? Then you’ve got what you need to make the perfect folding plant cloche. If the umbrella can’t protect you from the rain and wind anymore, at least it can protect your sprouts! Check out the details on Permaculture.
11. Lined rain hood
If you’re an avid sewing enthusiast who’s up for a big of a challenge, then transforming the fabric from your umbrella into a water resistant rain hood is a great project for you to tray! We love this idea from RecyclingZychal because it’s lined on the inside, so it’s still comfy to wear even though the outside is made from a slippery, swishy material.
12. Kids play parachute
Do you remember playing with those giant rainbow parachutes at school in gym class when you were a kid? Well, not you can recreate that experience in miniature for your kids to play with in the basement at home! How Does She shows you how to turn the fabric from your umbrella into a team toy that will keep your little ones and their friends busy for hours.
13. Small garments drying rack
Have you ever noticed how the empty frame of an umbrella looks like like those old vintage clothing lines that stood on patios in some 1970s back yards? That’s why Real Simple suggests using the top frame of your broken umbrella as a mini version of that drying rack, making it the perfect place for air drying small garments like socks and kids’ clothes.
14. Double umbrella spherical pendant light
Okay, so we’re pretty sure the original designer of this idea used matching umbrellas on purpose and didn’t just happen to have these ones sitting around by coincidence, but it’s still an awesome upcycling idea! Whether you also grab two new umbrellas just because you like the look or whether you use ones you already have, check out how it’s made on BHG.
15. Doggie rain coat
Even our furry friends need a little protection from the weather sometimes too, especially if it’s really pouring down outside! Instead of paying boutique prices on a rain coat for your dog, however, we suggest just upcycling the material from an old umbrella by sewing one yourself, just like Inhabitat did for this adorable pug!
Have you found other ways to reuse your old umbrellas but you don’t see any ideas like yours on our list? Tell us all about how you made yours in the comments section!