How to Paint a Market Umbrella
Have you ever seen those neat market or beach umbrellas that are hand painted? I have seen them at art & wine festivals in North Lake Tahoe where a lady paints them and sells them. I have always admired her work but it never quite fit into our budget. The only other place I have seen them is on line, and they are super pricey there as well. I’ve seen them sold anywhere from $175 to over $600. So, I kind of tucked the whole idea away in the back of my head and that’s where it’s been for the last 25 years or so.
This year for Father’s Day I hand painted a market umbrella for my Dad because he has been wanting to put an umbrella on the porch of his cabin at Lake Tahoe. My mom purchased the umbrella from Amazon and had it shipped to my home so I could get the painting started. As soon as I took the umbrella out of the box my stress level went up. It’s such a nice quality umbrella, and the handle that raises and lowers the umbrella turns so smoothly. I figured she must have paid at least $300 for it. Not that I’m an expert on pricing umbrellas, but I could tell it was nicer than what I would find down at Home Depot. My first thought was “Crap, I better not mess this up.” My second thought was “Yikes, that’s one giant canvas!” .
The umbrella I worked with is manufactured by Abba Patio®. I like it enough that I am now selling it in my ShamaMama.com Shop via Amazon. Here’s a link if you are interested in learning more about the umbrella: https://shamamama.com/shop/ But you could also turn an old faded umbrella into a new and beautiful work of art! I love any kind of up-cycled project!
Because the umbrella will be used outdoors in strong sunlight, will be hit with tree sap, and it will see a few thunder storms each year, I wanted to be sure I used a super strong paint. I chose to use outdoor oil based paint. I have a mish-mash of different cans but they worked. I had used these paints on outdoor furniture in the past. The colors I used in this project are: brown, green, blue, red, yellow, clear glow-in-the dark, and white.
I was able to mix colors, although it was not like working with a typical oil or acrylic medium. The outdoor paint is much runnier than what I am used to but I was able to get the hang of it. There’re probably other paint products on the market that would be better to work with than this, but it’s what I had on hand.
My thought was to keep the overall painting on the umbrella fairly simple. I had looked online for some ideas and inspiration and much of what I saw looked very heavy and hectic. I was looking for calm and light. So I started with a basic border of branches, then I added some pinecones here and there.
I traced a pinecone photo onto a piece of paper which I then cut up to make a stencil. It worked, but the stencil got soggier and soggier as I went along. If I knew then what I know now, I would have purchased a plastic stencil, or I would have hand painted each individual pinecone.
Next I painted on pine needles by mixing green, yellow and white. After the needles were on, I penciled in some little critters. You can see a light sketch of a chipmunk on the branch.
I painted in some birds, bugs and chipmunks. In addition to the paint I mentioned above, I used some paint pens to ad details to the critters. I used Uni Paint Pens that we happened to have on hand because my daughter is painting a surfboard with them. The worked really well on the umbrella. You can also find these markers in my ShamaMama Shop.
If you look closely at the top/center of the umbrella, you can see some clear polka dots. I painted these dots using glow-in-the-dark paint. At night, the paint glows and looks like stars. I even painted a couple of shooting stars in there for good luck!
My husband, Dave gets all the credit for coming up with the glow-in-the –dark star idea!
And here is the final piece!!
My Dad was very happy with the gift, and I know the whole family will enjoy the added art and shade throughout future summers.
Namaste — Karen