How can I reuse or recycle broken umbrellas?

UmbrellaAfter the post the other week about umbrella covers, it made me think about the umbrellas themselves.

I have repaired my current umbrella on a number of occasions whenever the cover become detached from the spikes but the fabric at the tips is getting weak now from its frequent visits from the sewing kit. I’ve also had to throw them away in the past because they’ve done that inverting in the wind thing, snapped a prong and refused to close properly from then on.

So any suggestions on how the mechanism or the (cute, strong, water-resistant) fabric could be reused? Any tips for fixing them would also be appreciated!

(Photo by neza)

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22 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle broken umbrellas?”


  1. Shila says:

    I would say that what you use it for would largely depend on your personality… I know that if it were me, I would use colorful umbrella fabric either to make a pillow (Most likely a circular pillow, using something in the middle to hide where the hole was, as well as a backing made out of fabric from the fabric store.)

    Also, if it’s a particularly large umbrella, you might try making it into a skirt! I don’t know if that’s your taste, but if it were me I would probably just look up a circle skirt pattern online (they’re everywhere!) and use the directions to measure and sew the waist line. Then if you want, buy lace or a cute, complimentary fabric to add extra length, if needed.

    Also, if you have children, this could be a fun play toy! I remember playing with a HUGE parachute in elementary, so kids might have fun playing with it by itself, or with strings attached for their dolls.

    Hope this helped!

  2. trish says:

    sew it into a drawstring bag, use it to carry things in a water resistant bag.

    put foam inside it and make pool toy floaties

  3. flamingo says:

    I once turned the fabric off an umbrella into a superhero cape for a little boy-
    Remove from the metal structure and fold in half inside-out to make a semi circle, then sew along the bottom- turn right side out and attach a simple “collar” and use either a button or press-stud to fasten at neck

    hours of fun!

  4. Barb says:

    I’ve got a cover waiting to be reused. I’ve thought of having it made (I don’t sew) into a “ditty bag” for wet cloth diapers. I think there’s even stuff I could spray on it to make it completely waterproof, but for a quick carry home, I think it would work pretty good. :D

  5. Ryan says:

    It looks like good fabric to make a kite with. All you’d need is your sewing kit, some wooden dowel rod and some kite string.

  6. Ryan says:

    It would make a very nice kite with just a wooden dowel a kite string and some sewing

  7. Andy says:

    The fabric and bright colours are ideal for making bunting for charity fund raising events

  8. Barney McWhiskers says:

    just buy new!

    its sooooooo cheap nowadays! pop in to primark! just £3 a go!

  9. pamela says:

    I saw broken umbrella frames used by a theatre troope, they knotted streamers to the frame, and they blew in the wind, they held it like a rain umbrella, but it was fanciful and lovely and attracted attention. This was a walking troope, on the street, attracting people to their performance.

  10. pamela says:

    I have a really big umbrella, that was used on my deck table/chairs, but got ratty and then some of the spokes broke. I bound it to a tree over my dog kennel, and made a nice rain/shade cover for my dog. I was able to bind the spokes to the fencing of the kennel, too, so i know it will not fail, and come down on her. It is small enough to give her kennel only partial shade, so she can choose sun/shade. It is not terribly sightly, but the kennel is in the back yard, anyway. Has lasted for years now.

  11. Mary says:

    Make a kite!
    http://www.homeofthesampler.com/howtos/rosetravale_umbrella.html
    Its easy, breezy, and…,well, beautiful! The tutorial is simple to follow… all you need are string, an umbrella, and a sewing machine! (and scissors and other basics) Hope i helped!!

  12. Bridget says:

    The bag idea is a good one, but the trick is to cut the opening at the centre top, and then sew the outside edges together. A small umbrella will need about 30 cm of tape sewn to the ends to make a strap long enough to go over the shoulder. A big umbrella only needs the ends sewn together. The bag is light, rolls down to nothing, is easy to carry and holds a h*ll of a lot.

  13. Bad Monkey says:

    If its large enough (golf umbrella) then the fabric can be used once cut down to make ideal frost cover for your car, and the handle and main stem can be used to make walking/hiking pole if sturdy enough once you remove the spokes and frame.

  14. Tanya says:

    Hi Make a circle skirt for your kids to wear to school over their uniform!! Elasticise the waist and it looks fantastic. All the kids want them and they learn to recycle.

  15. Taryn Zychal says:

    Hello! My name is Taryn Zychal and I am a designer working exclusively with broken umbrellas and their material. My company is called Recycling Zychal we are based out of Philly and our current line includes custom made to order broken umbrella dog rain coats and winter coats, modern day babushkas that I call the HOOD and Organic Cat Nip Filled Kitty Toys, but am launching the next phase of my line next month that will include products for mom, baby and more pet products!
    Be sure to check it out and if you would like to donate a broken umbrella to me, please message me. http://www.recyclingzychal.etsy.com
    Thank you! Hope this helps!

  16. Lauren says:

    I recently turned my broken umbrella into a waterproof drawstring purse.

    http://howtoreuseitcreatively.com/2010/02/15/how-to-reuse-an-umbrella-to-make-a-purse/

  17. Esther says:

    I took the fabric off of an old broken black umbrella and used it as a cage cover for my son’s extremely noisy parakeet.
    I’ve been using the fabric of an old Coca-Cola patio umbrella as a patio tablecloth. It’s just the right size for round patio tables, and the steel ring in the center is great for popping a “good” umbrella pole through it, for shade.

  18. Cathy says:

    I cut the fabric into different size circles, then gently/carefully melt the fabric round the edges of the circles. This stops any fraying and shapes the circles. Then sew them together in the centre and you have a flower- great for brooches , corsages or hair accessories

  19. Heather says:

    We have just stripped the fabric off the skeleton from a broken golfing umbrella and are using the frame to hang a net over to keep the naughty birds off our blackcurrants (which happen to be on a ‘standard’ bush – i.e. one grafted onto a hawthorn trunk so it looks like a small tree). Hanging a net directly over the bush means the birds might still get to the currants. Let’s hope it works well.

  20. MARY JEROME says:

    an other great idea for umbrella fabric is to line a cloth bag as this will

    keep the rain out. i have just dismantled an umbrella to do exactly that,

    as it was too pretty to throw away.

  21. Jen says:

    If your umbrella has eight spokes then you can make it into one very scary and huge Halloween spider!



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