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10 alternative uses for an umbrella

You may have been tricked into thinking that umbrellas only have a single use, to be used only to protect you from the rain. However, you might be surprised to find that umbrellas can actually be used for many other things, some of them may be a little strange, but you might find that they form inspiration for your next creative challenge. Through history they have been used in many different ways, from dance props in Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ dance video, to a shaded canopy art exhibition in Portugal, so why not try your own interesting and alternative uses for an umbrella with these ten creative ideas.

1. Decorations

Whether you are looking to decorate the venue for a big event such as a wedding, or an artistic room in your home, umbrellas make for wonderful, quirky decorations. Hung from the ceiling, these have a dramatic effect, which looks simply stunning. Take your pick from a range of colourful umbrellas, a range of clear dome umbrellas or a simple classic black umbrella display; each of these will create a very different effect, so what you pick will very much be determined by your theme or personal preferences.

2. Sun shield

If you know anything about the history of the brolly, you will know that originally they were used to protect people from the sun. Shielding fragile skin from the powerful rays and avoiding the heartbreak of sunburn. This is still a surprisingly common use for umbrellas, people often dig out their black umbrellas in the summer to act as a barrier, and this also helps them to keep cool as the colour black absorbs the heat and keeps you cool underneath!

3. Creative hanging device

If you hang your umbrella the right way up from the ceiling, you can utilise the frame supports to hang your clothes to dry! Secure the items you wish to dry with pegs to the underside and hang the umbrella somewhere warm, such as above the radiator; your clothes with dry in no time! During the winter it can be difficult to find enough areas to dry your clothes, so this is a handy solution that simply folds away when you are finished.

4. Make a kite

If your umbrella has been flipped inside out and can no longer be used for its intended purpose, why not reform it into a kite? The material that umbrellas are made from is simply perfect to make a kite, choose any shape you like and then you can either use wooden rods to reinforce the shape, or use the wire framework of the umbrella itself. Don’t forget to attach a ball of string and a handle though! This is a great winter activity for the kids, particularly as it tends to be a little windier, so they are likely to have many opportunities to try out their handmade kites!

5. Plant cover

Some plants do not fare well in the heavy rain and need a little extra protection to survive the winter months. So why not offer them your umbrella? By firmly pressing the umbrella handle into the soil, (being careful not to disrupt the roots) this can act as a plant stake if you attach the stem and the umbrella handle together with some garden twine. This will hold the stem strong and give the plant some much-needed cover from the rain to avoid the roots from drowning.

6. Child’s poncho

Another use for a broken umbrella is to create a children’s poncho; whether you use this as a rain cover or painting apron, the kids will love it and you can make the best of a bad situation! The material is obviously waterproof, so this can protect the kids from any accidents that might ruin their clothing!

7. Party games

Think hungry hippos with an umbrella twist, this is a great kids party game, which can also be fun for adults! Equip each player with their own umbrella, then drop a heap of plastic balls from a height, the kids have to collect as many balls as they can as they fall from the sky, using the brolly as a basket. Whoever is the most successful in their umbrella basket wins!

8. Children’s mobile

An umbrella could make a beautiful children’s mobile to be hung above a crib; the material of the brolly will disperse the light in a soft manner around the room making for a lovely serene atmosphere. On each umbrella point you can attach a hanging ornament (child-friendly of course) and hang the umbrella mobile from a string so that it gently sways above the crib, this could form hours of entertainment that can be modified at any time!

9. Plant pot

If you have a good, strong umbrella, (we think golf umbrellas are the best option for this) then you can create your own innovative plant pot! Secure the point of the umbrella in the ground while the canopy is half open; the point should be at least 10cm below ground level, and then fill it ¾ of the way with soil. Plant whatever you fancy and watch them blossom! You might want to pierce a few holes in the canopy nearer the tip of the umbrella so that the plants have the opportunity to drain.

10. Lampshade

As mentioned before, umbrellas have been used to shield us from light for many, many years; however, we’ve seen some incredible displays where an umbrella canopy has been transformed into a light shade! By removing the handle (but not the framework) and inserting the light bulb through the hole in the centre of the canopy, you can create a light shade that is perfectly unique! You will be proud of your homemade efforts, and this will create a centrepiece to your room without disrupting any space!

Let us know if you think of any other creative uses for your umbrellas, or if you’ve managed to create anything spectacular in the past, we’d love to see even more of these alternative umbrella uses!


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