Umbrella Decorations

Tara Dennis showed some quick and easy ways to dress up a market umbrella, so that outdoor entertaining in summer is just that bit more special and enjoyable.

Carnivale setting

For the first design, Tara made some decorative sashes. She measured the length of the umbrella arm (1580mm) and added a little extra so the sashes have some overhang. Next she measured up the fabric, marking where she would cut with some tailor’s chalk. She then cut out 8 pieces 1750mm long and 240mm wide (these measurements include 15mm seam allowances). (Note: if the fabric is patterned remember that the pattern will dictate which way you cut the fabric.) The 8 pieces were sewn together to make 4 long sashes, with a gap in the middle of each to thread over the top of the umbrella. The ends of the sashes were tapered into a triangular shape, for a stylish look. Finally the finished sashes were placed over the top of the umbrella and positioned along each arm. To stop the sashes blowing off, table weights were attached to the ends.

Summer seaside setting

Tara hot-glued some sea shells onto string at random intervals. She then attached the shell strings to the edges of the umbrella with stainless steel alligator clips. The shell strings and some beach-inspired accessories created a great summer look!

Night lights setting

Decorative fairy lights are a great way to jazz up a brolly for those evening gatherings. Wind the lights around each of the interior umbrella arms. Curl the power cord around the pole, plug it in and light up the summer night. (Safety tips: check that lights comply with safety regulations for outdoor use and keep transformers undercover and dry. If the cabling is too short don’t use extension cords – they are not suitable for outdoor use. Instead, get an electrician to install a covered/external powerpoint near the umbrella.)

Country marquee setting

A market umbrella is easily converted into a mini-marquee by sewing on some fabric panels. Measure between the umbrella arms to get the panel width, and from the arms to the ground for the length. Add 10mm seam allowances, as well as 150mm for sand pockets at the bottom of each panel. Tara used a floral chintzy fabric (Jade Rose) lined with raspberry sheer for her panels, which measured 1150mm x 2220mm each. She attached them to the umbrella with ties knotted around the arms.

Further information

Cost and availability
3 metre market umbrellas cost around $80 from hardware stores.

Carnivale setting:
Fabric from $2 per metre from fabric stores.
Glass and beaded tassel table weights, $29 for a set of 4. They are available from Appletree Designs, phone (02) 9967 8122.

Summer seaside setting:
70 metres of twine, around $3.50 from hardware stores.
Mixed bag of shells, $15 from homeware stores. Individual shells, from $3.95 each.
Stainless steel alligator clips, $1.60 each from marine supply stores.

Night lights setting:
Decorative fairy lights with 7 metres of lights, 10 metres of supply cord and transformer, from $69 at gift and homeware stores.

Country marquee setting:
Fabric, 120cm wide from $9.00 per metre from fabric stores.
Sheer fabric, 150cm wide from $8.00 per metre from fabric stores.
Sand, $3.80 per bag from hardware stores.