How are Umbrellas Made?

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

Published: January 21st, 2010

Updated: June 22nd, 2019

The umbrella has a history of keeping us protected during rainy days and offering shade from the hot sun. This wouldn’t be possible, though, without its simple, yet effective design.

What are the different parts of the umbrella? How do they all come together? It’s time to learn more about how umbrellas are made!

What Are the Different Parts of an Umbrella?

Umbrellas are made from a variety of plastic, wood, or metal parts. Each one works together so the umbrella will function. The parts include:

  • Canopy
  • Shaft
  • Ribs
  • Runner
  • Stretchers
  • Springs
  • Handle
What Are the Different Parts of an Umbrella?
What Are the Different Parts of an Umbrella?
Canopy

Canopy

This is the dome-shaped fabric, usually nylon, that opens to protect you from the rain or sun. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and can be customized with a cool design.

Shaft

Shaft

The pole that connects the canopy to the handle is known as the shaft. It provides stability and height to your umbrella and can be made from:

  • - Aluminum (most affordable option)
  • - Steel (extremely durable)
  • - Fiberglass (extremely lightweight)
  • - Wood (adds a classy finish)
Ribs

Ribs

Not to be confused with your lunch, the ribs are the thin, flexible wires that run along the underside of the canopy. They help create the iconic arc shape of the umbrella.

Runner

Runner

You can adjust your umbrella’s height thanks to the runner. This is the plastic or metal ring that slides up and down the shaft.

Stretchers

Stretchers

The stretchers are the thick, hinged arms that connect the ribs to the runner.

Springs

Springs

The springs are what help lock the canopy in place. Without them, your umbrella wouldn’t stay open.

Handle

Handle

The handle is what you grip onto when using your umbrella. This can be hooked, straight, or carved into an intricate design.

Learn more about each part of the umbrella!

Did you know?

There is still a market for handcrafted umbrellas. Shops like James Smith & Sons or Ombrellia Maglia Francesco can be found all over Europe.

How is an Umbrella Made?

It takes attention to detail and fine craftsmanship to protect your head from the rain. Umbrellas are made by:

  • Step One: Preparing the materials and checking for any deficiencies.
  • Step Two: Sewing each fabric panel together to create the canopy.
  • Step Three: Creating the shaft, springs, handle, runner, and ribs.
  • Step Four: Inspecting each piece to make sure it’s the proper size and color.
  • Step Five: Attaching all the parts together like a giant puzzle.
  1. Step 1
    Step 1

    Preparing the Materials

    Before making the umbrella, the materials are inspected, prepared, and measured. The shaft and handle typically come from metal sheets or wooden planks, while the canopy is cut from fabric rolls, which are usually nylon.

  2. Step 2
    Step 2

    Creating the Canopy

    Each fabric panel is sewn together to make the canopy. This can be done either by hand or using mechanized sewing machines.

  3. Step 3
    Step 3

    Making Each Part

    An umbrella is just a giant piece of fabric without the ribs, stretchers, runner, shaft, and handle. These pieces are all created separately and then attached later to the umbrella.

  4. Step 4
    Step 4

    Quality Control

    During this stage, small tweaks are made to the design. For instance, the shaft might have to be trimmed down in order to ensure the handle fits properly, the handle might need to be stained, painted, or carved, and the canopy might get printed with a cool design.

  5. Step 5
    Step 5

    Attach the Pieces Together

    Once everything is at its proper size, color and overall look, each part is attached together like a giant puzzle. The umbrella’s now ready to go!

Did you know?

Chinese paper umbrellas, like the ones you see in souvenir shops, have a long, symbolic history. They are crafted by hand from bamboo and tree bark.

How Does an Umbrella Work?

How Does an Umbrella Work?

Each part of the umbrella is necessary in order for it to function. The runner moves up extending the stretchers, which in turn, push up against the ribs. This creates a force that fully extends the canopy, and with a locking mechanism, secures it in place.

Closing your umbrella works in the opposite way. You press the spring to free the locking mechanism. The runner will automatically move downward on the shaft, and you can move it all the way to the bottom. From there, roll up your umbrella and save it for another rainy day.

How Does an Umbrella Work?
Know Your Bottle

Why Are Umbrellas Important?

Umbrellas have been around for centuries, keeping us shaded from the hot sun or dry during downpours. They make it easier for you to commute to work, have a picnic in the park, or watch a baseball game when the weather takes an unexpected turn. The best part is they come in a variety of colors and styles, meaning you’ll always find one that fits your unique personality!

The Bottom Line

It may seem simple, but the umbrella is an ingenious invention. From the canopy to the handle, it’s constructed to make sure you’re always covered!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world’s first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC’s logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.

References

Scrmaker. (2017, May 24). A Guide to the Different Parts of an Umbrella. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from http://www.scrmaker.com/shopping/a-guide-to-the-different-parts-of-an-umbrella.html

How Products Are Made. (2019). Umbrella. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from http://www.madehow.com/Volume-1/Umbrella.html

The London Umbrella Seller. (2019). A Quick Look at How an Umbrella Works. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from http://thelondonumbrellaseller.com/a-quick-look-at-how-an-umbrella-works/

How Its Made. (2015, January 6). How Its Made – 444 Umbrellas. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2oCBLtU7AI

Owen, E. (2017, March 7). The Surprising Process Behind One of Your Favorite Souvenirs. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/offbeat/how-paper-umbrellas-are-made

Craddock, F. (2013, November 18). Keeping Alive the Art of Handcrafted Umbrellas. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/fashion/keeping-alive-the-art-of-handcrafted-umbrellas.html