How are Umbrellas Made?

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

Published: January 21st, 2010

Updated: April 22nd, 2019

It's hard to imagine that an item that existed about 3,000 years is ago is still an item that we use today, but that's the case with the humble umbrella. Of course, things have changed a little since the umbrella's early days. People in the ancient civilizations of China and Egypt, for example, used to make their parasols with paper or papyrus; eventually, they began coating them with oils or wax to help them repel water. Innovative, but not exactly great for mass production!

Today, thanks largely to human curiosity and industry, we have a bunch of umbrella material to build with and decorate with custom logos. So let's take a look at what umbrellas are made of, including the golf umbrellas you'll find on the Quality Logo Products site, breaking them down piece by piece (but not literally breaking them, because we love a good high-quality umbrella here).

What Are the Parts of an Umbrella

Umbrellas have a variety of parts that help them function. These include:

  • Canopy
  • Shaft
  • Ribs
  • Stretchers
  • Runner
  • Handle

Canopy – The canopy is probably the most recognizable part of an umbrella. It's the dome-shaped fabric that comes in nearly any color you can imagine and opens to protect you from nature's occasionally cruel onslaughts. It's assembled from panels of fabric sewn together to make one beautiful whole piece of material that's often decorated using screen printing.

Research suggests that umbrellas in the 17th and 18th centuries were often made from silk or cotton treated with oils. Today, stretchy, durable nylon is the most popular choice of material for the canopy; umbrellas made for long-term outdoor exposure like patio umbrellas can incorporate other woven fabrics to become more durable. Whatever the material, it's usually treated with an acrylic coating on the underside and a Scotch Guard coating on top to make it weather-resistant.

Shaft – The shaft is the pole that extends through the center of the canopy to provide height and support. Traditionally, the shaft was made from wood, with the wood from rowan and other ash trees being a popular choice. In today's industrial age, however, we have many more materials we can use instead. Wood is still available for a classic look, but shoppers can also choose umbrellas with shafts made from materials like:

Aluminum (affordable, so it's great for a budget)

Steel (sturdy, so it's great for durability)

Fiberglass (lightweight, so it's great for supporting large canopies like those on golf umbrellas)


While you probably already know all about handles, it's still a rather important part of an umbrella. After all, what good is an umbrella if it's not comfortable to hold? Like the shaft, the handle can be made from many different materials. Plastic and rubber are commonly used because they can be molded to create a comfort grip. Wood handles are still available, though! You know, those J-shaped handles that make you want to grab an umbrella and take a walk through London in the rain.

Umbrellas have plenty of other parts. In fact, counting all of the little bits like the screws, the cap that sits on top of the shaft (which is usually plastic or metal, by the way), and all the other springs and things, it's estimated that an umbrella contains about 150 different components! Without a doubt, the umbrella is a complicated invention with one simple job: to protect people from the elements.

Actually, strike that, since a promotional umbrella has a second job – to open your brand up to new opportunities.

Everyone, sing with me now: the rib is connected to the stretcher, the stretcher’s connected to the runner... Who knew that even the most basic of umbrellas was a marvel of moving parts? Although these parts once were made entirely of natural materials, today’s umbrellas can be made from synthetic substances like nylon and fiberglass. With all of the choices available, it’s easy to find a customizable umbrella that’s as unique as a single snowflake – or any other kinds of precipitation your umbrella will shield you from!