Chances are, your large patio umbrella won’t last forever. I discovered an easy way to refresh a worn-out outdoor umbrella: painting it. Check out how I did it so you can do it too!
*This content was updated in 2020. This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure policy here.*
Refresh A Faded Outdoor Umbrella
I’ve got this old friend who’s down on his luck.
I guess I’m using the term “friend” loosely here. That’s my friend in the picture above. My patio umbrella. And, I have to say, we’ve been through a lot together.
I bought this guy for my first apartment, back in college. No longer a freshman confined to a dorm, I was a mature sophomore. Moving on and moving up!
I moved up into a real person, adult-like apartment, with three of my friends from high school, and we NEEDED this guy.
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Admittedly, my definition of both “friend” and “need” are perhaps a bit skewed. College-aged dudes would probably use “need” to refer to things like ramen noodles and shot glasses. But I’m no dude.
We, college women, need things like fun shoes (fun = as uncomfortable as possible), salad dressing, mascara, and large patio umbrellas.
I figured out a sneaky way to use campus dining dollars at Pier One Imports (true story.) So our fabric friend here came to college with us.
Then it became this large outdoor umbrella and us… fun times were had by all.
But alas, just like college, all good things must come to an end, right? Fast forward a few years and perhaps our patio umbrella’s best times were now behind him.
I mean, see how faded he is?
DIY Outdoor Umbrella Painting
Was I ready to toss in the proverbial towel? No way! I wasn’t giving up on my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.
Because just like Rihanna sings…
When the sun shines we’ll shine together.
Told you I’d be here forever.
Said I’ll always be a friend,
Took an oath I’m gonna stick it out till the end.
So we’re sticking this out and giving this guy a second chance.
We’re gonna dye him.
In the essence of time, I’ll make this particular long story quite short.
Dyeing didn’t work. Don’t waste your time if you were thinking that could be a good option for your outdoor umbrella. Trust me on this one.
After about $40 worth of different dyes, and several days of trying alternative dyeing methods, all I was left with was the same, faded, banged up umbrella I had before, plus several newly, unintentionally dyed garments.
Whoops, a daisy. Luckily, I don’t just believe in second chances, I believe in third chances, too!
We’re gonna switch gears from dyeing to painting my large patio umbrella.
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Okay, back to the umbrella! Here’s what you’ll need to tackle this umbrella painting project…
Outdoor Umbrella Painting Supplies:
- Banged up patio umbrella
- Latex exterior (we used a porch/patio type) paint – I needed 1 quart
- Fabric additive (if you’re concerned about stiffness, you can add this to your paint)
- Outdoor fabric paint (can be used in lieu of outdoor latex. It’s more expensive, but won’t leave the umbrella as stiff)
- Foam craft brushes (2 or 3)…we found these to work best in combo w/ the foam roller
- Foam paint roller and tray
- Fabric medium (if you wanna get fancy…I didn’t)
Large Patio Umbrella Painting How-To:
1.) Clean Your Umbrella
Sooo…this is what I would tell other people to do if they were trying this project for themselves.
Me? I just dusted the umbrella off with a wet cloth, and that was all she wrote. Clean (enough). Moving on.
2.) Mix In Some Fabric Paint Medium
If you really want to preserve that fabric-y quality of your umbrella, then this is the point you’d want to add the fabric additive to your paint.
This product will help the fabric stay more flexible. My umbrella was already made of fairly stiff canvas (or some other fairly rigid, thick fabric), and I had already way overspent on this project due to Plan A not working out.
So I bagged this step.
3.) Paint Your Umbrella
It’s umbrella painting time! Go ahead, and get wild. Slap that paint all over the umbrella, inside and out.
I rolled most of the umbrella and then used a cheap, foam brush to put extra paint around the edges of the umbrella.
Chances are, you will need a couple of coats of paint to get a good, even covering of paint on your outdoor umbrella.
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We definitely needed 2 coats.
Then, I spot checked the umbrella with a bit more paint wherever it needed it. Just like the magic of makeup which can take off the appearance of ten years (ok, maybe two), good ol’ paint has this guy lookin’ like his college-aged self again.
Young, vibrant, and full of life is that painted umbrella, right?
Sure wish I could find a similar trick for me!
Our old friend now fits perfectly into our newish DIY outdoor living space.
The only real difference being nowadays, instead of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Zima, and Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, we’re drinking slightly more sophisticated adult beverages underneath his lovely canopy.
Come on over, friends! We’ll have a little uber mature vino, talk about the good ol’ days, and you can stand under my old, new again umbrella, ella, ella ,eh eh eh…
Like the home state pillows? Want an umbrella without the painting pain or a bistro set that’s not so banged up? Shop our outdoor space here:
Links below to items purchased, or similar products if an exact match is no longer available.
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