Whether a considerable number of umbrellas have passed your hands, or you’re not willing to say goodbye yet to a trusty one, it’s time to learn some skills on how to fix an umbrella. Doing so is not only cost-effective but eco-friendly as well. And in case of an emergency, such as an umbrella apocalypse, you won’t be left without one!
At any given time, your umbrella may suffer damages from various elements even your hands. Rough handling, high winds, and normal wear and tear are a good old umbrella’s enemies. But you do not have to worry much for we’ll show you how to repair an umbrella’s different parts.
How to Fix an Umbrella?
Here are a couple of common problems a regularly used umbrella may suffer from:
A Rip or Hole in the Canopy
One of the parts of the umbrella that can suffer damages is the canopy or its arched top. Whether it’s a hole or a rip, you might want to hold off that trip to the bin as such damage is perfectly easy to repair. Just some sewing and patching skills and your umbrella gets a second life!
- Needle and thread solution
Step 1: If it’s just a small rip, then stitch it closed. Sew using a needle and a nylon thread. Stitch from the inside.
Step 2: If it’s a hole, then use a patch of fabric and sew it in. Find a Nylon fabric that matches the color of your umbrella’s canopy closely. Again, use a waterproof Nylon thread in stitching the patch to the umbrella.
- No-sew solution
Step 1: Get a patching kit. If the canopy of your umbrella is made of plastic, then this is your best recourse. Nylon adhesive repair patches can come in a range of colors, including black, red, pink, green, blue, and yellow. Find one that matches your canopy’s color closely. Or, if you’re struck with creative inspiration, find one that nicely contrasts your umbrella or one that you can cut shapes into to make the repair a “part of the design.”
Cut the size of the patch that you will need to cover the rip or hole. Don’t cut too small. The bigger area it covers around the edges of the hole or rip, the better.
Step 2: Clean the area. Dab a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol on the area that will be covered by the patch.
Step 3: Apply the patch from the outside. Peel the backing of the patch. Then stick it onto the outer surface of your canopy, not on the inside.
The ribs or the thin spokes giving shape to the canopy of your umbrella are among the most common and difficult parts to repair. A strong wind, rash opening or closing, or rust can snap these slender pieces. Nevertheless, if you have the patience for fixing a broken rib, then great for you because it can be done!
Step 1: Get a piece of enameled copper wire around 6 inches and a pair of scissors. Enameled copper wire comes in varying thickness. Find the right size that allows you to thread it through and wrap it around the rivets. Make sure it isn’t too thin either. You want something that can hold the pieces together.
Step 2: Open your umbrella halfway. This position allows you to line the small holes on either side of the broken ribs comfortably.
Step 3: Thread the wire through the holes and bind the whole length of the strand around the rivets. With the holes lined up, get the piece of enameled copper wire through it. Center the wire and thread through the hole as many times as can fit the hole or as your hands can manage to make. Then tie the two ends or twist them together.
Step 4: Cut off extra wire. Clip off any excess wire with your scissors.
Although not as common as the other types of damages an umbrella may incur, a broken stem is something you can attempt to repair on your own. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Clean the handle and stem of your umbrella. For an ensured good bond, remove dust, oil, and dirt on the surfaces to be joined. Use a washcloth with warm water to do this. Then allow them to completely dry.
Step 2a: Glue them back together using the right adhesive. Are you working with metal, plastic, or wood? Find the right adhesive for the material you’re working with. Apply the adhesive and line up the broken pieces together. Different types of adhesive come with specific instructions; make sure to follow what comes with yours.
After the first layer of adhesive has dried, apply a layer around the pole to strengthen the connection. Additionally, wrap a wire around the stem for reinforcement and tuck the wire underneath the wrapped wire and clip off excess wire.
This method is especially helpful if you are working with a stem and handle disconnection.
Step 2b: If you are working with a broken stem, then you can use a dowel rod to put the broken pieces together. If you have a hollow pole, then you can drill small holes through the pole on each side of the break as well as on the dowel rod. Put the dowel rod in the hollow of the pole, aligning the drill holes of the dowel rod and the pole.
Use a wire or a screw to fasten them together.
Missing Plastic End
Now, if you’ve lost that plastic cap at the end of every rib, then you can improvise with only a glue stick and a cutter.
Step 1: Cut a piece of the glue stick. Measure the length of a remaining plastic cap. Slice a piece that matches the length.
Step 2: Shape one side for a beveled or rounded edge. With a cutter, cut the sides of the bottom part of the glue stick.
Step 3: Refine the edge with heat. Light a candle. Impale the shaped piece on a needle with the shaved part on top, or use pliers to hold the piece. Then, place it near the heat source, allowing you to soften it and refine its shape. Be careful not to get too close as this will melt the glue stick, and you’ll have to start again from the top.
Step 4: Drill a hole through the improvised cap. Using pliers, hold a small nail up against the flame. Use the heated nail to put a hole through the sides of the cap. Compare it to the other caps; this hole is where the stitch goes. Then pierce a hole from the flat side. This one doesn’t go through the other side. This hole is where you plant the rib of the umbrella.
Step 5: Put it in place. When you’re done making your improvised end cap, connect it to the rib with the missing piece. Then, stitch it in place.
There you have it! Your guide on how to fix an umbrella, from the canopy down to the stem. With a little know-how and effort, you can save another umbrella from ending up in the landfill. Not to mention, doing so will save you a trip to the umbrella section or repair shop and some money.
And if you are feeling more confident about repairing your umbrella, why not save a few parts of a nonredeemable piece? That can save the life of your future umbrellas and reduce the need for improvisation as well. Good luck!