How to Make a Paper Umbrella

Cocktail umbrellas are a great way to bring a tropical theme to any drink. They can be find, but luckily, they are easy to make. While they won’t open and close like the store-bought umbrellas, you will be able to choose the exact color and pattern you want.

1. Choose colorful paper for your umbrella.

Patterned scrapbooking paper is a great choice for this, but you can also use cardstock, construction paper, or even wrapping paper. Another option is to print the templates included at the end of this tutorial.

  • Tissue paper may work with this method, but only if you add the toothpick spokes.

2. Trace a 3 in (7.6 cm) circle onto the back of the paper.

The circle doesn’t have to be exactly this size; 3 inches (7.6 cm) is simply the most common size. Use a coaster or glass to make the circle nice and neat.

  • Use a pencil to trace the circle so that you can erase the marks later.

3. Cut the circle out with scissors.

You can also use a craft blade if you are careful. Alternatively, you can use scissors with a scalloped edge to cut the circle out. This will give you a fancier edge.

  • If you use scissors with a scalloped edge, you won’t have to cut scallops later on. Keep in mind that these scallops won’t match up with the creases you’ll add later.

4. Fold the circle into eighths.

Rather than folding the circle all at once, make each crease separately. Fold the circle in half vertically, then unfold it. Next, fold the circle in half horizontally, then unfold it. Keep folding and unfolding until you have 8 segments.

  • Make all of the folds on the same side. If your paper is blank on 1 side, make the folds on the blank side.
  • Run your fingernail across each fold to make the crease nice and sharp.

5. Cut a scalloped edge into the circle.

Fold the circle into eighths using the original creases as a guide. Once you have a skinny triangle, cut a semi-oval or semi-almond shape into the curved edge. Unfold the circle to reveal a scalloped edge.

  • If you used scalloping shears earlier, then you don’t have to do this.

6. Cut a slit along 1 of the creases towards the middle of the circle.

The slit needs to go from the outer edge of the circle all the way to the middle. Use 1 of the creases as a guide.

  • You should use a regular pair of scissors for this, even if you used a scalloped pair in the previous step.

7. Overlap the cut edges, then secure them with tape or glue.

Cover the top of the left segment with glue or a piece of double-sided tape. Overlap the right segment onto it, then press it down. Make sure that the cut edges of both segments align with the adjacent creases.

  • Your umbrella will have 7 segments after this.
  • You can use tacky glue or a glue stick for this. If you are using tissue paper, however, a glue stick will work the best.

8. Cut toothpicks into spokes, then glue them to the umbrella, if desired.

Cut both ends off of 8 toothpicks until they are a little longer than the radius of the umbrella. Glue the toothpicks to the creases on the underside of the umbrella.

  • The ends of the toothpicks should stick out from under the umbrella, just like real umbrella spokes.
  • Use tacky glue or super glue for this. Hot glue is too thick.

9. Glue a toothpick or skewer to the middle of the umbrella.

Cut the tip off of a toothpick or skewer until you get the length you want. Flip the umbrella over, then place a drop of hot glue or tacky glue into the middle. Press the cut end of your toothpick or skewer into the glue.

  • If you did not add the wooden spokes, you can just poke the toothpick or skewer through the paper.
  • If you used tacky glue, stand the umbrella upright and stick it into a ball of clay or poster putty until it dries.