Calligraphy Project Idea: Letter an Umbrella

Seriously, this was one of the coolest things I’ve done in a while.  I saw this beautiful huge umbrella and thought, what if I lettered it? So I set out to find out how I could do so.  In this tutorial I’ll show you how I did some fun calligraphy on an umbrella. Let’s dive in!

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

LETTERING AN UMBRELLA

Here is what I’ve used for this project:

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

SUPPLIES

Note: these may be affiliate links, which means if you happen to buy something, I’ll get a small commission at NO additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

SKETCH

There are so many possibilities for quotes – “Rain Rain, Go away,” “You are my sunshine,” and more, but for this I wanted to kind of take the approach that honors the necessity of rain and chose the quote, “No rain, no flowers.”  I did this rough sketch to see whereabouts I wanted the letters to hit.

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

Using these umbrella section lines, I used the same soft pencil to sketch some guidelines for the letters onto the umbrella itself.

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

LETTER

This is the tricky part! I used a medium sized flat brush to dip into the screen-print paint.  The folks at Michael’s seemed confident this is the paint I’d want – since it is used on shirts and other fabric, I figured it would give me the opacity I wanted. It’s super thick, so be careful.  Be sure your paintbrush is clean of any ink – it might transfer to the paint.

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

Go back and get the coverage and opacity you want right away, going one or two strokes at a time.  Because it’s so thick, you’ll want to get at it before it dries – it gets cakey before too long.

You’ll notice that you’ll get fuzzy edges due to the thickness, so I borrowed a page out of my husband’s book and pressed my flat brush down to edge the letters more solidly.

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

The letters took me about 2 hours to complete – and then I had to stay patient and let the paint dry overnight.

SEAL

Obviously we can’t let the paint run off at first rain, so upon recommendation I used the Mod Podge for fabric to seal the paint.  At first I thought I’d have to paint over the WHOLE umbrella but instead I just sealed immediately around the letters.

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

As you can see, I coated the letters just a centimeter or so around the letters.  It looks creamy but will dry clear – really push the Mod Podge into the umbrella to make sure it seals.  I found that I needed to use a completely pigment-free brush because it was dying my paint blue because it was the last thing I used.  So make sure it’s super clean!

ADD SOME FLOURISH

For fun, I took some of the Mod Podge and added some extra flair by adding rain drops all over the umbrella.  You could do sunshine, flowers, polka dots – whatever!

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

Now it’s the important lesson I learned – LET IT DRY! You need to let it completely dry for a few days in cool temperatures with the umbrella completely open.  The Mod Podge sticks to itself if you close the umbrella (which I found out in haste to show my in-laws my latest project!)

To reduce the stickiness, I sprayed the whole umbrella with the Krylon Matte Finishing spray. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space and can let it dry off to set.

Here’s the final product!

This tutorial walks through how to add calligraphy to an umbrella!

I’m a little afraid to take it out, but I certainly hope the sealing does its job!! I’ll report back on how it does!

What’s the most unique thing you’ve lettered? I’d love to give it a try!

Yours,

Jessica


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