Instructables

Recycle dead UMBRELLAS into great BAGS of all kinds

Picture of Recycle dead UMBRELLAS into great BAGS of all kinds
In this Instructable I will show you how to make use of all the dead umbrellas that lie around the city in wet windy weather.

I guess Instructablers are really green generally so you will like this way to recycle the dead umbrellas and at the same time have handy compact shopping bags so that you never need a plastic supermarket bag ever again. They roll up so small you can keep one in the pocket of each coat and handbag.

 
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
deadumbrellas.jpg
Obviously, you first need a broken umbrella that is beyond fixing.

These are very easily come by, especially in city centres in wet windy weather. In one week I gathered over 30 umbrellas on the 2 minute walk from my home to the station and the 10 minute walk from the station to my office in the city centre. I just helped myself to the umbrellas jammed into the public waste bins.

Here in Glasgow the small, telescopic umbrellas are popular and the majority of that type are black. I ended up with loads of them and, to avoid making a million small black boring bags, I used a lot of them either for lining some bags or for making handle strips. If you dont do that then you will need something to make handles or straps from: tape, bootlaces, string even.
davidkichi3 years ago
Good instructable! Wow, I had a similar idea a month ago so it's good to see that someone has already thought of it. I'm in San Francisco,CA and happen to see lots of discarded umbrellas on the street during rainy season. When I was younger I thought to myself if only someone who enjoyed hand sewing could find these tossed umbrellas on the street and super sew them so they wouldn't fall apart so easily to be resold again, there'd be less of these things ending up in the landfill. Here's a few of my suggestions for what else they can be turned into, hope nobody thinks I'm a nut.lol

Fabric:
Poncho or Windbreaker, Dust cover for furniture, bicycle or car if enough are collected, sunshade for a backyard, gift wrapping, shower curtain, laptop case if you add padding inside, seat cushions and pet beds for dogs/cats (use old pillows or stuffed animal plush's interiors for stuffing).

Handle:
Wooden ones as replacement handles/knobs for drawers, furniture feet, door stops, wind chimes, picture frame of some sort, fixtures on a wall to hold up a shelf, jacket hangers on wall, seat for a swing. Plastic hook ones could be made into the outer rim of a seat or attached to baskets for the purpose of hanging the whole thing onto something else.

Metal:
Perhaps a diy tv antenna, framework spine for a kite someone suggested, sculptural art.
Yes, good instructable and thank you for you ideas too... I'll probably make something with.
JennyD11 month ago

You could make a lamp stand from the struts: this site has one that is made out of recycled bits and pieces: http://www.therubbishdiet.org.uk/creative-make-new-from-old/

really nice idea!
roshamida2 years ago
thank you so much for this great idea.
I'm sure mother earth appreciate it more...
nsutaria4 years ago
What a great project! I fished four umbrellas out of the trash this afternoon and might turn some of them into bags. As for the struts...I agree with KD1UC - the struts can be used for kites made out of the umbrella fabric.
erosser4 years ago
 Ooooh, now I really want an ex-umbrella for a skirt!
Waterproof and semi-fasionable!  WIN!
karossii4 years ago
This must be a European thing... I have lived in 9 major US cities, and many more smaller cities, and never once have I seen a dead umbrella on the streets...
Jaelle5 years ago
Wow! I never would have thought old umbrellas can have another use...(though I've also seen then in the street in rainy days) Next winter i'll give it a try.
vicpoole5 years ago
OMG!!! How clever ar you guys who contribute - I would never have thought about using an old umbrella for anything!!! I'll never throw one away again!
greensteam (author)  vicpoole5 years ago
Once you start to notice them on your city streets, you will find they really stack up. I have loads in the house now and am at last starting to find uses for the handles and spines. Instructables to follow when our local maker fair is over, as I am organising it and it naturally takes a fair bit of leisure time to do.
these are great! Have you thought of selling them online, perhaps on Etsy or Folksy? Very good idea and top marks for recycling. I may have to follow your lead! Best wishes for 2009! Joey x
flirtykitty5 years ago
Brilliant! hehe I can see these in my future... Thanks!
wanwddx6 years ago
the umbrellas very good
Green Mom6 years ago
WE use them here to make rosaries. The strut is just the right size to help tie knots in the rosaries. I've been collecting them for years. Now I have a use for the skin, that I have built up! I sometimes make rain capes for little children with them, but this idea is more versatile.
lancmaltby6 years ago
I totally love this idea ! Thanks so give us this great instructable!!!
cajoberg6 years ago
I read on another site about adding a new cloth to the skeleton, adding christmas light and having a kind of lamp. The site used it for a garden but I was going to make one for my dorm.
kd1uc6 years ago
Cool idea, I am working on another "Green" tote idea myself. The other thing the skins can be made into are kites. There are plenty of plans out there and you might be able to use some of the struts as spars. Other than that or an ET Phone Home dish antenna I have no ideas right now. However, the metal is recyclable keeping along your green idea.
Patrik6 years ago
"I now have a lot of umbrella skeletons.The lengths and materials vary from steel to plastic to aluminium and some a long, some very short and jointed.

Anyone got any ideas for the struts?"

Hmm - those could make for some great insectile kinetic sculptures. The current robot contest is still open for submissions for more than a month!

Note that it wouldn't actually need to do anything useful - like walking - although that would definitely be a bonus. But just moving in an interesting fashion would be great. Look at some of nemomatic's work, for example:

Giant Squid kinetic sculpture from found materials
Giant Kinetic Robot sculpture from recycled and found materials

The umbrella hinge mechanism also reminds me a bit of Crabfu's little Swashbot...
greensteam (author)  Patrik6 years ago
Good ideas but I would ideally like to make something useful such as a robot to find where I left my mug of tea..... but I fear this is technically a bit beyond me.
CameronSS6 years ago
Very clever and innovative! I don't think I've ever seen an umbrella in the street, though. There isn't much walking in Topeka, and people just stay inside when it rains.
I've seen lots of "dead" umbrellas whenever I go to London and they are usually pretty disgusting looking, sticking out of rubbish bins - and I wouldn't want to touch them with a barge pole. However the theory is a good one. I seem to collect umbrellas, which always fail, so perhaps I can try turning one of my own cast off brollies into useful bags instead of tossing them in the dustbin - it's a thought!