Instructables
umbrella_02.jpg
umbrella_11.jpg
I have been making parachutes from umbrellas for years. The nylon is from an old umbrella and is perfect for them. Now that I have kids I get to use their old ones to make new toys for me and them.

I made this Dora parachute for my daughter. The weight/passenger came from the handle of the umbrella. My four year-old is not big enough to throw high enough, but she does enjoy trying to catch it.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Skinning the umbrella

Picture of Skinning the umbrella
Start by cutting the fabric from the ribs of the broken umbrella. I use a box cutter or xacto to carefully the threads that the hold the material to the metal ribs. If you can salvage the tip leave them on, you can tie the strings to those.

Here are some that I have some saved up for a rainy day.

Step 3: Measuring the string

Picture of Measuring the string
Get some string, nylon cord works best. I use about 1 1/2 the radius of the umbrella. Don't cut yet. Keeping doubling until you have eight strands (depending on the number of seams of the umbrella).

Step 4: Tying it off

Picture of Tying it off
Tie one end into a knotted loop.

Step 5: Now cut

Picture of Now cut
Cut the end of the other end, leaving eight strands.

Step 7: Adding weight

Make sure the do the strings and order all around the umbrella. Then attach a good weight. Heavier than you think, it will help you throw it further and unroll in the air better.

Step 8: Packing the chute

Picture of Packing the chute
Gather the chute together.

Step 9: More packing

Picture of More packing
Fold over.

Step 10: Ready to launch

Picture of Ready to launch
Fold again, and wrap the strings around. Not too tight. It needs to unravel on the way down.
bwente (author) 2 years ago
Parachute update!

We had my daughter's birthday party last week. It was a Hunger Games theme and I was able to make a silver parachute for the party.


I had a broken umbrella I was saving for a rainy day. It was black and I painted it with silver spray paint. It lasted long enough for the party. I came up with a better weight for the payload. A couple of end caps and a scrap of PVC. They loved getting the gifts from the sponsors.
hungergames_parachute.jpghungergames_parachute_conta.jpg
TheMrCOOLguy211 months ago
Do you know what the desent rate is?
TheMrCOOLguy211 months ago
Very neat thank you
4cuckoo5 years ago
That is soooooooo cool!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://www.xs4all.nl/~pdj/chutfold.htm

I make a backpack similar to this one for all of my parachutes, and I use a mini parachute to pull on the static line once the parachute begins to fall. I also use this backpack for similar inventions.
Kaiven6 years ago
Umm... my umbrella has been broken for a while, and rusted, and i wonder if I can use it even though there are holes where the joints were. And when I take out the handle, there will be a hole in the top. Is this a problem? Should i sew a patch over it? if so, I can.
Mattrox Kaiven5 years ago
The hole will help to keep the parachute stable. I have actually made the holes bigger with a diameter of maybe an inch and they are very stable.
bwente (author)  Kaiven6 years ago
I had a hole in the center of some of my umbrella skins (they a had a fancy point for the shaft). Didn't make any difference that I could tell. They have a lot of surface area.
the holes will benefit it. Real parachutes need a central hole to let the air escape, otherwise too much air is caught and the load will begin to pendulum swing side to side as air escapes from the sides of the parachute. Ultimately it can cause a complete canopy collapse! Keep the holes for a nice stable flight.
google search gives more scientific explanation:
http://www.seed.slb.com/qa2/FAQView.cfm?ID=346
Bigdawg6 years ago
This is an awesome idea. I was looking to make some parachutes with my sons but online instructions for making the canopies are complicated.

Now, in order to make them even more fun, time to rig a launcher. I'm thinking a large slingshot type launcher and a golf umbrella 'chute with a significant weight for some serious air time!

Nice instructable, thanks!
bwente (author)  Bigdawg6 years ago
The umbrella material is pretty durable. I made plastics one, but they tore. Or I would use tape to attach the strings and would slip. The nylon does make them a bit heavier, but I bet not much of a problem with a launcher.
Mattrox bwente5 years ago
I used cotton string in my experience it works quit well
toogers bwente6 years ago
to launch really high,use a spud gun.
I used my spud gun and it went like 300 feet high and landed perfectly, thanks so much
bwente (author)  tommycorbin1236 years ago
Any details? What did you use for a weight? I still want to make an air cannon. Did you wrap the string around the parachute? One time when I was throwing mine it got tangled in the string and did not open, came close to hitting a kid in the head.
Mattrox bwente5 years ago
I have made some of these recently except I used fishing sinkers and a .9 kg weight, made drone shoots(They work much better than streamers).
i tryed what he said... you dont fold it you roll the bag and put it in weights last -- i used 5 washers
coolness. Mines made fom THE DOG(tm) toy and straws and a bag !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ernestoaug6 years ago
legal
pyroman506 years ago
you could just make the string longer and attach a handle and use it to pull you on a skate board
Wow, what a neat idea! Maybe you could make an Instructables Robot toy figure or something, and add it to an orange and white umbrella, that would be awesome! Great job, +1 rating. (added to favorites)
pyrocop16 years ago
What a great idea, I might have my son try this, for his rocket for 4-H this year. Anyway little tip I learned from rockets. If the weight is twisting up the string add a large fishing swivel prior to the weight. Then if it turns no string twist . In the pic you see a nose cone for a rocket with the swivel attached to the string.
swivel.jpg
fishhead4556 years ago
FLATULATIONS-- Amazingly I JUST took apart a dollar-store umbrella to make a parachute to fire from my potato gun. I was going to "wing" it...trying this and that. And then your "ible" came to light. Thanks for being right on time and causing me to miss not a step. Funny how life works when you don't needlessly squash bugs. 5 starz.
bwente (author)  fishhead4556 years ago
Synchronicity at work! I took the photos awhile back and was waiting to make my own launcher and release them together. Never got around to making the pvc launcher and decided I might as well post the parachute.
inquisitive6 years ago
Shweet! I will have to do this for my friends kids that are outgrowing their umbrellas!
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Cool! I used to make little ones, but nothing like these.