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I was recently asked by a reader if it was possible to screen print on umbrellas. Of course, I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to try screen printing on a unique surface.
Umbrellas can be an easy upsell with your promotional products, a great add on to your shop, or just a fun way to show support for your favorite sports team.
At this point, you might be wondering how you can screen print on something without sleeves.
If you’ve followed me very long you know I will screen print on anything I can hold still long enough to get the job done. Don’t believe me, check out these cool projects (beach balls, flip flops, doormat, and so much more)
Let's go through some tips and tricks to screen print on an umbrella.
Getting Set Up
I found these basic umbrellas on Amazon. They come in a variety of colors.
Before you get started on this project, you need to spend a little time planning exactly how you will set up the umbrella in your craft space to get a successful print.
Screen printing requires a flat surface to get a clear, crisp design. Even though an umbrella is curved, it’s pretty simple to get a flat section to print on but you do want to make sure the wires of the umbrella don’t interfere with the area you are going to print on.
For this project, I used my screen printing press with my DIY pallet attachment to keep the umbrella parts out of the way and the print surface flat.
Screen Printing with Vinyl on an Umbrella
Once you have your umbrella set up, it’s time to print using my tried and true Screen Printing with Vinyl method. If you are new to screen printing or looking for some help mastering the basics, my Online Course for Beginners will have you printing like a pro in no time.
I like to use Speedball fabric ink for this type of project. The water-based ink soaks into a light color umbrella leaving a design that becomes part of the umbrella. Once the ink is heat set, it becomes permanent and will withstand even the biggest rain storm.
The biggest tip I can give you in this section is be sure to use a light color umbrella with a darker ink. Printing white or light color inks on a darker fabric can be frustrating so I recommend beginners start with a dark ink.
Heat Pressing a Delicate Material
Heat setting ink on a material as delicate as an umbrella can be a bit tricky, but is still a crucial step.
First, make sure your ink has air dried completely. For most of my projects I use a heat press or heat gun to dry the ink. You don’t want to do that here. Using a heat gun or any other high heat source can easily burn your umbrella if you’re not careful.
After the ink is completely dry, it’s time to set the ink. I placed a Cricut Easy Press mat on top of my screen printing pallet and put the umbrella on top of that. Alternatively, you could use an ironing board for this step.
I set my Easy Press mini on the middle setting (about 300 degrees) and heated for 20 seconds – moving the press over the design in a constant motion. I repeated this 4 time to ensure the design was heated long enough.
Want to hear more? Watch my YouTube Video about this Project
There you go. Screen printing on an umbrella. Follow these easy steps and you will be blocking the rain in style before you know it.
I would love to hear how your project turns out. Drop me a line in the comments and to let me know how it goes.
What if you’re working with a dark color like black. What ink would you recommend for this?