Project 22 Week 24 – Cocktail Umbrella Pendant Lantern

I have to say, I’ve been thinking about making this light for ages!  I love the concept, which is so simple and yet so much fun.  Oh, and if you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m kind of a sucker for anything bright and colorful!

So I actually made this project a few weeks ago, but I had wanted to make a second larger one before posting.  But of course one thing leads to another and other projects kept getting in the way, so I decided I had better post this project as is and I’ll just post an update once I get my act together.

The problem was, I used to have a whole stash of cocktail umbrellas but at some point between college and grad school and my parents moving they got lost.  So when I finally decided to make this light, I had to purchase new cocktail umbrellas.  Which are nice and cheap, but I was lazy and ordered mine from instead of trekking down to Chinatown and looking for them in person.  So when they arrived, they were jumbo cocktail umbrellas, and I think they are too large for the 12″ paper lantern I used as a base and I’m not super thrilled with the end result.

However, the concept is the important part, my first attempt had a lot of trial and error anyway so I knew I’d be making another version at some point.

So, the things I learned.  One of course, use a larger lantern.  Two, when I first started I thought I needed to Mod Podge over the umbrellas to get them to lay flat.  But I quickly learned that this step was unnecessary and just made the whole thing a goopy mess.  So I stopped after the first few umbrellas, but now there’s a shiny patch on my lantern.

I also wasn’t quite sure how to secure the umbrellas to the lantern.  I ended up cutting off most of the stick part, leaving approximately 1″ below the umbrella.  I ended up punching a small hole in the lantern, applying a dab of hot glue, and then pushing the stick through the glue and the hole.  Two things went wrong with this.  First, for extra strength I had applied a layer of Mod Podge to the whole lantern before starting.  Well I found this just made it more difficult to punch the holes through with my sticks.  But second, the glue didn’t really end up attaching to the stick, it really just attached to the little white stumpy part that pushes the umbrella up and down.  So, if I had removed the stick all together I could have just glued that white part directly to the lantern and not had to deal with the punch of holes in the first place.

One thing I thought did go right was that the umbrellas I chose came in packs of 5 colors, instead of just 4.  I think having 5 colors was important because it allowed for greater variety and it also guaranteed that I never had two umbrellas of the same color next to each other.  If you can find umbrella packs with even more colors, I think that would be even better.

I also wonder, if I found some smaller umbrellas, would it look cool with a selection of two different sized umbrellas on one lantern?  Or would that just look weird and wonky? I guess I can cross that bridge when I come to it, if I find some smaller umbrellas.

So, that’s really all there is to it, its a pretty simple project with a fun result, even if it didn’t turn out quite as I had envisioned.  I can totally see a set of these in a Tiki bar, or at a Hawaiian themed party.  Where do you see it fitting in?  Whose running out to make their own?  Hit up the comments section below!

Ciao, I’ll back tomorrow (hopefully if I get my photos taken) with a fun little side project I’ve recently cooked up.  Allison

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4 Responses to Project 22 Week 24 – Cocktail Umbrella Pendant Lantern

  1. Serena says:

    Love this idea. Looking at the photos, I couldn’t tell you had problems with it. It will be interesting, though, when you do this a second time, to see what kinks you are able to work out. Keep us posted :0)

  2. This is always my problem, I’m way too critical of my own work! I’m glad you liked it, I guess I had an idea in my head and when it didn’t look exactly like my idea I got frustrated. I still definitely want to try a larger lantern, but its nice to know this size works too.

  3. Jesse says:

    Adorable! This is SO awesome. So, I had an idea to do this very same project many years ago, and I NEVER did it….. I always wondered how it would come out, and it’s fantastic! Beautiful work! So many ideas and variations can blossom off of this too… I had some ideas of trying to do them 3-D ish, so i’d secure the toothpick of the parasol onto the ball rather than the parasol itself…. overlapping them so the highest is in the middle, etc.. I don’t know how to explain. I love all your ideas!

  4. Pingback: DIY Pendant Light Ideas- The Idea Sponge

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