Broken Umbrella Tote Bag DIY idea

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Sooo what to do with your broken umbrella? How DO you recycle a broken umbrella.. how about making some Umbrella Tote Bags? I am always looking for clever upcycles and “reuses” of things people “no longer want”. Afterall the mantra goes “reduce”, then “reuse” and only finally “recycle”…. reusing something first is a far more important step to support your sustainability efforts this Earth Day. So here is a great ideas to reuse a broken umbrella from a fantastic upcycle Lee! Who kindly shares his photos and basic steps for sewing umbrella tote bags!

What can I do with a broken umbrella? Make a bag!

recycled umbrella bags diy

I think these umbrella tote bags make a fantastic sewing project for teens or tweens learning to use a sewing machine! Tote bags are relatively easy to sew (we have made shirt tote bags before, using the simple pattern by the charity organisation Morsbags). The bags are pretty simple – only requiring straight lines, but introducting sewing hems and simple seams. Perfect for that teen learning to sew!

I think these umbrella bags would be great for a school sustainability fair or enterprising project. Students can make these bags with virtually no cost and sell them for a good profit. They can also learn about recycling different parts of the umbrella – by taking it apart, you are allowing the recycling facilities to do their job more effectively and avoid the umbrellas landing in landfill!

A fantastic Earth Day activity for older students!

Supplies needed to make recycled umbrella bags:

  • Broken umbrella (ask your local community for donations)
  • Scissors/ wire cutters (to dismantle the umbrella, as well as shape the fabric)
  • Sewing machine (you could handsew, but a sewing machine is best for this)
  • Pins

How to make an Umbrella Tote Bag

how to make an umbrella tote bag

Remove and clean the umbrella fabric

Begin by cutting out the metal frame first. If you are using wire cutters, please only do so under adult supervision.

Try and keep the umbrella fabric as intact as possible. It will be easier to cute the wire spokes, than it would be to unassemble the fabric. That said, some umbrella upcycle patterns will encourage you to take apart the individual umbrella panels and resew them to get a “better” rectangle shape to work with later. It really depends on the condition of the fabric of the umbrella you are recycling. The simplest version encourages you to keep the original fabric in tact.

Wash (on low heat/ cold wash) the umbrella fabric if necessary.

Shape the Umbrella fabric into a square

Usually you can just cut the edges off the umberella fabric to create a square. Keep the cut offs for the tote bag straps.

If your umbrella has a one way up picture, you have to cut down the middle and resew so that the picture is right way up. As mentioned you can also take the panels apart and resew them to make more of your fabric. But it will really depend on the umbrella fabric size, the pattern as well as the condition of the umbrella fabric!

how to make a recycled bag from a shirt

Use a basic tote bag sewing pattern to make your umbrella fabric tote! You can use this fantastic basic guide from Morsbags. We have used it before for our shirt tote bags!

And done! Easy peasy! And a great sewing machine project for beginners!

Want more Bag DIY ideas? Check out this lovely umbrella bag DIY on YouTube:

broken umbrella bag

Or watch this YouTube video for video instructions to make a regular canvas bag from a recycled umbrella – this one takes the panels apart first and then puts them back together again – which allows you to have a bigger piece of fabric to work with. It does however take longer to make than the simple version shared today!

umbrella bag

Happy sewing for Earth Day everyone!