Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Let it Rain!!! The Elephant Umbrella Tutorial

I love it when it rains!  I don't love it when it borders on a monsoon, but a nice steady cool rain that brings a much needed gust of cooler air is always a welcome occasion.  Lately around here it has been either hot, hot, hot with the heat index teetering around 110 degrees or violent severe thunderstorms accompanied by torrential downpours and followed up with city wide flooding.  I don't know whether to walk around in a my teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini all day (which wouldn't be a pretty site) or start building an ark. 

Instead, I have decided to let mother nature inspire me to create a unique accessory to help shield me from these treacherous times. *sigh* (Was that dramatic enough for ya?)

Hence...The Elephant Umbrella!

This is such a simple project and there are so many ways to personalize it and make it your own.  Add your own images, a favorite saying or a name.  Seriously!  The possibilities are endless!

So, let's get started...

First things first, get all your supplies together.

You will need:

an umbrella
fabric for your designs
heat bond
an iron
the design you want to create, tracing paper, a marker and scissors
(I am a Dr. Seuss fanatic and I love elephants, so I used the elephant from Dr. Seuss's ABC book)

After you have selected your design, trace it onto tracing paper (I used regular notebook paper and it worked just fine).  Then cut the design out.  This will be your template for creating the design on your fabric.

Trace the design on the backside of your fabric.  Use a pen or marker that won't bleed and leave a mark.
Be sure to trace your design in the reverse image of how you want the final design to look.

Trace as many as you will need (I made 8 elephants since there are 8 sections on my umbrella) and then cut them all out.

Don't worry if your fabric is wrinkled.  This will be taken care of in a later step.
Repeat this process on the sheet of heat bond for each piece you have created.  Be sure to trace your design on the correct side of the heat bond.  Read the instructions carefully so you will now which side attaches to your design and which side attaches to the umbrella.

TIP: You could attach the heat bond to the fabric before tracing and cutting out each design.  If you do this step, trace your design a bit larger than you want the final piece to be so you can trace on the front of the fabric and cut inside the lines to ensure no markings are on your design.  I chose to do this the hard way, because I tend to get ahead of myself.  I should really learn to stop and plan out all my steps first before diving right into a project.  But, I digress......

Attach the heat bond to the design following the manufacturers instructions.

Iron each design onto your umbrella.  If you are picky about perfection, you may want to mark each spot before you start ironing.  I tend to just eyeball things, so I (once again) just jumped right in and started ironing.  Make sure all the edges are secure!

Viola!  Now you have your very own unique personal umbrella.

Now, go outside and wait for it to start raining!