How to paint an outdoor umbrella

Updated February 21, 2017

Weather and outdoor elements can wreak havoc on patio umbrellas, furniture and other outdoor items. Over time, fabric items like outdoor umbrellas begin to fade and look less attractive. One way to bring new life to a faded outdoor umbrella is by painting it. With some fabric paint, a repellent and the right tools, your patio umbrella will look like new in no time.

Take the outdoor umbrella off the stand, if it is still attached. Remove any metal or wood supports, then spread the umbrella out on a flat surface and sweep to remove any dust, dirt or other debris. Wear gloves and an apron to protect your hands and clothes.

Place the umbrella in your washer if it will fit; wash in cold water with a mild detergent. If the umbrella won't fit, apply a mild detergent to the outdoor umbrella while it is on a flat surface. Then wash by hand with a sponge and cold water. Scrub to remove any spots.

Let umbrella dry. If washed in a washer, let the umbrella dry on a flat surface. Do not dry the umbrella in a dryer.

Place a dust sheet or some newspapers on a flat surface on the ground; spread the umbrella out on the surface.

Add some textile medium to your fabric paint or acrylic paint according to the instructions on the textile medium's package (the substance will make painting on canvas or other material easier).

Start painting the umbrella in sections using a brush or sponge. Apply paint in one direction if using a brush; let dry, then apply a second coat, if desired. If using a sponge, apply slowly and in one direction to get better coverage.

Let the umbrella dry for at least three hours.

Spray some water-repellent spray on the outdoor umbrella to protect it.


At a craft store, select a fabric paint specifically designed for canvas to reduce how much the paint fades over time. Always use a water-repellent spray to protect the outdoor umbrella's surface. If desired, turn the finished umbrella over and paint the inside; follow the same procedure. To add a design, use a stencil and paint a design on the finished umbrella. Make sure to apply a water repellent over the design once it is dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Gloves
  • Apron or other cover up
  • Mild detergent
  • Sponge
  • Small bucket
  • Newspapers or dust sheets
  • Textile medium
  • Paint brush or sponge
  • Fabric paint or acrylic paint
  • Water-repellent spray
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.