How to Make Cocktail Umbrellas

Updated March 23, 2017

Cocktail umbrellas are a staple in bars and restaurants; they impart the romance of the South Pacific. They give us something to toy with while sipping a cool beverage and provide a little souvenir when the night is over. Making them yourself is just a matter of getting a few items from a hobby store, making a template and following some steps. You can have dozens of personalised cocktail umbrellas for your own home entertaining.

Draw a 3-inch diameter circle on the cardboard and cut it out. This is your umbrella template.

Place the template on your origami paper. Draw as many circles as you want umbrellas. Cut out all the circles.

Use a penny or similar-size object as a template for the umbrella covers. Trace the penny on white copier paper and cut out the circles. Make as many covers as you made umbrellas.

Fold one origami-paper circle in half, fold it again in half, and one more time in half. Make creases on the paper as you fold. Now your paper looks like a small cone. Cut the very tip off using sharp scissors to make a small hole. Open the circle and see that you have a centre hole.

Gather 8 flat toothpicks. Apply glue to one side of each toothpick, just enough to wet it. Line up each toothpick on top of each crease, glue side down. Match all toothpicks at the centre at the opening, but don’t allow them to overlap.

Put a piece of waxed paper on top of the umbrella and then place a clean flat plate or book on top of the umbrella so it sets in that position. The waxed paper will help keep the glue from sticking to the weighted object. Let it set for up to 30 minutes.

Turn the dried umbrella over and close it. Wad a 2-inch piece of tissue into a loose ball. Set it on top of the opening where the toothpicks meet. Put the cover on top of the wad, tie a sting around it once and cut the ends.

Open the umbrella and insert the wooden skewer into the wadded tissue. Apply a bead of glue. Let it dry for 30 minutes.

Cut the skewer at the base to the desired length if needed.


Design your own printed paper for customised umbrellas. Use coloured rice paper for interesting patterns.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Origami paper
  • Penny
  • White paper
  • Flat toothpicks
  • White glue
  • Waxed paper
  • Flat plate or book
  • Garment tissue
  • String
  • Wooden skewers
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About the Author

Erin Moseley is an advocate for science education. Since 1985, she has written numerous technical, user and training manuals for major corporations, public agencies and universities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in geology.