The traditional Japanese umbrella, called a wagasa by the Japanese, is a beautiful and functional umbrella. It can take months to properly make a wagasa, but the end product is stunning. A handcrafted wagasa makes a wonderful gift or personal item. These are not easy to make, but they are worth the time and effort spent in crafting.
Cut bamboo into thin sticks. There should be 48 sticks for the wagasa. These will form the umbrella, so make sure they are even and the same thickness.
Dye the bamboo sticks. They can be dyed any preferred colour.
Fix the runner to the bamboo tube by slipping it onto the tube and using a small bamboo stick as a stopper, then join the tips to the runner. The tips can be joined to the runner by sliding the tips into the slots in the runner. After the tips, the ribs and stretchers are fixed to the bamboo tube. Cut small slits into the bamboo tube and place the ribs and stretchers into the bamboo tube, allowing them to flare out to form the frame of the umbrella. Glue can be used to keep the ribs and stretchers in the small slits. The runner will dictate where they should be fixed, but usually the sticks will fit into grooves in the runner.
Paste the washi paper to the wooden frame. Waterproof glue is the best option to avoid accidents when using this umbrella in the rain.
Apply plant oils to the washi paper and set the umbrella in the sun. The paper should be completely dry before removing it from the sun. Bring the umbrella inside during the night and on days when the weather is foul to avoid ruining it.
Apply the cashew lacquer to the wagasa. Allow the lacquer to dry.
Stretch the strings inside the ribs of the wagasa. This provides the final stability and mobility that the umbrella needs.
Decorate the umbrella. It can be painted in any preferred style or design, or it can be left with the original colours of the washi paper and dyed bamboo.
Things you need
- Bamboo sticks
- Bamboo tube
- Washi paper
- Plant oils
- Cashew lacquer