Do-it-Yourself Thatch Cover Umbrella

Updated April 17, 2017

Covering an umbrella with a thatch grass is a great way to create a tropical feeling environment in your backyard. As most tropical beach locations incorporate thatched umbrellas due to the ready availability of thatch grass in such climates, you can recreate this vibe easily wherever you live. There is no need to consult a professional thatching service, with a little practice you will be able to learn the skill and start thatching even and attractive roof coverings.

Remove the umbrella fabric from your backyard umbrella you wish to thatch. You should now be left with the wire frame that held the fabric in place. If you do not want to be able to see the thatch grass from the underside of the umbrella, you may leave the fabric in place.

Make four circles of 6, 4, 2, and a half-foot in diameter with some twine, tying the ends in place and cutting off the excess. These will be used to attach the concentric layers of thatch over your umbrella.

Place the 6-foot diameter circle over the umbrella so that it is evenly spaced from the centre post of the umbrella frame. Take a handful of thatching material and tap the ends on the ground to level them. Bend 6 inches of this end over the twine string circle and tie it in place, using some twine just below the twine circle.

Add another handful of thatch material beside the first and tie in place as well. Continue this pattern all around the 6-foot twine circle until you meet your starting point.

Place the 4-foot twine circle onto the umbrella frame and thatch it in the same fashion as the 6-foot circle. Note that the thatch grass or material used must be at least 2.5 feet long after it is tied down to the 4-foot twine circle in order to cover the knots of the 6-foot circle, as well as to help in waterproofing it.

Add and thatch the 2-foot circle in the same fashion as the previous two.

Add and thatch the final half-foot circle and thatch it. You should now have a fully thatched umbrella, with an open area at the very centre.

Cut the bottom off your bucket about 1.5 inches from the bottom edge. Use your knife to make holes evenly spaced every 1 inch around this cut-off edge. Thread twine through these holes and through the half-foot twine circle to cover the open hole at the top centre of your umbrella to finalise and keep rain from entering it.


Trim the excess and uneven thatch material around the outside perimeter to help give it a cleaner look. Bigger or smaller umbrellas can be converted by varying the size of twine circles used; just ensure that they overlap evenly.

Things You'll Need

  • Umbrella frame
  • Thatch grass (or palm fronds)
  • Knife
  • Plastic bucket
  • Twine
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About the Author

Brandy Alexander began writing professionally in 1993. She has years of experience as a professional of the English language employed with the "Cape Times" and "The Mercury." Alexander holds a master's degree in English literature from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.