I, for one, welcome our umbrella overlords
September 7, 2011 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Creative uses for a broken umbrella?

I've had folding umbrellas flipped inside out and broken by the wind more times than I can count. (I know, folding umbrellas are a bad idea, but I walk everywhere or take the bus and I can't carry a full-length umbrella in my backpack.)

For example, when the folding umbrella that I felt sentimental about because I bought it in Italy for E2.50 and it was a beautiful orange color, broke, I snipped off the fabric and may use it as a scarf.

I am left with a cluster of folding pointy ribs, which I can't think what to do with. I also see broken, dead umbrellas all over the place (the eastern U.S. is presently enduring a week of stormy weather).

Off-the-wall suggestions OK (I have read China MiƩville's Un Lun Dun)
posted by bad grammar to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hang it by the handle over your shower rod and use the spokes as a drying rack for your unmentionables.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:53 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've built a marimba out of umbrella ribs and a washtub bass/thing out of a handle. Both sounded better than they had any right to. Not great mind you, but not bad either. If you have any interest in noisemakers, check out MeFi's Owntm moonmilk for inspiration.
posted by lekvar at 4:55 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is a Halloween chandelier idea, where you take a broken, skinless umbrella, cover it in fake spider webs and spiders and such.

Picture of an example
posted by SuzySmith at 5:00 PM on September 7, 2011

A lot of them are aluminum alloy and you may be able to recycle them.
posted by effluvia at 5:16 PM on September 7, 2011

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has instructions for combining a hoodie with an umbrella to make an awesome bat costume and an even more awesome more-anatomically-correct bat costume.
posted by Lexica at 6:38 PM on September 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

You could make a mobile - hang right-side-up or upside-down, then hang things from the rib ends.
posted by attercoppe at 7:20 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some suggestions, but sadly no links or pictures to back these up:

You could rig something up for your ties, if you don't already have a system for storage.

Folding curtain holders? Dunno. You can extend and fold/tuck them around curtains to sweep them to the side?

And now for some examples of cool things!

How to Recycle Old Umbrellas

A purse / Skirts

Make an Awesome Kite!

Some kind of giant bubble blower, you know, that you'd dip in a huge container of ...bubble stuff... some hot day in the summer?

Use one as a frame for an umbrella for some duct tape outfit (like what they do for those proms, you know?)

Attach the ribs to some gloves and be some sort of freaky Freddy Krueger? Or Edward Scissorhands? Or Wolverine?

Use them as a frame for giant fin-hands, shoes/feet, and fin for a Creature from the Black Lagoon costume.
posted by DisreputableDog at 8:50 PM on September 7, 2011

Oh! Could use them as some sort of weird picture frames? If one bends into 2 sides, therefore....
Or a picture tree decoration?

Use the fabric to make origami roses or other flowers, and attach them to the ends of the ribs, then put them in a vase. Ta-da! Crazy repurposed art.

Also, Un Lun Dun is awesome! Can't let an umbrella go unloved! (and I really wish I had some binjas)
posted by DisreputableDog at 8:52 PM on September 7, 2011

I took the fabric and made wall decorations out of umbrellas turned inside out by bad weather.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:18 PM on September 7, 2011

I use the fabric for waterproof lining for purses, computer sleeves, and wallets (sewing projects). Since I live on a college campus, there are plenty of broken umbrellas around. The skeletons I generally toss in the recycling bin.
posted by patheral at 3:05 PM on September 8, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, people. The bat costume is an awesome idea. I suppose you could use the ribs for grilling or fondue skewers, though I don't know if they're food-safe.
posted by bad grammar at 6:39 PM on September 8, 2011

cover it with aluminum foil and make a parabolic cooker. ala http://solarcooking.org/plans/
posted by gregg at 2:50 AM on September 9, 2011

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