Printing Artistic Umbrellas

Would you like to print a full colour painting, photograph, or illustration on an umbrella? You’re not alone! In fact we get many calls from artists and photographers wanting to put their work on umbrella canopies – so many we’ve decided to write a blog about it.

The answer to your first question is YES…We can do it. Now, your next question is likely going to be: How much does it cost? That’s where it gets a little more complicated, because the cost depends upon the complexity of the design. This article will discuss how our umbrella printing and manufacturing process works, which will help you to design an artistic umbrella that will be affordable to manufacture.

Umbrella Printing: The Basics

Umbrella Panel

Printed Umbrella Panel

All standard umbrellas are made of 8 triangular shaped fabric panels, usually made from polyester. If we want to print something all over an entire umbrella canopy, we need to first print the individual fabric panels, then sew them together, then string the canopy onto the umbrella frame. The fabric panels are most often printed by screen printing, especially for simple jobs requiring only a few colours. For full colour print, we often use heat transfer printing.

Starbucks umbrella printed 1 colour

Umbrella Screen Printed in One Colour

Each time we have a unique, or different, panel design, we need to make new print screens or heat transfer films. For example, let’s say you wanted to print a simple one colour logo on two panels (i.e. the same design/print repeated 2 times on the umbrella). In that case we would only need to make one print screen with one colour. Easy.

Now, if you want to cover an entire umbrella canopy with one painting or photograph, you’ll need eight different print screens or films, and it’s likely they’re all going to be full colour. The average cost of a full colour, full panel, print film or screen is around $300. Let’s do the math: $300 x 8 panels = $2,400. If you’re thinking of manufacturing a small quantity, like 100 umbrellas, your unit cost has just gone through the roof! On the other hand, if you’re going to manufacture 2,000 umbrellas, it works.

WAIT! Don’t get discouraged! There are ways of producing small quantities of artistic umbrellas at a reasonable cost – you just need to get a little more creative with your design. Here’s how…

Umbrella Design Tips

  • Repeating the same design on more than one panel greatly reduces set-up costs. For example in the designs below, we only need to make one film for printing ($300) as compared to eight films ($2,400!)
  • Alternate printed umbrella panels with blank panels.
  • Limit the number of colours in your design.
  • Try not to have complicated patterns overlap the panels. Pattern matching can be costly as we need to manually stitch the umbrella panels together.
  • Volume volume volume… the more you manufacture, the lower the unit cost.
  • Ask us to do it. We have excellent designers that know how to design umbrellas that will be affordable to print.

We hope you find this article in helping you to design a beautiful umbrella, and if you’d like to bring the project to life we’re here to help.  Remember, if you decide to go for it, you only pay the set-up fees once. We keep your print screens on file, so when you’re ready to order more umbrellas you only have to pay for the umbrellas themselves.

art umbrella design
Artistic Umbrella Design
Teknion umbrella

Repeated Panel Design

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