Roald Dahl‘s Birthday is Sept 13 and one of my all-time favorite, make-you-feel-like-a-kid-again movies is the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. With just a stencil and a bit of waterproof paint, you can craft yourself (oh, um… I mean, your child can craft) a mushroom umbrella that will almost make you believe that an Oompa Loompa could appear around the next corner.
Round things to use as stencils (cups, plates, tape rolls)
White multi-surface acrylic or fabric paint
Mushroom and Caramel colored acrylic or fabric paint Use your assorted “round things” and pencil to make a variety of circles all over your umbrella. Paint a thin coat of white paint inside the pencil circles. Allow the first layer of paint to dry completely. It will most likely fade, as the canvas umbrella soaks up the paint. Apply a second coat of white paint and allow that to dry completely.Give your child the mushroom umbrella and wait for rain!
If you live in California, you may be waiting for quite a while, so wear comfortable shoes, and maybe have Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory queued up on your iPad to pass the time. Give up on rain and spray your yard and the umbrella with the hose. (Only do this on a city-approved watering day. We are in a drought people!)
Oh, and remember how I listed some optional paint colors in the materials list? You could stop here and have a darling umbrella. I decided that our umbrella could use a little surprise on the inside, so I grabbed the additional paint to give the mushroom gills.When I started this project, I wasn’t sure if gills would be possible, but since the paint from the white circles didn’t seep through to the inside, I went ahead and painted the entire underside of the open umbrella with the mushroom colored acrylic paint. After I let the base layer dry, I used a small-medium sized paint brush and made freehand lines with the caramel colored paint that mimicked the look of gills.
I was super happy with the effect, but my toddler could not have cared less about the gills, so it’s completely up to you whether you find this step necessary. We’ll be ready to use our Amanita muscaria mushroom umbrella as soon as it rains, for some Roald Dahl-inspired play, or for an easy Halloween costume- whichever comes first!
All photos by: Megan Andersen