How to Make Paper Umbrellas


Paper umbrellas make lovely decorations for tropical drinks and shakes and are a fun addition to an adult cocktail party or a children's birthday. No one knows why they were first used in tropical drinks. Some people think it was to provide shade to keep the drink colder longer, but many people believe that the Don the Beachcomber bar, one of the first Polynesian-themed bars in America, first used them as drink decorations in the 1930s. You can use any paper you like to make them, and even write jokes or messages on the paper to make the umbrellas more festive. Make a large number and string them together and use them for decoration at your next tropical-themed party--their uses are almost endless.

Things You'll Need

  • Drinking glass or round cookie cutter
  • Sheets of colorful paper or tissue paper
  • Toothpicks
  • PVA glue or craft glue
  • Place a drinking glass or round cookie cutter on the paper. Trace around the glass or cutter to make a circle.

  • Cut out the circle. Decorate the circle, or write on it if you wish. Children may enjoy decorating the circles with confetti or sequins or gluing on raffia.

  • Fold the circle in two to make a semicircle. Fold the semicircle in half to make a triangle shape. Fold the triangle shape in half to make a smaller triangle. Unfold the paper, but do not flatten it out.

  • Gently push a toothpick through the center on the inside of the cone. Use a little glue to make a small bead on top of the toothpick where it sticks out of the umbrella. This will hold the toothpick to the umbrella.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use colored glue to give the umbrellas a more professional appearance.
  • Use decorative-edged scissors to cut around the edge of the circles for a different look.

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  • Photo Credit Kiwi fruit with red umbrella image by Galaiko Sergey from
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