Take one plain garden parasol, a set of stencils and paint then add a few hours of creative therapy time.
I bought my white, canvas parasol from IKEA with the intention of stencilling it in bright colours so that it would look cheery when viewed from a distance. I considered several stencils, they are listed in a previous post. I decided upon a custom sized SIB16 Paisley design... mainly because it was my husband's preference and he had gone to the effort of making a scale drawing of a Paisley parasol for me.
Without the luxury of a scale drawing I would have measured the space offered by each section of the parasol and ordered stencils in a size to fit them.
I erected the parasol on the lawn so that I could place the stencil within a segment of the brolly and mark the position of it. Each segment is the same size so I would need only to position and register the stencil once and the marks would be a good fit for each of the six sections. Using a stencil pencil I traced two lines onto the stencil, each pencil line followed the fabric seams along the spokes of the umbrella.
These lines became my repositioning marks. Every time that I needed to start stencilling another segment of the structure I just matched up both pencil lines with the seams on the parasol and then taped the stencil in place.
Once the measuring marks are drawn onto the stencil it is advisable to remove the fabric from the frame of the parasol, this makes it easier to paint onto. It took me a while to realise that the cover was removeable.
Each time the wind blew I was chasing a wayward 3 metre wide structure around the lawn!
Safely back in my studio I set about stencilling each segment of the canvas parasol. To protect my desk and to stop the fabric from shifting whilst being stencilled I cut a piece of stencil film to fit under a fabric section. I sprayed the film with a little SprayMount repositioning adhesive to make it slightly tacky then smoothed the fabric section onto the film. Paper would have worked as an alternative surface to the film and so would hardboard. Putting a slightly tacky surface under the fabric stops it from moving about whilst it is being stencilled.
A few heavy weights to keep the fabric on the table are handy too.
I used a misting of Spray Mount on the reverse of the stencil and pressed the stencil into place onto the fabric. I matched the traced lines on the stencil with the seams of the parasol.
Acrylic paint from Liquitex was selected. We sell it and I use it on most surfaces including clothing, so I know that it will withstand the English rain.
To stencil the fabric take up a small amount of paint onto a stencil brush then circle the brush firmly onto paper towel, by doing this the paint will be distributed evenly over the bristles and dry-ish at the tips. Before applying the paint through the stencil stipple the brush onto scrap paper. Has it left an even imprint? Does it smudge if a finger is wiped over the imprint? Answers should be yes then no. Apply the paint lightly through the pattern of the stencil. Build and blend colour in layers, do not overload the brush with paint. The Paisley motif was stencilled using a combination of stippled and circled brush work. A different stencil brush was needed for each colour.
The underside should look almost as good as the top. For a more sophisticated but less jolly 'brolly decor' one single colour could be used. After completing the decoration of the parasol the stencil was employed to embellish painted, plastic planters.
It was also used to stencil a canvas tent....but that is another blog post.