Cocktail umbrellas are far too cute to use in drinks only to toss in the trash when you reach the bottom of the glass. A recent trip to the dollar store scored us a couple of packs of the pretty paper umbrellas and a great idea for an accent lamp.
These lamps are pretty, whimsical, and surprisingly sturdy in construction. (No, not sturdy enough to give to your preschooler!) We used a battery operated tea light to take care of the unsightly cord issue, but the tea lights are pretty low in actual light, so you might want to use this idea to go a different direction. A pendant lamp with a cheap kit from IKEA would be fabulous!
- Styrofoam disc
- 2+ packages of cocktail umbrellas
- Small vase or glass
- Battery-operated tealight or other light source
Umbrellas: You can find the cocktail umbrellas in the dining supplies section of the dollar store, but buy at least one extra box because they aren't the most quality-controlled item in the universe. Some parasols may not open correctly, or you might want specific colors, etc. If you can't find them at the dollar store, check your local party supply or liquor store.
Vase: We used a teeny lead crystal cut vase, but a small drinking glass or votive holder would also work well.
- Mark an indentation in the middle of the Styrofoam disc with the tea light.
- Cut a hole through the disc in the spot you marked.
- Fit tea light into disc. If hole is too small, carve a bit more out with your knife. If it's too large, put tape around your tea light until it fits snugly.
- You will be able to switch the tea light on or off from the bottom of the disc. You'll also be able to remove the tea light and replace it when the battery runs out.
- Create an indentation in the bottom of the Styrofoam disc so it fits securely on the lamp base.
- Open the cocktail umbrellas by gently prying open with your fingers until they are extended all the way. Slide the little rubber band all the way up the toothpick to keep them open.
- Begin building the lampshade by pushing open umbrellas picks into the disc.
- Continue adding umbrellas to the lampshade until you are happy with the way it looks.