How to make a second line umbrella

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Catch that Big Easy spirit and express yourself! A second line umbrella is a must for festivals, graduations, weddings, tailgating, and of course, for second lines.

If you want to buy a decorated umbrella you could end up shelling out $65 to $100.

But they are easy to make and it’s more fun when you do it yourself!

Materials:

  1. A plain small umbrella. Any color will do.
  2. Beads
  3. Decals
  4. Paint
  5. Fringe or feathers
  6. Fur, or a figurine as the topper
  7. Tack glue

Steps:

  1. Lay out your materials
  2. Measure out six 14 inch strips for the spines. (We used beads)
  3. Using tack glue, secure the beads to the spine of the open umbrella.
    • Use tape to hold the beads in place while you glue.
    • If you’re having trouble with the beads, you can also tack them with a few small dabs of hot glue just to keep them from rolling away.
  4. Decorate the umbrella with paint or decals however you like.
  5. Let everything dry.
  6. Then put the fringe on the outside of the umbrella.
  7. Glue on topper
    • To create a fur ball like we did. Keep gluing small pieces of fur together until it forms a little ball on its own.
  8. Then enjoy!

Some history:

Nothing says “celebration” in New Orleans like the second line umbrella. In the New Orleans tradition of the Jazz Funeral procession, the family of the deceased is the “first line” of mourners and non-family members are the “second line”. Thanks to the blazing Louisiana sun, both processions of mourners often carried umbrellas for protection as they walk somberly to the cemetery, or as props as they danced joyfully after the deceased is buried to help release their soul.

In the New Orleans tradition of the Jazz Funeral procession, the family of the deceased is the “first line” of mourners and non-family members are the “second line”.

Thanks to the blazing Louisiana sun, both processions of mourners often carried umbrellas for protection as they walk somberly to the cemetery, or as props as they danced joyfully after the deceased is buried to help release their soul.  

A second line umbrella is a unique artistic expression that reflects the bravura of their maker, no matter what the occasion.

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