Raid the dollar store for an illuminated umbrella


Here’s a quick and easy illuminated umbrella that [Mikeasaurus] built. How’s this for economical? He found an umbrella that someone left on the bus, and used an LED flashlight and clear poncho from the dollar store for the rest of the parts.

The scavenged LED circuit board is the perfect diameter to fit inside the handle of his umbrella. He removed the middle LED and drilled a hole in the board for the shaft to pass through. Although not well detailed, we gather he managed to shoehorn two CR2032 3v batteries underneath the PCB to power the device. The poncho is wrapped around the shaft to diffuse the light. This is a clever solution as the flexible plastic still allows the telescoping shaft to collapse down to its most compact size.

[Mikasaurus'] umbrella doesn’t make noise or emulate the weather but it is a clever idea. The low difficulty level and availability of parts makes this a great project to do with the young ones who don’t get included in your more intricate hacks.


  1. directive0 says:

    This is a very cool idea! I’ve wanted my very own “Blade Runner” umbrella for a while!

  2. Mic says:

    Steal one of those portable photography umbrellas( you know the umbrella thing with a flash on it). That it reminds me at least of school pictures. STOP MAKING FACES ! &*%$!# KIDS!

  3. jrtcs says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense if the light pointed toward the ground? Just sayin’.

  4. TJ says:

    10/10 for simplicity

    Minus several million for style d8)

    There’s gotta be something better than that poncho…

  5. Jac says:

    That’s cool. Now I want my umbrella back.

  6. McSquid says:

    that depends on if you want it to help you see at night or if you want it to help others see you. easy to not see a pedestrian walking in the rain at night with a black umbrella when you are driving.

  7. mikeasaurus says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

    It’s not pointed at the ground because it’s not trying to illuminate your pathway while you walk, it’s to indicate your position to motorists so they see you and slow down.
    Another version of this can include both, a light up and a light down.

    Thanks?! Umbrellas are goofy looking anyways, style-shmyle. The poncho choice was because I wanted to keep the costs down as much as I could. Feel free to make yours with rip-stop nylon or some other kind of material, which is what i had originally envisioned byt scapped due to cost/time and difficulty in stitching up the sock.

    Ummm… sorry dude, you also left your wallet on the seat too. I spent all teh money on slurpees, I hope you can forgive me.

  8. Pete says:

    I don’t know why I dislike reading instructables so much but, I do. It really is a great resource for people posting how-to’s but don’t want to host their own site. Having said that, I will not apologize for my “instructables contempt” but, I do hope they continue.

    I wonder if replacing all or part of the umbrella shaft with an acrylic rod then making faceted cuts in it or even sanding the outside to make refraction points for the light would work out.

  9. macegr says:

    Maybe use one of those lightsabers, since they telescope already. A real lightsaber, not a toy.

  10. bobob says:

    i don’t get it-where’s the aurduino???

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      If you insist on going to every post and complaining about Arduinos without being on topic whatsever I’m going to have to start marking you as spam. You are not adding value or even commenting on the projects themselves anymore. It’s like an Ardunio protest. If you wish to protest Arduinos, I suggest you start here:

  11. jAMES says:

    Awesome. Not the greatest hack i’ve ever seen but I love ‘dollar store hacks’ I vote for a regular ‘dollar store hackable’ segment , highlighting fun cheap trinkets that could be used to make something cool, or just as a source of parts.

    ignore the trolls (including me from time to time)
    idiots like us in the comments just increase the number of words in an article, making it more likely someone will stumble on it in google. Plus ignoring them is the worst thing you can do to attention whores.

  12. Dubya says:

    I enjoy the simplicity of this (great job), but the way its put together looks a bit weak… think I’ll just hold out till they get more in stock

  13. andrew says:

    Bladerunner was the first thing I thought of when I saw this.

  14. bobob is my hero says:


    You sir, are and idiot.

  15. Kimmo says:

    Now girls, girls.. step away from the keyboard, go solder something nice and let the nice people do whatever they want with their own site. (no offence towards girls though)

    You’re making fools out of yourselves – I doubt you even use that kind of language when you confront real people.

  16. makovsky74 says:

    Nice) I’d buy it)

  17. Roly says:

    Agreed. Really like this hack for its effectiveness – it’s very simple but it makes a huge difference to being seen by motorists. It would be great if this idea caught on.

    But for a slightly advanced hack it would be good to get away from the direct battery to LED idea (which I’ll bet this is), and include a small inverter. Yes, I know it lights up for a while, but it actually has worse efficiency than a normal globe, and that ain’t great.

    I built such a LED torch (flashlight) a while back after a design by Ian Hickman, and it’s ability to get about a year of frequent use out of a single AA cell by sipping it dry is, well, slightly amazing. A few turns on a balun core and a single transistor turns a horror show into a dream.

  18. Spork says:

    @Roly I’m glad you mentioned that. Here is a link for more on the Hickman schematic:

    I’m also a fan of this ‘dollar store hacks’ idea.

  19. kevin mcguigan says:

    to those of you who critisize the hacks posted on this site. i don’t recall seeing anything you built being posted.

  20. @andrew very nice catch. For me it reminds more like stars wars :)

    Anyway very nice idea by Mikeasaurus.

  21. randy says:

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