An umbrella is a convenient tool when it comes to getting protection from the elements of the weather. Umbrella designers and manufacturers are always looking for new and creative ways to improve the umbrella’s look and feel. Every new umbrella design comes with new features and solutions to specific problems. For instance, the pocket umbrella solves the problem of portability.
The umbrella market is filled with several types, designs, and shapes of umbrellas; this ensures that the umbrella never goes out of style, fashion, or becomes irrelevant for the need it is created to meet. Of the various kinds of umbrellas today, the color-changing umbrella is one of the fascinating types.
This article would tell you all you should know about the color-changing umbrella to be adequately informed about this unique umbrella.
What Is a Color-Changing Umbrella?
A color-changing umbrella is a circular fabric stretched over U-shaped, hinged ribs joined at the center with a pole. What differentiates the color-changing umbrella from the common umbrella is that the canopy of the umbrella changes color when there is a shift in the situation surrounding the umbrella. The umbrella naturally has a monochromatic design; in other words, it is black and white. But when there is a temperature change or the addition of water, you have a pop of colors.
Color-changing umbrellas are said to bring some extra color to an ordinarily dreary rainy day. This color change is made possible by some special inks used to print and design the umbrella canopies. When these inks on the umbrellas, i.e., Hydrochromic ink reacts to water, Thermochromic ink reacts to temperature, Photochromic ink reacts to UV light, the ink turns invisible, and the hidden design under the ink is revealed. We will discuss these different types of inks in the next subheading.
You should note that after this type of umbrella has dried or the temperature has returned to normalcy in that environment, the graphics colors change back to black and white. This type of umbrella’s color-changing effect is usually eye-catching, which is probably why most of the color-changing umbrellas out there are for children. The color-changing umbrellas are typically found in the kids’ category in online shops and umbrella manufacturers’ websites because they encourage children to use umbrellas and even make it fun for them. This does not mean that there are no adult color-changing umbrellas in the market. There are quite a number of them out there on the umbrella market.
The canopy of color-changing umbrellas could be made from materials such as Pongee or polyester. These materials are easy to design on, and they do not react poorly to the inks used in printing. Most color-changing umbrellas use black fabric because a black background is known to make colors more vivid. Also, most umbrella manufacturers use carbon fiber or fiberglass for the umbrella’s ribs to help it withstand strong winds. And so, the umbrellas are long-lasting due to the extra strength given them by the materials used to make their ribs.
How Do Color-Changing Umbrellas Work?
The secret of the color-changing umbrella is that the colors have always been there, but they were just hidden! The colors and designs are imprinted through the normal process of printing. Afterward, an extra layer of special ink is printed on the colors to conceal them. Although it seems as though the colors seem to “appear” out of nowhere, the truth is that the colors have always been there.
There are three types of inks that can print the designs on the umbrellas’ canopies when it comes to color-changing umbrellas.
1. Hydrochromic Ink
The Hydrochromic ink is the most common type of ink used to create color-changing umbrellas. This type of ink is activated by water. When an image is printed on an umbrella’s canopy, the white Hydrochromic ink is screened (or sprayed) over the design. So when water touches the umbrella, the ink disappears, and the design underneath it is displayed. You could also put it this way: when the Hydrochromic ink on the umbrella makes contact with water or any liquid, it becomes transparent and gives way for the original colors to come out. What is even more fascinating is that once the water on the umbrella dries up, the image becomes concealed again.
It is more advisable to apply the ink in a screen printing method because it requires a fairly hefty amount to be effective. The design that the umbrella manufacturer wants to camouflage with the Hydrochromic ink could determine the efficiency of the ink. So, you have to select the underlying text or graphic carefully. There are specific requirements about the image you hope to cover. These requirements are peculiar to the factory that makes the ink, so you must adhere to these instructions before using it.
Although it is conventional for the colors on the canopy to become hidden once the water dries, some Hydrochromic inks are irreversible. In other words, once water is applied, the actual colors are exposed, and they stay that way, even after the canopy is already dry. Simply put, the changes caused after water touches the umbrella are permanent.
2. Thermochromic or Thermochromatic Ink
Thermochromic ink reacts to fluctuations in temperature, either hot or cold; that is, it is triggered by an increase or decrease in temperature. The use of Thermochromic ink in color-changing umbrellas is not as popular as the Hydrochromic ink, however. A significant similarity between the Thermochromic and Hydrochromic ink is that after the umbrella has been manufactured and engraved, the ink is then sprayed or screened on the canopy to conceal the previously printed images.
The canopy of a Thermochromic color-changing umbrella is most times resistant to ultraviolet rays. And because of this, this type of umbrella protects its users from these harmful rays.
Thermochromic inks are reversible; in other words, they change either as the ink warms or cools. These inks could be activated by temperatures of -10°C to 70°C.
Thermochromic umbrellas could also be used to measure the temperature outside. There is usually a set temperature that can activate the Thermochromic ink. So, below that set temperature, the ink conceals the colors, and above the temperature, the ink becomes invisible to reveal the umbrella’s colors. If, for instance, the temperature outside is so hot that it can change the color of the umbrella, you would have an idea just how hot the weather is and how to prepare for it.
There are three primary temperature inks to consider when it comes to Thermochromic inks:
- The low-temperature ink which is activated when the temperature is cold, like during a snowy day.
- The body temperature ink which is triggered when the surrounding is at room temperature. As an example, you can rub your hands or blow a warm breath on the umbrella.
- The high-temperature ink is activated when things are heated up. So, if you go out during a scorching day, you are bound to see the hidden designs on your umbrella.
Thermochromic inks are used by brands as a creative, visual cue to let their customers know when a product is hot or cold, for example, Pizza shops or beverage companies. In the umbrella market, when you use a Thermochromic ink to design a color-changing umbrella, you are presented with an aesthetically pleasing umbrella.
3. Photochromic Ink
Photochromic ink reacts when exposed to Ultraviolet light, for instance, the sun or black light. How this works is that when the photochromic ink’s chemical structure absorbs the UV light, they are transformed from clear to color. The UV rays are distributed to the umbrella’s canopy and used to beautify the umbrella upon contact with the ink. The UV light causes the ink to absorb color (the designs on the umbrella), and then when the UV source is removed, the ink changes back to a transparent color. A downside to this type of ink is that it is not as common in the umbrella business as the other two types of inks.
10 Best Color-changing Umbrellas
Find below the top ten color-changing umbrellas with a brief description of each one:
1. Suck UK Color Change Travel Umbrella
The Suck UK Color Change Travel Umbrella changes from black and white to bright colors when it is wet. It has a high-quality opening and closing mechanism with an anti-slip, soft-grip handle for comfort. It is a very sturdy umbrella with a canopy of 100 centimeters to give you ample protection from the rain and the sun. It is very compact and retractable, making it easy to carry about. It can fit in your bags or glove compartments. Additionally, it is a very durable, recyclable, and lightweight umbrella that will not rust or corrode.
2. Color-changing Umbrella by CRAZE
This is a superior quality umbrella with an automatic opening feature. Once you step out into the rain, you are dazzled by lovely bursts of color. In addition to its beautiful colors, you are promised a wind-proof, resilient, and lightweight umbrella. It also has a unique feature: an LED flashlight in its handle, allowing you to use the umbrella even in the dark. This rainbow-colored umbrella was designed to brighten its users’ moods while keeping them dry or safe from the scorching sun. This color-changing umbrella by CRAZE comes with its branded color-coordinated sleeve and a wrist strap.
3. JoJo Maman Bébé Kids’ Dinosaur Color-Changing Umbrella
This kids’ umbrella makes use of a unique print technology that makes the white dinosaurs on the umbrella turn colorful when it is wet. Jojo Maman specially designed this umbrella to make it easier for children to handle and maneuver. The umbrella comes with a Velcro™ strap that keeps the umbrella secure and compact when it is no longer in use. Its canopy is made of 100% polyester to keep your child protected from whatever adverse weather conditions. The umbrella features a plastic handle that makes it easy for children to hold on to it without stress. The tips of the umbrella are also protected with plastic spoke end caps to prevent any likely injury; children’s safety is guaranteed.
4. Daisy Cheynes Color-changing umbrellas
Many people adore Daisy Cheynes Color-changing Umbrellas, and for a good reason, too; they provide a variety of umbrella designs. The color-changing umbrellas from Daisy Cheynes have hidden colors on each panel of the umbrella’s canopy that comes to life once it is under the rain. Their color-changing umbrellas are perfect for children, making them love the rainy season and forget the dreariness that comes with it. Some of the available Daisy Cheynes Color-changing Umbrellas available include the Bunny Color-changing Umbrella, Dinosaur Color-changing Umbrella, Mermaid Color-changing Umbrella, Pets Color-changing Umbrella, and others. These umbrellas have a canopy span of about 70 cm or more when opened, which helps keep your little ones dry.
5. Huifeng Color Changing Travel Umbrella
This color-changing umbrella from Huifeng Umbrellas could feature a zebra or raindrops that change to bright colors when it is wet, which is achieved with a particular ink (the Hydrochromic ink). When the umbrella is dry, the printed image is white, but the zebra and raindrops become vibrant when it comes in contact with water. The umbrella is designed in a compact format, making it easy to travel with, as it can fit into your handbags or suitcases. The Huifeng Color Changing Travel Umbrella is not only suitable in rainy climates; it also offers protection from UV rays. Furthermore, the canopy is made of 190T solid polyester with heat transfer.
6. Hogwarts™ Color-changing Umbrella from Harry Potter
If you are a Harry Potter fan and a lover of all things magical, then this umbrella is for you. This octagonal color-changing umbrella has detailed pictures of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry crests in black and white. The magic happens when you step outside, during the rain, and the umbrella gets wet; the crests transform to show their brilliant colors. Once it dries, the crests go back to being black and white. As a fan of magic, this change is bound to leave you feeling enchanted over and over again. This umbrella is available in different colors.
7. UniqueCartz Color-Changing Umbrella
This umbrella’s canopy has a black background with white raindrops printed on it. However, as soon as it gets wet, the white raindrops develop into a party of colors. This umbrella comes with exceptional style and features that leave its users feeling very satisfied with its usage. The UniqueCartz Color-changing Umbrella is small, foldable, and easy to carry. It is suitable for both males and females. This umbrella can be used in all seasons because it protects you from the heat, rain, and even UV rays. Also, the umbrella is windproof, waterproof, and sun proof.
8. Magic Fantastic Color-Changing Umbrella When Wet
This umbrella was designed for adults who love the science behind color-changing umbrellas. This umbrella’s size ranges from 14 inches to 32 inches, while the diameter of the canopy is about 21 inches. It is a three-fold umbrella, making it compact and very handy. The umbrella’s frame is made from fiberglass, while the canopy is made with Pongee fabric. The designs are printed using silk screening and heat transfer printing methods. It has an anti-UV rays feature that protects you from the harmful rays. Lastly, it is eco-friendly.
9. Crayola Color-Changing Umbrella
This color-changing umbrella from Crayola® is 17 inches long when it is retracted, and it extends to 21 inches. When it is open, it measures about 37 inches wide. When the umbrella is dry, its colors are black and white, but once it comes in contact with water, it becomes very colorful. It is made with 100% nylon material and a wind-resistant frame made of steel. The umbrella’s handle is made of rubber to ensure you have comfort as you use the umbrella. This colorful and comfortable umbrella is also perfect for traveling.
10. Stephen Joseph Color-Changing Umbrella
With the Stephen Joseph Color-changing Umbrella, every rainy day becomes magical as you see the plain black and white colors fade away to reveal vivid colors. These umbrellas are very easy to open and close; they are pinch-free, so your child’s fingers are safe. The canopy is made from 100% polyester, which is not difficult to clean; it just needs to be wiped with a damp cloth. There are a variety of 8 designs to choose from, and you can match them with any other Stephen Joseph rain gear.
How to Customize Color-Changing Umbrellas
Customized umbrellas can be used for several purposes: wedding favors, trade show giveaways, employee gifts, souvenirs, or even promotions. Nowadays, the use of household items for promotions has become the norm. To make your company’s logo and graphics stand out better on the umbrella, you can make use of a color-changing umbrella. This type of umbrella always keeps you in the mind of your customers because every time the color of the umbrella changes to reveal your logo, they would think of you and your company.
In this section, we would be telling you how printing and customization take place in color-changing umbrellas.
The first step is to choose the umbrella’s size, the type of umbrella you want to brand, and the colors you want on the umbrella. Then, the umbrella manufacturing process is carried out. After the assembly of the umbrella (i.e., the joining of the gores, ribs, shaft, and handle), it is taken to be engraved/designed.
You can employ several methods in the printing of designs on your umbrella, thanks to technology. Some of these methods include dye-sublimation, silkscreen, digital printing, transfer print, embroidery, and sewing. We would discuss a few of these methods briefly.
- The silkscreen printing method is a very efficient and long-lasting way to print your designs on the umbrella. A stenciled silkscreen is used to transfer the image to the umbrella’s surface, and then it is treated with a light-sensitive emulsion.
- Digital printing is the most advanced method of printing. The digital devices available for printing make this method relatively more straightforward than other methods. Digital printing allows you to print bright colors and patterns on the umbrellas digitally.
- Dye sublimation or heat transfer involves applying sublimation inks onto the canopy of the umbrella and then using a heat press to give the necessary heat, pressure, and time on the design. The combination of heat and sublimation inks transforms it from a solid to a gaseous state, causing a better penetration of the colors into the umbrella’s canopy.
NOTE: It is advisable to use the silkscreen and transfer printing methods if you intend to manufacture a customized color-changing umbrella. The reason is that it would result in a high-quality print that would make the umbrella’s design stand out.
After the first stage of the printing has been done, the next step involves applying the color-changing inks. The choice of the ink is entirely dependent on you as the client. But, no matter the ink you choose – Thermochromic, Hydrochromic, or Photochromic – similar procedures are involved.
These inks can be applied through spraying or screening, as we have said earlier. Each manufacturer of these special inks could also give specific instructions guiding the usage of the products. When these guidelines are followed to the T, you can be sure to achieve the effects you were hoping for.
The Thermochromic, Hydrochromic, or Photochromic inks cover the designs that have been printed on the canopy. You could request for the ink you choose to cover the whole umbrella or just your personalized logo/graphics. Either way, the results would be beautiful.
Best Manufacturers and Suppliers of Color-changing Umbrellas
This section would be briefly giving you information on trusted and reliable umbrella manufacturers and suppliers who can deliver high-quality color-changing umbrellas to you.
1. Huifeng Umbrella
Huifeng Umbrella (or HF Umbrella) specializes in manufacturing all kinds of umbrellas, and recently, the Huifeng brand has released a collection of Color-changing Umbrellas. For example, there’s the umbrella that changes its white color to pink when you go out in the sun! HF Umbrella products are exported to countries like Korea, the USA, the UK, Japan, etc.
At Huifeng Umbrella, high quality and good service are guaranteed. Each umbrella is designed and manufactured with high standards. From the tip of the umbrella to the handle of the umbrella, you can be sure that the company makes use of long-lasting materials in its creation. In addition to that, you get reasonable prices, especially when the quality of our products is considered. Apart from the color-changing umbrellas, other products offered by HF Umbrella are golf, beach, patio, transparent umbrellas, and so on.
2. Fulton Umbrellas
Fulton Umbrellas, established in 1956, is proud to state that they are the largest suppliers of quality umbrellas and rainwear in the United Kingdom. They strive to develop their products to deal with British weather conditions. They aim to brighten up your day by offering you a wide range of rain protection gear. These gears would suit your requirements by being fashionable, high-quality, and fun. In the manufacturing of their products, they use only superior quality materials to deliver to you long-lasting products. They also work with the best designers to bring you creative and innovative rain protection gear. You can find the Fulton brand of umbrellas across Europe, the USA, Canada, Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.
3. Suck UK
Suck UK, which has been in existence since 1999, is a design and development company specializing in the creation of gift items, like umbrellas. They have their products designed and manufactured in-house and with much care. They have a guarantee that their designs are always original, quirky, and fun.
When it comes to ordering and delivery, you are promised quick and easy placement of orders and global delivery. Suck UK has a dedicated customer service department to walk you through the ordering and purchasing process. You also have the option of getting customized products, and they are willing to work with you for you to get your unique, personalized goods. Furthermore, all your goods are covered by their 12-month warranty.
When a war injury made it difficult for Hans Haupt to carry both a walking stick and an umbrella, he created the first umbrella with a telescopic frame. This umbrella fitted easily in his pocket and was always available for him. In 1928, Bremshey & Co. invested in this creation, which marked the beginning of a new umbrella era. They produce umbrellas of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Knirps is currently focusing on the development of umbrellas that take the fashion-oriented approach. But while they do so, they are staying true to their German engineering and quality heritage. They have in-house engineering, research, and design facilities dedicated to making their products even more excellent. Furthermore, they always look for new solutions to old problems for umbrellas and the umbrella market.
5. Floss and Rock
Floss & Rock is a British-based business famous for its cotton floss and “sticks of rocks” (sweets). They are also known to be passionate about manufacturing toys for children between ages 3 and 10. Two times a year, they launch about 100 exclusive products that they display at trade shows across the world.
Among these kids’ products are their famous color-changing umbrellas. These umbrellas come in various designs and patterns, which are appealing and educational. To see the bright, colorful images that each unique umbrella has, all your child has to do is get the umbrella wet. Some of their designs are Universe Color-changing Umbrella, Pets Color-changing Umbrella, Space Color-changing Umbrella, Jungle Color-changing Umbrella, etc.
You can rest assured that they stick to providing product safety and high performance to ensure they meet the requirements in the market today.
SquidLondon is the original color-changing rainwear brand. They are based in Britain and are well-known for their excellent rain gears like jackets, wellington boots, umbrellas, and bags. After being inspired by the colorful interactions with the rain, the company was founded in 2008. And since then, they have grown and made quite a reputation for themselves. They state that their philosophy is “to bring color into everyday life and brighten up grey and rainy days.” You would be pleased to know that their products are not only for children but also for adults!
They are spread across 25 countries globally, and they place a premium on quality and functionality. Their color-changing Hydrochromic umbrellas are available for sale at affordable prices. You are assured total satisfaction while using their products.
7. Daisy Cheynes
Daisy Cheynes is not your regular manufacturing company; they are your one-stop destination shop for gifts, homewares, and accessories. They stock their online store with products from some of the most creative and modern designers in Scotland and worldwide. You can be sure of getting quality gifts for yourself, your family, and your friends from Daisy Cheynes.
One of such great gift ideas is the color-changing umbrella that they have in stock. Color-changing umbrellas like the Dinosaur Color-changing Umbrella, Jungle Color-changing Umbrella, and Mermaid Color-changing Umbrella, etc., are found on their website and would make a lovely gift item for your children. They are durable and guaranteed to protect their users from the rain and sun.
8. Totes ISOTONER
Totes started in the year 1924 in Ohio town. The establishment of this company was born out of love for rain. They loved the rain so much that they have spent decades creating products that would make others love the rain as well. With each passing year, Totes has found new ways to make their customers more comfortable, no matter the weather. Totes bring you several years of expertise and innovation. Apart from their umbrellas, they make other rain products such as boots, slippers, sandals, jackets, etc.; these products are sure to bring big smiles to their customers. With Totes, you have the backing of a lifetime guarantee.
9. Holly and Beau
Jack and Fleur, two siblings, founded Holly and Beau. Their aim is to make rainy days fun and colorful. After many years of research, they developed and perfected their “magic color” technology. When water splashes on their products, the designs burst into beautiful colors. Then, once they are dry, they change back to white. Their rain products are designed for children between the age of 2 and 8. Their color-changing products encourage children to go outside to play, even during rainy days. The Holly and Beau rain wears are not only enjoyable but also functional. The fabrics used are made from 100% waterproof materials, keeping you dry while in the rain.
We have taken the time to dissect everything you need to know and understand about color-changing umbrellas and how they work. Hopefully, you have learned one or two things about the color-changing umbrella. The Hydrochromic, Thermochromic, and Photochromic inks give the classic umbrella an exciting twist. It is fascinating that these three inks can transform the look of an umbrella so effortlessly and in such a creative way; it is almost like having two umbrellas in one!
There are tons of designs to choose from, so you do not have to feel restricted in your choice. If you hope to purchase a color-changing umbrella for your personal use or as a promotional item, you can contact us at Huifeng Umbrella; we would be more than willing to make your dreams a reality. All you need to do is shoot us a message at [email protected], and you would be more than satisfied with our services.