Making a Monogrammed Gothic Parasol
Let's face it: most of the world isn't set up around the gothic night owl schedule, so you'll have to go out during the day sooner or later.
You've got two options to protect your pale skin from a wicked sun burn. You can slather on so much sunscreen you look like a tourist, or you can create your own shade with a parasol.
The problem is a tube of sun block costs five bucks, while a parasol that doesn't look like a garage sale find can cost significantly more. What you can find cheap though, are the plain paper parasols sold in craft stores. And once you have a solid base, you can give anything a gothic make over.
If you aren't comfortable with computers you can always use a set of craft store stencils, or draw free hand, but creating a custom stencil for your project on the computer offers greater precision and it's insanely easy. Simply open up a new document and select a font that you like. If you haven't had the joy of experimenting with fonts other than your defaults, you can find thousands of free and beautiful fonts online.
Supplies you will need: paper parasol (any color), acrylic paints, paint brushes (both large and fine tipped), paint palette, newspaper, spray bottle with water, tape, marker, ribbon, lace, or decorative cord, computer with a word processor, printer and paper and scissors.
Type out your name, initials, or whatever else you would like to have on your parasol, and blow up the size as large as you can. The number will vary depending on the font you use, but generally you'll want to go much larger than the default settings on the font size drop down menu. I used a size of 350 for my stencil. Don't worry if the font size breaks up a word across several pages, but do check to make sure that each letter is displayed in full on the page. Letters like "y" and "g" are especially prone to running off the page at larger sizes, so keep an eye on them. If you're unsure if the size you chose is the right size for your parasol, print out the first page of the stencil and hold it up to your parasol for comparison before printing the rest.
After you've printed out the stencil pages, you need to reassemble the words. In order to make them easier to handle, trim off the excess white space, but don't worry about being too exact. Tape the pages of each word together in whatever shape you want. If you chose a handwritten script, it's probably best to stick to something fairly straight, but if you chose a font without connected letters, you can make the words swirl or bend by chopping up each word into individual letters and rearranging the shape before you tape it together.
Open up the parasol and tape the stencils to the underside so that you can see the words through the parasol's paper top. If you're having trouble seeing clearly, grab a lamp or a flashlight and position it underneath to enhance the silhouette of the words. Then take your marker and gently trace the words onto the parasol. Don't worry if you mess up; acrylic paint is opaque, even in white, so you'll be able to completely cover any marker mistakes. Just don't use something with a very thin tip, like a pencil or pen, as they can poke through the paper of the parasol. If you're comfortable drawing freehand, you can also sketch out other designs on your parasol at this point, like hearts and skulls, or bats.
Next find a ventilated area to work. Spread out enough newspaper to rest your open parasol on when you're done; you won't want to close it again until the paint is totally dry. Since a parasol is a large area to cover, it's best to use a larger paint brush for everything except detail work, or it will take you forever to paint. Even with a large brush though, it will take a while, and you can use the spray bottle of water to keep the acrylic paint on your palette from going stiff while you're painting. Be especially gentle when painting the creases of the parasol, but don't be afraid to put on a sufficiently thick layer. Acrylic paint remains flexible, even when dry, and it will bend with the creases when you reclose your parasol.
For the finishing touch, tie your ribbon and lace to the nub on top of the parasol. Pay attention to which direction the strands are facing when you tie the knot, because that's where they will naturally lie.