The Surprising Process Behind One of Your Favorite Souvenirs
Paper umbrellas are not only beautiful, but they're true pieces of handmade art.
For many, oil paper umbrellas are treasured souvenirs that earned a coveted spot in already overflowing suitcases. You can find the paper umbrellas in many places around the world, including Northern Thailand. How It's Made—a science channel focusing on how different things around the world are put together—shared some insight into how those paper umbrellas are created.
The most mesmerizing point of the footage may be the expert use of traditional Thai drills, which are used to drill holes in the umbrella spines to better hold everything together. The various design details—tiny slots in the umbrella spines to give the entire umbrella flexibility, hand-carved notches for attaching the umbrella ribs, paper made from the Saa tree—make it the perfect thing to bring back home after your Thai vacation.
About that Saa Tree: in order to make the paper umbrella covering, leaves from the tree are soaked in water for 12 hours, boiled for another four hours, and smashed with mallets to create pulp. The resulting pulp is bleached, washed, and scattered into a large bin of water. Afterwards, a rectangular screen is run through the water, catching pulp and creating a sheet of wet pulp. It's then left out to dry in the sun for four hours and cut into the correct shape. Whew. How's that for handiwork?
Check out the full video above—then take some time to read about how those mini-paper umbrellas you find in cocktails are actually hiding a secret message.