Replica Props

DIY Building a Mary Poppins Parrot Umbrella Replica Prop

I have always loved movie props.  As a kid, I would marvel at displays of props at amusement parks, museums, and restaurants-especially if they were props from movies I loved.  I realize now that those are often not the real props, but as a child it made those fantastic worlds and amazing characters so much more real.  I love to create replica props from films as display pieces for our home theater.  It is like our own little museum of Hollywood history.   Many of the props I will be showcasing were made for my daughter and were requests from her, although she has made a few of them herself.  I love the film Mary Poppins. I was always fascinated by her umbrella.  There are a few versions of the umbrella out there for purchase, but they are either way out of my price range or not quiet screen accurate because they are based on the Broadway play.

©Mary Poppins (1964) Walt Disney Productions
© Mary Poppins (1964) Walt Disney Productions


The hobby of replica props can be quite the rabbit hole of expenses.  You can by high end licensed replicas, putting you back thousands of dollars.  There are several third-party vendors on sites like eBay, Etsy, and the RPF (Replica Prop Forum) where the craftsmanship can range from criminal rip-offs to screen accurate quality, with a price tag to match.  I try to keep our builds as reasonable and cost effective as possible.  I rarely spend more than $50 on a build.  The umbrella featured below is made for under $10.


The generic black umbrella was purchased for $7.  I removed the wooden handle and found a tube that would snugly slide onto the main tube of the umbrella.  I then sculpted onto this new tube using a product called Super Sculpey.  Super Sculpey is a polymer clay made by a company called Polyform. It can be bought at most craft stores, large-scale supermarkets that have a craft aisle, or on Amazon.  A 1-pound box can range from $10 to $15.  The product never goes bad (in my experience), is nontoxic, and is hardened by baking it in your home oven.  That’s right, there is no need for a high temperature kiln or to worry about it drying out like clay.   The white version is called Sculpey while Super Sculpey is more of a peach/beige color.  Super Sculpey is more durable than normal clay, but still can be fragile.  There are more durable high-end sculpting compounds out there but this should work for the average craft project.

Super Sculpey modeling compound by Polyform
Super Sculpey modeling compound by Polyform


I simply applied each new section layer by layer.  Between each layer I would bake the Sculpey.  I would also go back over it with some putty to smooth it out.



When it was done I finished it off with some yellow doll eyes and an accurate paint job using acrylic enamels.

Mary Poppins umbrella (painted)
Mary Poppins umbrella step by step


Finally, the piece was completed by adding the black tassel.


Until next time…


The Imagine Ears features the DIY projects, adventures, and thoughts of a father and daughter who use a shared love of all things Disney to create memories together through encouraging her interests in architecture, design, Imagineering, while exploring history and science.  


2 thoughts on “DIY Building a Mary Poppins Parrot Umbrella Replica Prop

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