Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Collecting Tiki

Lantern umbrella picks-- still available anywhere?

Pages: 1 2 81 replies


Sorry to say, I don't have good photos of these. I used to, from some or other import website which had them...until I went to buy some and they weren't there any more.

Both versions have the main part built exactly like a paper parasol pick, except that two of the umbrellas are attached at their wide ends, forming a 'paper lantern.' One version, and I actually have 5 of these (one of each color) from an estate sale, have the lantern mounted at the end of a long wooden pick; they came 'closed' (narrow) like a parasol pick, and when the lower end was pushed up the stick, it opens/widens the lantern.

The others are pictured (though small) in this post:
There's a blue one in the Hilton Hawaiian Village menu, on the Tapa Punch, and in this post:
They're on all four middle mugs in the top row. They have a long bamboo or wood pick that's curved at one end. The tip of the curved end has a 'lantern' suspended on a bit of string. I REALLY want to find these.

Does anybody know who sells these, or have a pack of them I could buy? I don't imagine I'd use a lot of them, but once in a while they'd be great!


When i first saw the hanging style, right away i knew i wanted some and thought i'd be able track some down when i visited the U.S. but easier said than done.
In 2014 driving from Florida to Texas we came across two thrift stores in the middle of nowhere (i'm not sure if it was still in Florida or Alabama or even Mississippi) and my partner found three packets hanging on a rack in one of them. From memory each pack had a sticker saying $5 on it, which i was willing to pay no problem, but that was obviously the original new price as they only ended up costing 50c each.

Unfortunately when we opened them they turned out to be just the 'pick' style. (The picture on the packet showed the hanging style).

When i got back home and posted about them somewhere, a friend said she had some of the hanging style which she was kind enough to give me a few of. I think she said she bought them several years ago off eBay and they had actually come from the U.K.

Good luck with your hunt TorchGuy.

I bought a vintage package of them off of etsy 2-3 years ago.

I have some somewhere in the Sharkbite Bar. I’ll post a pic as soon as I find em. I have no idea where I got them. They are unlike the ones pictured.

Wow those are rad. How did I not know these existed before now? Time to search the Internet for some...

I had some awhile back but can't seem to find them in my area again.


They look easy enough to make. I'll try to rig one up and post a pic.


Thanks to everyone who replied with information! I'll keep hunting (on eBay and Etsy), and if anyone finds some spares they'd let go, let me know.


Ah, what the hell, as long as I'm making things, I should try this as well:


I think I got some at party city maybe 7 or 8 years ago.


"7 or 8 years ago" sounds about right for when I found them on Oriental Trading Co's website, but as soon as I returned to buy them, they weren't there any more. I've asked several party stores in my area, and no one I asked says they've seen these, though they all have the normal umbrellas.

I just tried eBay and Etsy, and looked through eBay's closed auctions, but no terms I searched brought up any. The closest I've found are two links through Google Images showing the non-hanging variety, both for Chinese manufacturers and both of the "here's a zillion things we make, please send us business inquiries, minimum order 10,000 units" sort.

So someone (in Serbia) still makes them! Excellent. I tried searching for "hanging lantern picks," and the only other result is a company selling the same thing, but with a cheap honeycomb crepe paper thing.

On 2016-02-24 04:45, tikigreg wrote:
They look easy enough to make. I'll try to rig one up and post a pic.

I'm with Greg. Looks like 2 partially opened umbrellas joined together. The hard part is curving the stick it hangs from.


On 2016-02-25 15:21, MadDogMike wrote:
The hard part is curving the stick it hangs from.

All you'd have to do Mike is soak some bamboo skewers in water and bend them and then when they are dry they should hold that position. You might have to try and speed up the drying process by putting them in the oven so that they don't spring back though.


The two umbrellas are actually attached, so that they can be opened or closed all the way. In both on-the-pick and hanging styles, they're hinged by having the ends of the ribs attached.



Lights for home and
commercial TIKI bars.

Those are great, Tikiskip! A triple umbrella? Multiple sizes of lanterns? Hanging lantern too? But...where can I buy some? Or are those older ones you've collected?


I made the triple umbrella and Multiple sizes of lanterns. So six of the twelve I made.
Going to make a triple lantern next and get into the hanging lantern.

But the ones I did not make are just ones I picked up over the years.
Went shopping today and found the regular size umbrellas at World market, Meyer's,
and Party City.
Party City was the cheapest.
I used these to make the small lanterns.
Good luck finding the big umbrellas lord knows where I got those.

Have a big box of picks somewhere that I can't find.
Used to put holiday picks on my food at my restaurant Jacks, now those picks sell on eBay
kinda high.

You need to just buy it when you find it, where you find it.

Will post more as I make em.

Good Luck!


Love that triple one Skip.


Those paper umbrellas are cool.
The ones I have are not near as old.

Here's the thing though, some of mine are rotted with holes and are very delicate.
So take care that your not buying ones with hole in them.


Did get one more made.
Got a bent stick as well.

Could see how you could make large tiki bar light like these.
Thanks for getting me into this TorchGuy.

See it over here...


I'd love to see a how-to-- I'd like to make the hanging lantern, standing lantern, and triple umbrella. Beautiful work, and I'm not sure I could duplicate it, but I'd like to try!


Will do TorchGuy.
Don't hold your breath though.


Skip- way Kool
Is there anything you can't make?


Thank you Torchguy and hang10tiki.
Got lots of time on hand till summer.

This is what we will look at/make.

WHAT is this!!!

WOW that's a big one!

Guess my favorite one here.

YES that is real tapa!

Stay tuned will do how-to on my thread, Soon ish.


Freekin awesome


Suspense is killing me. I would definitely buy one of the Tiki Skip umbrellas to add to my tiki mug and stuff display case.


That is a great addition kohalacharms.
Going to copy and paste it in case it may go away someday.
Have wondered when these first came out.
Would bet that they are made the same way to this day.
Can’t be but one or two companies in the world making these.

Am doing a how to make one of these with your own logo on my thread over here….

The Exciting History and Origin of the Cocktail Umbrella

March 21, 2014 /
Written by Rochelle Bilow

A classic tiki cocktail is a thing of beauty: Syrupy sweet with plenty of rum and enough fruit to almost classify it as healthy. (Hey, we said almost.) But perhaps the best part of all is the presentation: a giant coconut (bonus points if it’s real), a snazzy swizzle stick (if you’re lucky), and, of course, a cocktail umbrella. We love this little parasol so much that we wanted to learn more about it: Where did it come from? Does it actually serve a purpose? Why do we all love it so?

Our search led us to two of the first known tiki bars, both opened in 1934: Don the Beachcomber, in Hollywood, and Trader Vic’s, which set up shop in San Francisco.

Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, the owner of Don’s, traveled the world as a youth, then worked as a bootlegger throughout Prohibition; he then brought his two passions—exotic locales and booze—together in his now legendary bar. Why the tiki theme? He is quoted as having said, once, “If you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you.” That’s not to say Gantt’s expression of paradise was entirely authentic to Polynesian culture: His crafted cocktails may have been tasty and unique, but they were completely original, and all based on rum—a spirit which was cheap and easy to come by in the post-Prohibition era.

Vic Bergeron, a bartender who lived in Cuba and Hawaii to learn about tropical cocktails, then transformed his original bar, called Hinky Dinks, into a tiki-themed paradise. Trader Vic’s is now a franchise restaurant and bar that serves up classic cocktails, including the mai tai—which Vic has been credited with creating.

This is all fascinating stuff, but why top the drinks with an umbrella, specifically? Why not, say, a miniature lei or a tiny faux-bottle of sunscreen? This is where things get a little murkier. Some speculate that the cocktail umbrella was a marketing ploy to lure women to the bars—after all, what lady can resist a darling paper parasol in her mai tai?

Is it possible the tiki umbrella could serve a more practical purpose? Could those little parasols could keep your icy drink from melting in hot weather? On the more serious side of things, could the alcohol evaporate out of the drink if it’s not shaded from the sizzling heat of the sun?

Peter Vollhardt, a professor of chemistry at the University of California–Berkeley, offered a more logical explanation: “Once the ice is melted, the [temperature] will rise above 0 degrees Celsius and the alcohol vapor pressure will increase. However, this is all immaterial since nobody waits that long to finish a cocktail.” Daniel Weix, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Rochester, explains further: “[Evaporation] will not be faster in direct sunlight vs. darkness if the temperature is the same. My verdict—the alcoholic content of your drink is not in danger regardless of umbrella-ness.”

So there’s the science. Aduni Lemieux, the general manager of The Rusty Knot in Manhattan and a tiki bar veteran herself—she started working at Ciral’s Tiki House in Chicago back in the ’90s—had a different theory. “This may be purely speculation,” she says, “but I wonder if the soldiers who were stationed in the South Pacific had anything to do with it. That was Ciral’s goal, anyway—he served, and wanted to bring some of that back home to Chicago. That’s why he opened a tiki bar.”

At Otto’s Shrunken Head, a self-described “divey tiki bar” in Manhattan, not only do classic drinks get an umbrella, they also come adorned with a seahorse stirrer, firecracker straw, and a plastic monkey whose tail curls gracefully around the glass. Nell Mellon, co-owner of the bar, purchases all of those accoutrements from Dynasty, a wholesale distributer based out of Woodside, N.Y.

“The alcoholic content of your drink is not in danger regardless of umbrella-ness.”

Lo and behold, the brand logo for Dynasty prominently features that iconic umbrella! Co-owner Lillian Wong explains that it was the first thing Dynasty imported when the company was starting out in 1988. Wong’s father used to own Polynesian-themed restaurants in Massachusetts, so the tiki theme runs deep. From there, Wong and her husband, Eric, began importing party favors, cocktail stirrers and picks as supplemental income when they were younger; soon the company grew, eventually importing, according to Dynasty’s website, “everything that a good Asian restaurant could ask for.” So, who actually manufactures those little umbrellas?

“China,” Wong says. “Just China.”

After all this history and folklore, who was the first person to actually put an umbrella in a cocktail? Jeff Berry, tiki drink historian and author of six books on the subject, has the answer: “A bartender named Harry Yee at the Hilton Waikiki was the first. He used to garnish his cocktails with a stick of sugarcane, but that was at the time that everybody was still smoking cigarettes. After they chewed on the sugarcane, they’d set it in the ashtrays, and he would have to scrub them clean. So he came up with something new.”

Yee first used an orchid in his garnishes, but the umbrella is what really took off: “People really do call tiki cocktails ‘umbrella drinks’ now,” says Berry. The first cocktail to get an umbrella was the tapa punch, in 1959, according to an article written by journalist Rick Carroll in 1998. So why were those little umbrellas hanging around? Berry surmises they were used as toothpicks and garnishes for food—or, possibly, “people put them in their hats!”

(Oh wait! We only just realized that Yee, who was born in 1920, is still alive! We’ve reached out to him for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.)

After decades of kitsch, does anyone actually like those little umbrellas? “Well,” says the Rusty Knot’s Lemieux, “ours are purely decorative, and they only come in traditional tiki drinks, like a colada. And people ask for them! There’s always a sweet young lady who’s upset that her drink didn’t come with the topper. I tell her, ‘Honey, a vodka tonic doesn’t traditionally include an umbrella.'”


I got mine at a garage sale years ago. They are very frail and break easily.
The green one ( top) is partially open, the red one on the far right is opened to the extreme. The ceramic elephant ( appetizer holder) dates from the 50’s and I forget where I got it. I use it to hold my umbrellas when serving cocktails to guests.

[ Edited by: nui 'umi 'umi 2016-03-04 20:58 ]


Those are nice.

like the pick holder.


I like the PT 109 centerpiece.

Very Kool

I'd like to see one of these loaded up skip

Good idea Jon, I have one of dem Treasure craft hors d’oeuvres holders just gathering dust around here.

Not zackly cocktail umbrellas but I didn’t want to start a new thread. Got em on sale at a local retailer. My wife saw them and so we bought them. I was not initially impressed.After I strung em up I decided that I need more. I intend to hide the cord and the worklight will be gone ounce I finish the latest project involving my bar. The umbrella frames are made of plastic-the covers are a very fine mesh nylon.

Double post

[ Edited by: nui 'umi 'umi 2016-05-03 23:44 ]


They are VERY cool David. I want some.

As a suggestion, if i were to mount them i think i'd get a length of bamboo in a narrow diameter and cut out a channel along the back to accommodate the wires and then cut a little groove/notch at the interval of each umbrella where the top of it could 'lock' into and keep them all hanging straight down in the same direction.

Tanks for the tips Robbie.The umbrellas can be easily removed from the light sockets so I am certain that your idea is very doable.


Following the saga of these umbrella lantern picks got me to wondering about the other picks in this shot, specifically the little honeycomb crepe lanterns hanging off of the Island Chief and Hula Surfer Girl mugs:

Unless I am mistaken, it seems as though they are also no longer being produced. I was able to find only one other reference online to them even existing, and that's only because they were in a box of other items in which the poster was actually interested:

It looks as though they would be easy enough to reproduce, if you can find a crepe ball small enough to cut to shape and size...


Yes those are cool...
love that old Honeycomb stuff, but it is so fragile.
I did make a different kind of lantern pick out of wood, will post pic soon.


Or buy this and make a bunch of them.


[ Edited by: tikiskip 2016-05-16 03:29 ]


On 2016-05-16 02:36, tikiskip wrote:
Yes those are cool...


Or buy this and make a bunch of them.


[ Edited by: tikiskip 2016-05-16 02:49 ]

A-HA! Somehow I knew you'd have the magic search string to find more of them. Such a shame though that the ones that have survived are so weathered. The examples from that ebay auction are in comparatively good shape.


I did add a picture to the last one.
But yeah the coolest stuff is so delicate, seems like we just don't make that kind of stuff anymore.

Um, Japan does not make that kind of stuff anymore.


Pages: 1 2 81 replies