The shaft of an umbrella is made of either wood, steel, aluminum or fiberglass. The fabric used for the canopy is most commonly nylon taffeta that has an acrylic coating on the underside and a scotch-guard type finish on the topside. Modern umbrellas also have canopies made of microfiber fabric with water repellent finishes. The ribs, stretchers, runner and handle are made of wood, metal, plastic or another material.

The shaft is the stick in the middle of the umbrella that has the handle on the end of it. The canopy is the top main piece of an umbrella. It must be made of a water resistant fabric to protect against the elements. The ribs run underneath the canopy to its edges. The stretchers attach the ribs to the shaft of the umbrella. The runner is the piece that moves along the shaft of the umbrella as it opens and closes. Umbrellas are assembled by hand. A thin, round nylon or plastic piece with teeth around the edges is attached to the end of the shaft. The ribs are attached to that piece and held with thin wire. The stretchers and the runner are connected with a small jointed metal hinge. The canopy has to be hand-sewn to the ribs in individual panels, so that it follows the curve of the ribs.