Tips for Decorating Floats for a Parade

No matter what size or type, decorating floats for a parade can be an easy and fun task. All it takes is the right tools and good planning.

The Idea
Ask parade sponsors if there is a theme for the event. The float should incorporate the prescribed theme. If there isn't a theme, be creative. The sky is the limit when it comes to ideas.

Brainstorm possible designs. Advertising slogans, pop culture, and community ties are popular ways to combine a float idea with a parade theme. Once an idea is selected, sketch a rough plan. This not only shows how the idea translates on paper, it also gives an idea of the supplies needed to complete the design.

The Framework
Build a lightweight frame, place artificial grass on the floor work, and begin to decorate. All materials should be flame resistant. If you use chicken wire, lay out the design to show where different colors go. Mark the area with spray paint. Once dry, it's time to stuff. Chicken wire can be stuffed with individual squares of tissue paper. Spray the wire lightly with a spray adhesive. Then, grab a tissue pom, form it into a cone, using the tip of the index finger, and place it into the chicken wire. This can be time consuming, but by dividing the area into sections and working in teams, the stuffing time speeds up.

A second option is to use corrugated cardboard in place of the chicken wire. You may choose to spray paint the cardboard before adding tissue paper. It's best to work in a small section so the adhesive doesn't dry too quickly. Use the same cone method and place the pom three inches apart on the cardboard. Poms can be placed closer together for a detailed look. Cardboard droops in humid conditions, so it's best to add these panels just prior to the parade.

The Finishing Touches
Add a few finishing touches to give the float a hint of pizzazz

  • Festooning resembles a Hawaiian lei and covers seams or outlines the fringe skirting. Attach with a staple gun.
  • Fringe or skirting hangs from the trailer edge. Keep it a few inches above the ground.
  • Spray paint can add special shadowing and highlighting.
  • Lettering gets the message across. Pre-cut lettering is available or make your own out of styrofoam or cardboard.
  • Balloons are an inexpensive addition.
  • Crepe paper streamers can replace tissue paper to cut costs.

Planning a float requires minimal planning and a lot of imagination. Follow these tips for a float that will wow the crowd.

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