Independence day has been filled with parades for a very long time for me. The marching bands are what the Boyfriend likes best but my favs are the floats. I'm delighted and it's almost like being a kid again.
I had another chance to do a parade float this year. Part of me really enjoys it and another part doesn't. It's a great creative DIY outlet that's a lot of fun but the uncertainty of how to do it and if it will turn out is a challenge. Some people think it will come together automatically because you're a creative and that it's no big deal, whlie others think it isn't going to work out at all. In the process, you'll swing back and forth like a pendulum.
There's a lot of people web searching this time of year for DIY float building info. Last year's 5 Parade Float Quick Tips (found here) has been viewed and reused. So, I thought I'd share 7 ideas about parade float designing.
Parade Float Designing • 7 Quick Tips
Since the float this year had a fish theme I thought I'd play that up with the tips.
#1 Fish for the Big Picture
You're likely doing this for an organization of some type. Think of their purposes for wanting the float. What do they hope for an outcome? Are they interested in the process and having a lot of people involved? Or is it an outreach in the community? Or is it a tradition of fun? Or is it to show a strong brand? Whatever the reason, you should understand it. This float was about involving people in the process, name recognition in the community, and a Christian message.
People: We had about 40 people work on the float
Recognition: Passing out info cards & candy during the parade
Message: Free to be Fishers of Men - Bible verse used as the message
#2 Fish for an Original Idea
It all comes down to having an idea. Sometimes that can be hard to do. One tip is to look for inspiration to borrow and then make it your own. Here are 2 inspiration images that I found.
I liked the idea of dots and stripes. I thought that would be easy for our group of varying ages to do. I also borrowed the color scheme of the group of Nassos' fish. Here's how our fish turned out. We made them out of paper plates, poster board, & paper mache.
Another idea I borrowed was from Helen Friel's paper work of an underwater scene that displays jewelry. I took her small version and went up in scale by a lot.
You can see that ours doesn't look like Helens but that you can see the similarity of the borrow. I used foam core (instead of plywood) so that we could have many young people involved in the cutting and painting.
#3 Fish for the Love
You're going to be with this idea awhile. Make sure you love it so that you can hang in there with it. Nothing says failure like hating an idea.
#4 Fish for Solutions
Things just aren't going to go 100% your way. Have that in your head at the start so when it comes up you already knew it would. Listen to others ideas during the process.
#5 Fish till the End
Don't give up. Sometimes things don't look like they're going to work out, only to be proved wrong. Stick with it. Creativity is often messy in the middle.
#6 Fish for Harmony
With a big group, you're likely to have a wide range of interest and skill levels. To make it look good and like everyone worked together keep a 1) limited color palette, 2) repetitive shapes, and 3) easy to accomplish tasks.
#7 Fish for the Wow!
Wow them in some way. Surprise them with something a little different. Make it stand out - in a good way. For this float I had the whale shoot water out of its spout. The crowd loved it especially since it was hot. I left an opening in the top of the whale and had one of my kids sit inside with buckets of water and a pool water shooter. You can see him trying it out on a passing friend. During the parade he was hidden from view. The water shot up about 15 feet in the air. It worked perfectly.
Hope these tips help you in your parade float madness. I don't know if I'll be asked to do a float next year but if I do I'll read through my own notes as a reminder but until then we'll say good-bye to float building.
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