Parade Float Building Skills and Methods
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Parade Float Building Skills and Methods

Parade float building techniques how to build a parade float arts and crafts techniques

Building a carnival float can be a lot of fun but if you can master a few basic parade float building skills your task will be a lot easier. There are lots of tricks of the trade and artistic skills you can use apart from those I will mention but these are the basic parade float building skills that are generally used.

Chicken coop wire and crepe paper

A parade float shape or character can be made out of chicken coop wire fencing which is quite flexible. Then small pieces of crape paper are torn off and rolled between the fingers, then the crape paper is stuffed into each of the holes in the coop wire. A new piece of crape paper is used for each hole in the wire. This gives a textured look and the bright colors of crape paper can be mixed to create a shape which looks like it has been painted.

The head of this figure was made out of paper mache built onto a chicken coop wire frame.

Paper Mache

There are two ways of making paper mache for float building, one is to use strips of newspaper dipped in glue and then draped over your basic frame. The other paper mache method is to make a porridge like mixture of torn up newspaper with glue. This can then be molded into shapes or smeared onto your float shape. For the paper mache glue you can use the traditional flour and water mixture but it is much more common to use a white plastic craft glue. The frame of the shape you are covering can be made out of chicken coop wire or any combination of materials. For making the head of a parade float character you can use a balloon as the base for the paper mache. To create bulky figures using paper mache crumple up large pieces of newspaper, tape them together and then paper mache over them.


Using cheap fabric you can dress a parade float character or use the fabric to drape over the float frame. Buy the fabric for your float making from an arts and crafts store and not from a fabric store where it will be more expensive. You can use a sewing machine but as parade floats are usually dismantled after the parade your sewing does not need to be perfect. You can also use elementary hand sewing skills to create carnival floats.

Here Joseph's coat of many colors was made out of cheap craft fabric on a metal frame.

Use chicken coop wire fencing to form the basic shape of your float figures, then either paper mache over the frame or use the crape paper method to create your float. Finally dress your parade float figures in colorful fabric.

 For more ideas of ways to create a parade float you can read "Useful materials and tools for float building". and "How to build a parade float of the 7 days of creation".

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