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HOW TO BUILD A PARADE FLOAT

 


 

FLORAL SHEETING
FRINGE
LETTERS
TWISTS
TISSUE-POMPS
HOW TO BUILD-A-FLOAT
KITS

PROPS

CALCULATE  WHAT I NEED

 

 

 


ANY TRAILER WILL WORK - UTILITY - LOW BOY - HAY - GARDEN -BOX -TILT

THIS ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE - IT REALLY IS QUITE EASY - IT'S NOT LIKE YOU'RE BUILDING THE TAJ-MAHAL. 

HAVE  YOU CALLED YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR HIGH SCHOOL SOME OF THESE SCHOOLS HAVE

MOST HAVE STAGE OR SET DESIGNERS USUALLY COLLEGE KIDS FOR THEIR DRAMA - THEATER - ACTING - THESPIANS - CLUBS

After you choose your float size, try to determine what message you want to convey, staying within the parameters of the parade theme. If your theme is humorous, make sure that no one will be offended by it. Always use good taste and remember that no one likes a blatant advertisement so try to keep your message subtle and positive.
Another important design consideration is the capabilities of your float builders. If you're  planning on having elaborate props or woodwork, make sure that you have access to someone who is a capable technician, with proper tools and equipment. If you have electrical requirements, consult a qualified electrician*. Animations and prop movements can also be human-powered. Simple pulleys and rope can be used to make props rotate and move.

*Some parades do not allow gas-powered engines or generators on the float itself. Always consult the Fire Marshall and Parade Chairman before finalizing your float design.


Beginning Construction

There are a few items you will want to have on hand before building your float. A staple gun, nails, wire, chicken-wire, 1" X 1" and 2" X 2" construction grade wood and plywood can be purchased at your local hardware store.
*Float entries most often must be approved by the Parade Chairman
before allowed into the parade.

Once you have an approved* float design and all of the necessary materials you are ready to begin construction.
 

Utility Trailer floats / Low-boy trailers are great for float building!

Low-boy type trailers usually have rails around the perimeter. The instructions below will show you how you can create a great looking basic float for your next parade!


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Pallets - Milk Crates - Egg crates whatever can be used to build a partial or full sub-structure
 to elevate the platform of the float.


 


CLICK TO ENLARGE

It is a good idea to build a partial deck that will be even with the top rails of the float. You can use good quality pallets to make a platform. Make sure the pallets are firmly fastened to the bed of the float.

its not rocket science
 

Next, lay sheet plywood over the pallets.  Now you will have a platform for your props and an area in the bed where float riders can stand or sit.

If your float riders will be standing, make a stanchion/pillar and secure it to the
 trailer bed so that they have something to hold onto while traveling the parade route.  Remember...

Safety first
!

 

Attachment of skirt frame and sheet plywood.

After the plywood is laid over the pallets, build a skirt frame using 1" X 1" or 2" X 2" pieces of wood and fasten the frame to the trailer rails and the plywood.

 

Be sure to terminate the skirt frame approximately 16" from the ground and allow for tongue movement at the front of the float.

 

The skirt frame is used to hide the wheels and undercarriage. Any number of items can be used to fasten the skirt frame to the rails: plumbers tape or construction U-shaped brackets are ideal for attachment of the skirt frame to the trailer bed rails

 

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Decorating the Float

Deck and side skirts: Calculate the floral sheeting requirements in square yards by multiplying the length times the width of each differently colored area, (floral Sheeting comes 36" wide by 10 yard lengths).

Cut the floral sheeting as needed and attach to the bottom of the skirt and staple to the deck of the trailer.


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Next, apply FBS INDUSTRIES floral sheeting by stapling it to the wood skirt frame as shown above.

Attachment of floral sheeting to the skirt
frame.

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Additionally, you can use our floral sheeting to cover the deck-platform as well as on the bed of the float.

 


Attachment of fringe to the floral sheeting and wood skirt frame

 

Next, staple "Fringe" into the wood skirt frame at the bottom of the frame.


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It is ok to staple through the decorating material and into the wood frame. This will give your float the "floating" appearance.

 

Using Twists to hide the seam between the floral sheeting and fringe

To hide the seam between the float fringe and floral sheeting, use FBS INDUSTRIES Twists(a stiff-wire "christmas tree like" garland comes in 25' lengths).


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The twist color/s you choose allows you to add even more color to your float! Twists can be stapled through the fringe and floral sheeting materials and into the wood frame.

 

 

 

 

Attachment of twists to top of fringe panels.
Whether you use floral sheeting or fringe-panels on the sides of your float, it is a good idea to use Twists ing to finish the edges of the float. You can use Twists  in a color other than your fringe panels to add more color to your float!


An alternative to using floral sheeting, you can also use "fringe panels"

This sketch uses a longer fringe-skirt instead of a floral sheeting product. This skirt is 30"x12ft and is designed to give the float a taller "floating" appearance.

lb7.gif (40973 bytes)

Many float builders like to use our fringe-panels because of the ease of decorating.

lb8.gif (41345 bytes)

Here it is!   The Finished Product!
This float concept uses the longer fringe panels and pallets
across the entire trailer bed to create a level deck area.

 
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