Decorating a parade float can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. You can go with a really simple float with minimal decoration, or you can create a realistic and memorable scene. Decorating a parade float can take days, depending on how many parts you need to make ahead of time and how much drying time you'll need. The cost of decorating a parade float will also vary depending on how you decide to decorate it. You want to make the decorations durable enough to make it through the parade, and the decorations should follow a theme or create a scene.
Decide what you want the float to look like when you are finished, and sketch it out on a piece of paper. Draw as many details as you can think of. The drawing does not have to be good, as long as you know what you are drawing.
Separate the parts of the float into construction projects. For example, if you plan to have trees on the float, those can be made separately. If you plan to have a house, a rainbow or a car, make these separately and attach them to the float later.
Choose the materials you plan to work with. If you are going to create objects out of flowers, buy flowers in the appropriate colours and sheets of foam board on which to stick the flowers. If you plan to make things out of paper maché, you'll need cardboard and balloons to construct the form and lots of flour and newspaper to make the paper maché cover. You can also create pieces of the float with cardboard and tissue paper. You can construct a model out of cardboard and then cover it with coloured tissue paper.
Build the pieces to go on your float. Decorate all the pieces and paint anything that needs to be painted.
Allow enough time for all the paper maché, glue and paint to dry.
Lay down plywood if the base for your float is a flatbed truck or trailer. If your base is a pickup truck, lay plywood down in the bed and cover the sides of the truck with material to coordinate with your float decorations.
Attach your models and decorations to the float by creating simple wood bases and nailing them to the plywood floor of the float. If a particular item is big enough and heavy enough to hold its own weight down, you can simply position it on the float where you want it to be. You can attach pieces to each other by nailing, gluing or pinning. How you attach the pieces will depend primarily on the materials you used to build the items. Paper maché pieces can easily be pinned together. Wood pieces can be nailed together. Floral foam can be attached with glue.
Plan out exactly what you want to do ahead of time, and give yourself plenty of time.
When choosing material, be aware of the possible weather conditions. Tissue paper can be easily ruined in rain or wind. When attaching items, make sure they are firmly in place and don't cause a hazard for those on the float.