Soak up School Spirit with a Tropical Float
Posted by paradefloats on June 20, 2009
A tropical themed float is great for summer parades or an early fall homecoming. Creating a Luau float is simple with these float design tips. For more information, check out the How-to-Build a Float book.
Narrow the focus of your theme with a great tropical slogan. You can use one of our suggestions; just substitute your school’s mascot or opponent’s mascot where needed.
-Lei the Bulldogs Down!
-Cast Away the Eagles!
-Leave the Bears in Limbo!
-Welcome to a Lion Paradise!
-The Sun Shines on LSH!
Selecting a slogan helps you decide which decorations will fit well on your float. Before you start decorating decide on a color scheme. To match your tropical theme some great colors include green, blue, orange, yellow/gold, brown, or your school colors.
Once you have your slogan and theme picked out, you’ll want to make a sketch of your float. This will greatly cut down on confusion, mistakes and waste when you build your float. In your sketch, include the placement of your slogan, colors and designs for your decorations. For example, if you want the fringe to be green and the trim to be gold, label this on your sketch.
Next, calculate how much you will need of your building and decorating materials. Here is an approximate break-down of the materials you will need per square foot.
.83 feet of Floral Sheeting
.07 lbs. of Scatter Grass (optional)
.46 feet of Fringe
.74 feet of Festooning
Simply take these measurements and multiply them by the square footage of your trailer. (To determine the square footage, simply multiple the length by the width.) The result is how much material you will need. For example, if your trailer is 200 square feet, you will need 92 feet of fringe (.46 x 200 = 92).
Covering the Trailer
The first step for decorating is covering your trailer to create a base for the other decorations. Cover the deck and sides of the float completely with floral sheeting (Scatter grass or grass mats can be used instead for a more natural look). For a tropical float, metallic dark blue floral sheeting is a great choice.
Attach fringe to the bottom of each side of the trailer. This will cover the wheels and make the float look like it really is “floating.” Fringe is sold in 10’ packages. Metallic gold is a good choice for a tropical float.
Outline the sides of your float with festooning. Attach the festooning between the floral sheeting on the deck and the floral sheeting on the sides of the trailer. This creates a color contrast while creating even edges for a crisp look. You can also use festooning between the floral sheeting and the fringe on the sides.
Add your float slogan to the side of the trailer with Styrofoam letters and numbers. The letters can be attached to the floral sheeting with hot glue or nailed to a piece of plywood placed behind the floral sheeting. You can paint the letters with interior latex paint.
Now it’s time to build your decorations. There are some decorations that you don’t have to construct yourself. Some examples include Mylar suns, gossamer palm trees, sand, water gossamer or water poly vinyl, beach chairs, beach balls, leis, or your school mascot dressed in beach clothing.
Here are some suggestions for decorations you can build and personalize yourself. Get creative!
Construct a giant sun for one side (or more) of your float by covering a corex circle with metallic gold floral sheeting. You can also make a mold in the shape of a sun using chicken wire with 1” holes, which you can find at hardware or farm supply stores. Stuff the holes with parade pomps and paste. Secure the chicken wire circle to a wood base and support the curve with dowel rods.
Use gold gossamer to create an island in the middle of your float. Add some real sand and giant seashells to accent the beach look.
You can construct your own palm trees using chicken wire, wood, pomps, and green fringe. Each palm tree should measure approximately 6’ high and 10” in diameter. Make a tube using 6’ high x 20” wide chicken wire. Attach the wire to a vertical wood beam and fill it with brown tissue pomps, placed in every other opening. Attach each tree to a wooden base for support. To make the palm leaves, attach strong, but thin wire to the top of each tube and hang green fringe from the wires.
Inflate metallic latex balloons and parrot mylar balloons with helium and tie them together with curling ribbon. Make four separate bunches and place one at each corner of your float.
Accent any of the above decorations with a Luau Hut and Aloha Banner or a personalized luau banner. Use palm leaf thatching for an authentic accent and for a fun look add some standing flamingos.
Have the people riding your float wear sunglasses and toss out leis or beach balls to the parade crowd, they’ll love it!