Directions for Making Shoebox Parade Floats


You can have almost as much fun with a shoebox parade as with a real parade. Make one float with a simple covered box, or design a whole parade with themed floats. Decorate your floats with paints, markers, buttons or discarded costume jewelry, and use toys and dolls you already own as riders.

The Basics

  • Shoebox parade floats are made from cardboard boxes, decorations, stuffed animals, dolls, toys and anything else you'd like to use. First decide what kind of float you want to make. If you're making a whole parade, you can have a different theme for each float. Next, cover the outside of your box and the lid. Use wrapping paper, freezer paper, contact paper, construction paper or sheets from a large drawing pad. Or paint your box and lid and let them dry. Turn the box upside down and glue the lid to one end in an "L" shape. Glue on decorations, dolls or stuffed animals.

Rose Parade

  • Make a parade inspired by the Rose Parade (see resources section). Some of the floats have included themes based on fictional characters from movies and books, a castle, a pirate ship, a jungle and dinosaurs. Make a jungle float by covering your box and lid with green paper or painting it green, then gluing on artificial leaves and grass. Add animal figures such as lions, tigers and giraffes, or use dinosaur figures to make a prehistoric float. Make a Statue of Liberty float by preparing your box in the same way. Sculpt a Statue of Liberty from air-dry clay, then paint it green and glue it to your box. If you have a pirate-movie action figure, use your box as the bottom of a pirate ship. Paint it gray or brown. Make sails from white paper and glue them to chopstick masts, then make small holes in the box and push the chopsticks through them. Add an action figure on the "deck" of your ship.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • Make a Thanksgiving Day Parade like the famous one held in New York each year. Decorate your boxes with holiday wrapping paper, stickers, ornaments and ribbons. Add small dolls or stuffed animals. Place a Santa on the last float. Make balloon animals to use as parade balloons (see resources section). Tie a long string around the neck of each balloon animal, then hang it from the ceiling so that it hovers over your shoebox floats. Use tiny dolls, such as those sold in craft stores for use as baby-shower favors, to make a marching band. Paint the dolls navy blue with small dots of gold on each shoulder, or use gold stickers. Line the dolls up in band formation.


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