Things You'll Need
Battery-powered rope lights
Long nails or light hanging kit
Empty tissue boxes
Glow-in-the-dark spray paint
With a bit of planning and creativity, you can put together a brightly lit parade float on a minuscule budget. Before you get started, find out if anyone you know owns roped Christmas lights or other battery-powered lights that might be useful. Borrowed lights will save you money that can be invested into more lights or fancier decorations for the float.
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Hang battery-powered rope lights all the way around the base of the float by draping them over long nails or using a Christmas light hanging kit. To ensure that the lights are visible in the daylight, stack three or four rows of lights and opt for motion lights or sets that flash on and off.
Create decorations using materials with reflective surfaces, like Mylar or glitter paint. The shiny materials will reflect the lights hung near them, producing a twinkling effect and creating the illusion that your float is outfitted with more lights than it actually is.
Build makeshift spotlights using flashlights and tissue boxes. Decorate the outside of the boxes and fill them with rocks to weight them down. Position the boxes in key spots on the float, and insert a hand-held flashlight in each one so it points out at an angle and illuminates people or decor in one area of the float.
Spray some of the decorations on the parade float with glow-in-the-dark paint. After dusk, turn off all of the lights on the float to give viewers an unexpected treat.