Decorating Ideas for Boat Parades

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Utilize a diverse array of visual tools to create an eye-catching design.

No matter the parade you're participating in, decorating your boat must be a priority if you want a chance at winning an award. Browse through previous boat parade designs and try to come up with an original idea that is likely to attract jury votes if nicely executed. Criteria boat parade judges commonly consider include creativity of the design, quality of the execution and how well the decorations adhere to the theme. Other criteria include special effects, crowd engagement and the crew's participation in terms of creating atmosphere and wearing costumes that match the theme.


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Light Decorations

Lights give a festive appearance to your display. Embellish your boat using outdoor Christmas lights, which are suitable if the parade extends over several days and your boat will be visible at nighttime. Opt for battery-operated lights or connect the lights to your boat's power source. Rope lights work best on boats, because they are easy to hang. If working with other types of light, use clear fishing line to tie the lights and make sure they won't fall overboard. Secure loose cables with tape.


Papier Mache Sculptures

Oversized cartoon characters draw the attention to your boat. Choose a character that fits the theme of the parade. If you take part in a Christmas parade, create a sculpture of Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Popeye is a perennial nautical fixture. Prepare a sketch of the figurine you want to create and make a wire armature. The armature is necessary for an oversized sculpture to straighten its structure. Shred paper into strips and prepare wallpaper paste. Dip the paper in the paste and add each strip to the wire armature until the entire sculpture is covered in a layer of paper. Allow the sculpture to dry and apply up to 10 more layers of paper to obtain a sturdy statue for your boat. Alternatively, after placing the first layer of papier mache, apply liquid plaster evenly on the sculpture. Paint the character and apply at least two layers of varnish, which protects the paper from moisture.



Create a green environment on your boat. If you are preparing for a Christmas parade, place a Christmas tree inside the boat, but make sure it doesn't obstruct the view of the captain, and spread Christmas wreaths made of plants around your boat. For other occasions, choose different types of plants, like bamboo, gunnera or ornamental grass. Place the plants in pots or planters and distribute them around the boat, checking to see if they are visible from every angle. Put some lights on the plants to create a special effect for night viewers.


Flags and Banners

Rent flags of the world to create an international boat. Alternatively, print out a few banners with characters, mottoes or perhaps a photo-realistic drawing that creates the illusion of a different space, like stairs leading up to the moon. Secure these to the sails of the boat. Order decals and attach these to the sides of your boat on the above-water hull, but make sure the glue on the back of the decals is easy to clean and won't stick to the paint of your boat.


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