Tips on Making a Parade Float

27 August 2018

We love having lots of amazing, colourful floats in the Trustpower Christmas Parade and so we are encouraging as many schools, kindy’s, businesses, groups and clubs to participate as possible. To help get you started we thought that we would give you a few quick tips on what to think about to make it as easy as possible.  

There are five simple rules;

  1. Start with a good design - Brainstorm ideas and decide what you want your float to look like.  Think about a theme and work your ideas around that theme. Think about how you can make it colourful, fun and above all safe.  
  2. Decide on a budget – Its important to set a budget for your float so that you do not get too carried away. Think about the accessories and what can be reused and recycled. How are you going to get the size and scale right without it costing a fortune? Look at the design that you came up with in step one and see if you can have all the parts you want within your budget. If not simplify the design or get creative and beg, borrow and hire.
  3. Use and reuse good materials – Sometimes its worth an investment in the first year, if it is something that you can reuse each year it has longevity and is an investment especially if it is something that you can use in different ways.  Look at ways to  upcycle or reuse something that would otherwise go to landfill. For example, if you are a school or kindy keep your paper that is to be thrown away and make paper flowers with chicken wire to make a visual base to your float.


  1. Make sure you have the right tools on hand – Think about what you will need before you start.  There is nothing worse than getting underway and then realising that you have an important part or tool missing.  Make a list of what you will need and remember to include nails, hammer, screws, electric screwdriver, scissors, tape, paint….and the list goes on. Resene test posts can be a great way of adding colour.  The team at Resene are great for colour advice and mixing what you need too.             
  2. Recruit some help.  Its lonely building a float on your own and many hands make light work.  Have a team working bee, play some music, have some laughs and make it a fun and memorable experience, that way next year your helpers will want to come back and help again.

We would also ask you to consider the environment when constructing your float, hence why we suggest that you reuse, recycle and upcycle where you can and we ask that you think about how you can construct your float out of products that are sustainable and that will break down easily in landfill or is biodegradable should you not be using it again next year.  

If you want to get more elaborate with your float, then we cannot recommend highly enough that you speak to Richard from Black Chilli Design.  He can make any idea come to life.   He helps us every year create something memorable for the parade and this year will be no exception.