Waves for a Parade Float

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About: I am a 7th grade teacher at High Tech Middle Media Arts in San Diego! All of the Instructables are published by my students.

By Heather Major

My 7th grade class at High Tech Middle Media Arts is making a parade float for the Ocean Beach parade. The purpose of our float is to help the Animal Pad find more people to adopt, foster, and donate. The Animal Pad is a 100% non profit organization that rescues dogs from high kill shelters and off the streets of Mexico.

To learn more about the Animal Pad, or our school, HTMMA, click here:

Some of the steps for making the waves were challenging, and some were quite easy.

Materials and Design (Challenging) The materials that you will need to build the waves are:

  • 1 piece of 3ft by 5 1/2ft cardboard (for the shape of the wave).
  • 1 piece of 1ft by 5 1/2ft cardboard Butcher Paper (Optional)
  • Chicken Wire Dark blue tissue paper
  • Royal blue tissue paper (at least a pack of 100)
  • Light blue tissue paper
  • Stuffing (the non-edible kind)
  • White puffy paint
  • Spray adhesive
  • 2 medium sized cardboard boxes
  • 1 pack of Parade Fringe

Step 1: Cutting (Easy)

We decided to cut out the butcher paper first instead of doing the cardboard first, to make sure we got all of the correct measurements. Getting the materials for the waves were challenging because we had trouble finding the correct color for tissue paper and getting the correct amount of it. We had to reorder tissue paper many times because we really underestimated the amount needed.

The first thing we did was we cut out butcher paper into the measurements that we wanted. Then we traced the cut out butcher paper onto cardboard and cut out the cardboard size. Next we bent the cardboard pieces into a wave like shape We accidentally misplaced both the paper cut out, and the cardboard cut out. So make sure you keep an eye on them. This was easy because we had already had the correct measurements, so we just needed to cut it all out.

Step 2: Chicken Wire (Moderate)

After we bent the cardboard, I took chicken wire and wrapped it around the cardboard. Make sure you only put chicken wire on the side that will be showing, rather than the side that will be facing the floor. Also be careful when cutting the chicken wire to the correct length, otherwise the wire may fling back and hit someone. When cutting the chicken wire most of it was quite easy when we had the correct wire cutters, but it was hard the find the correct wire cutters that would work for the chicken wire at first.

Step 3: Wave Supports (Moderate)

We decided to use one cardboard box to hold up each wave. So that the box wasn’t as noticeable, we covered it in royal blue fabric. The supports took us along time. At first we used some small pieces of wood to support the waves, but the tape job was really bad, and it kept falling over. I then decided to use tape to stick the wood to the floor so that it wouldn't slip, but we weren’t going to be able to tape it to the float so that didn’t help. I then decided to use boxes as a temporary support, but it ended up working very well so we decided to use it for our finished product. When covering the boxes in fabric and making them presentable, it was quite simple. It was hard at first because we couldn’t find anything that would work as a support. Once we decided on the boxes though, it was very simple.

Step 4: Tissue Paper (Hard)

The next thing we did was the tissue paper. We decided to use royal blue as the main color. We also used some dark blue at the top, and some baby blue at the bottom. First, we took the squares of tissue paper and folded them in half, then we would pinch the center of that and push the paper up into a flower like shape. Then, we took the ends of the tissue paper and stuck them into the holes of the chicken wire. We also used a little spray adhesive to help the paper stick onto the chicken wire. We kept having to order more tissue paper we thought we had enough, but we didn’t. So during the time we had to wait for the tissue paper to show up, we kept running very close to the deadline. So how ever much you think you may need, multiply it by five. The tissue paper also kept falling out. We had to re-put in the tissue paper more than once, so make sure it is tightly stuck onto the chicken wire. The hardest part about the tissue paper was that it was falling out a lot, and if there was a next time, I would make sure to really tuck the tissue paper under the chicken wire.

Step 5: Parade Fringe Streamers (Moderate)

So after we finished putting on the tissue paper, we put shiny streamers on the side. We were originally going to do the tissue paper on the side as well, but this saved us a lot of time. So we flipped the wave over and taped the streamers onto the wave. Then, we flipped the wave back over and trimmed the streams so that they weren’t touching the floor. When cutting the streamers they got everywhere, so make sure to cut them over a trash can. We could also see some of the cardboard after we taped the streamers on, so we put some of the tissue paper there as well. The reason this was moderate is because it was easy to do all of the cutting and it was easy to place the streamers onto the wave, but the streamers did fall of once so that made it just a little more difficult.

Step 6: Sea Foam (Easy)

After we finished adding the tissue paper and the streamers to the wave, we added some stuffing to the end to imitate sea foam. We took small clumps of the stuffing and glued them onto the end of the wave. We also took some white puffy paint and sprinkled it on top of the stuffing to add texture. Make sure that the puffy paint has dried completely before adding and finishing touches. You should leave it to dry for at least four hours, but you can leave it for six hours just to be sure. This step was very easy since all we needed to do was glue on the foam, and we didn’t have very many problems. The problems that we had though, were very small.

Step 7: Step 7: Final Product

Here is our final product with our surfing dogs on top of the waves. I think it was difficult to make because of all the mistakes we made. The most difficult part was having to keep ordering more tissue paper when we ran out. Another thing that made me frustrated was when the tissue paper kept falling off of the wave, so make sure it is really stuck under the chicken wire. Luckily, some of the steps were quite easy.

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