Float Building Tips

Read our top tips for getting involved and building the perfect float for our 2017 parade which is Carnival Goes Around the World.

To begin with you need to get a clear idea of what you want to do, build your ideas around the theme. The best floats each year are the ones who think of something different and original.

Registration
OK you know the theme and you’ve got your idea, so now you need to register! Email parade@shrewsburycarnival.co.uk or download an application form.

People
It’s up to you how many people you have on your float, but remember you’ll need at least two people to walk alongside your float collecting money for the Carnival. All ages can take part and have fun!

Choosing your float
Most people don’t own a 20 foot trailer; however you might be able to secure the use of one for free or for the cost of the petrol.

You can also look into using a pick up truck, use of a flat bed lorry or even a trolley which you can adapt. Sometimes though it’s easier to use something smaller as they are easier to decorate!

The following companies may be able to provide you with a lorry:

Chris Good – 07836792554
Salop Haulage – 01743 466518
Steve Swain Ltd – 01743 241715
Swains of Stretton – 01743 791744
Pentons of Oswestry – 01691 656922

Decoration and Materials
This is where you can get creative, work within a budget and try not to go over. Look at what art materials you have around you or what you can make with things you may own.

Delve into the depths of your garage or attic; old sheets, cardboard, Christmas Decorations or clothes can all be used. If you have any emulsion paint then why not use that? You usually only need one coat, and it saves you spending lots of money on paint.

Just remember to think about safety, keep your structure strong, and attach your decorations using staple guns, cable ties or glue. Fine detail won’t be picked up, so make things big, bright and eye catching!

Power
You can use the following:
– Generator – ideal if you want to run several sources of light or sound
– Inverter – These can be powered from a car battery, so they might be perfect for you
– Car Battery – This is a good method if you want to attach 12v lighting to your float

Lighting
– Rope lights – Require little power, easy to pick up from hardware stores
– Christmas Tree lights – the cheapest way to light your float
– Spot lights – Great for single features
– Another cheap way to brighten up your float is using shiny materials such foil and glitter

Make sure whatever you use it’s going to be able to cope with the conditions think wind, rain, sun light – will people be even able to pick up on the lights you’re using?

Safety
Top tips to remember:
– Make sure all your decorations are properly secure to you structure
– You shouldn’t have any nails/screws sticking out
– Make sure everyone riding on the float is going to stay safe
– Don’t use any naked flames or fire
– Check that all your electrics will be protected from rain etc
– Make sure your generators are positioned away from any flammable materials
– If you’re using an invert make sure it’s connected to the car battery properly

Have fun!
And the most important thing of all is to have FUN! Shrewsbury Carnival is a fantastic event for all the community. If you’ve never had a float before or would like to get involved see if your friends or a local club might be interested in getting involved.

If you have any more tips that you’d like to share let us know and we’ll add them to the list!