How to Make a Shoebox Float: 5 Easy Steps

You’ve seen those dazzling, festive floats in parades. They light up your eyes, entertain the crowd, and glide along stylishly.

Children love the occasion, and they enjoy even more taking part in the creation of the floats. 

If they can’t participate in a real street parade any time soon, encourage students to make their own parade by creating a float out of a shoebox.  

This post shares everything you need to know about how to make a shoebox float. 

What Is a Shoebox Float?

A shoebox float is a miniature model of a parade float made from a shoebox.

Typically an arts and crafts activity, the shoebox float is assembled and decorated to reflect a particular theme. 

Why Would Anyone Want to Know How to Make a Shoebox Float?

There are two main reasons why someone would want to make a shoebox float. 

  • Secondly, a parade crew may need to make a miniature version of its float in order to get an idea of what the actual product will look like once it’s complete.

Whatever the reason, here are the steps for making a shoebox float. 

How to Make a Shoebox Float

1. Gather Parade Float Supplies.

To make the float, you will first need to collect a few materials. The items you use to decorate the float will vary based on your chosen theme.

For example, if you’re creating a miniature Mardi Gras float, you may want to use beads, a mask, purple/gold/green crepe paper, doubloons, gold coins, feathers, etc. 

Popular float ideas include Fiesta, Mardi Gras, and Black History Month.

Still undecided on what kind of shoebox float to make?

If so, see these cool shoebox float ideas for inspiration.

Some items you will or may need no matter the theme include…

  • Shoebox (with a removable lid)
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Scissors (Regular or craft)
  • Construction paper
how to make a shoebox float

2. Separate the Lid From the Box.

Once you have the shoebox in hand, separate the lid from the box. The box should be completely empty on the inside. 

3. Cover the Shoebox With Construction Paper. (optional)

If the exteriors of the lid and box look unattractive or have the brand of the shoes showing, you may want to cover them with construction paper to give a polished look.

While black and white are neutral colors that pair well with any theme, you may want to use a color of construction paper that matches your theme exactly.

4. Glue the Lid to the Box to Create a Backdrop.

Once both parts are covered with some type of paper and separated, place the open side of the box upside down. Apply glue to one of the short sides. 

Now, with the lid positioned vertically, glue the open side of the lid to the short side of the box that has the glue on it. (See image below.)

Hold in place for about 30 seconds so that the glue holds. 

how to make a shoebox float

5. Decorate Your Float.

Now comes the fun part…decorating the float!

Try to be strategic. Place a skirt or some type of decoration around the perimeter of the float first.

If you plan to write/place anything on the back wall or on the side of the float, do it before placing/gluing items on top.

how to make a shoebox float
solar system shoebox float idea

Afterward, design your float according to your chosen theme. Here is a list of decoration ideas:

  • Gift tissue paper
  • Crepe paper
  • Yarn
  • Play-doh or clay creations
  • Foamy paper/sheets
  • Stickers
  • Foil
  • Small action figures
  • Pom pom balls
  • Glitter
  • Cut-outs
  • Confetti/hole punch chads
  • Drawings/artwork
  • Beads
  • Feathers
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Wooden popsicle sticks
  • Paint
  • Colored pencils/crayons
  • Party favors (Party favors can serve as great decorative items for shoebox floats.)
  • Leftover gift-wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Straws
  • Skewers
  • Painted rocks

The possibilities are numerous. Let your imagination run wild. This is a great opportunity to stretch your creativity.

how to make a shoebox float
how to make a shoebox float

6. Add Wheels to Your Shoebox Float. (optional)

If you’re doing this activity for a school parade project, you may be thinking to attach a piece of string or rope to your float in order to pull it. 

However, with a little extra effort, you can add wheels to your float. 

Empty paper towel rolls or rolls of duck tape can be used to create wheels. It takes some work to get them on (and actually functional), but it’s doable.

For sturdier wheels, use miniature caster wheels (similar to those that come on plastic storage bins).

how to make a shoebox float with wheels
how to make a shoebox float with wheels

You’ll first need to place another shoebox lid or a piece of cardboard to the bottom of your float so that you have a base to attach the wheels. 

Final Thoughts On How to Make a Shoebox Float

Awe your classmates and friends with a shoebox float that’s unique and eye-catching.

Following these steps, you’ll be ready to show off your creation in a school parade. Now you know how to make a shoebox float that stands out from the rest.