Friday, May 18, 2012

Shoebox Float

I know that I've already mentioned Lily Ruth's shoebox float (and her unwillingness to assist in much of the process), but it was an exciting milestone for me as well, and I want to show you more.

Fiesta is an event that only happens in San Antonio, but it overtakes the entire city for as week. The Battle of Flowers parade is so big that all schools in the city are closed for the day, and most downtown businesses are closed due to traffic and pedestrian congestion. Said parade has also spawned the endless tide of shoebox floats. It is a rite of passage in our community - loved by some, dreaded by others. The process of creating a shoebox float is relatively simple: you cover a shoebox in colored paper and decorate it. That's it. There are no rules. The only guidelines are those set by individual contests - and almost every elementary school has one.

Lily Ruth's Parent's Day Out program has an annual Fiesta parade and party. The 'older' kiddos (3-5) either make a shoebox float or decorate their tricycles/bicycles. The younger kiddos (infant-2) are pushed along the route in strollers and wagons covered in paper flowers and bright ribbons. Then we all head inside and eat entirely too much food - all of it lovingly prepared by the nursery staff.

I jumped at the chance to make a float. I have fond memories of the fun and frustration of covering an entire shoebox in tiny tissue paper 'flowers' in the wee small hours of the morning (it was probably 10 pm :-P) the night before my Brownie troop parade. I was eager to share the fun with my daughter... I tend to overestimate her attention span and her interest in any process...

To be fair, I chose a design where she could help with every step. For the most part, she declined... choosing instead to wander off with each design element as it was completed, and play happily on her own.

I decided to make a garden themed float. As you well know, we're in love with our garden. The most exciting parts for Lily Ruth are using garden tools and growing a bean tee pee. It was a no-brainer to play on those things...

O.k., so, to start, we (yes, she helped with this part) covered the shoebox - and our hands - with school glue, then slapped on some green tissue paper. If your shoebox is a dark color or has a logo, you might need to paint it a solid color first or cover it in heavier paper. Our box was white with tiny green flowers (a giant 'thank you' to Ms. Kyla who gave baby Lily Ruth presents from Janie and Jack) so we got off easy:

Then I made a tiny bean tee pee. I used a cardboard circle for the base and wooden chopsticks (broken in half) for the poles. Hemp twine for the stings around the poles. Green and hot pink copper wire from my bead supplies as the vines. Green foam (formerly a bracelet kit) for the leaves. A dot of hot glue on each to attach them to the vines. I tried to interest Little Miss in helping me attach tiny leaves to the tiny tee pee. She declined. *Aside: I really want Lily Ruth to use the glue gun with me, but she burned her finger the very first time she tried it, and now she refuses to go near it.*:

The tiny watering can (to the right of the float) is made from recycled cardboard pieces - I've been saving all sorts of stuff for just such an occasion. The body and handle are made from  a toilet paper tube. The neck is a dry cleaning hanger tube. I glued a giant button to the end for the spout. Lily Ruth and I finger-painted the can pink. When it dried, we covered it in glue and shook pink glitter all over it...

it's fun to cover your hands in glitter, too!

The front piece is printer paper with stickers from our stash. The letter stickers are old and lost their stick, so they had to be individually glued :-/ At least glue-ing is something that she wanted to do!

I made squirmy worm-ies out of pipe cleaners and googly eyes. Those were immensely popular. It took a good half hour of play before she was ready to hand them over.

From there, it was just glue-ing the elements in place. Lily Ruth chose Belle, Hiccup and Ken to ride on the float. Once everybody was secured with hot glue, I cut small squares of tissue paper. Each square got wrapped around the eraser end of a pencil. Add a dab of glue, press into place and hey, presto: PINK flowers!

We lucked out: the box sat perfectly over Lily Ruth's Little People carriage - that means she had wheels for her float! You can just drag le box across the ground, but it gets beat up pretty fast. Wheels (of the pre-made variety) are the way to go.

There you have it! How To Make A Shoebox Float by Lily Ruth and her Mama :-)

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