I’ve said it before, and at the risk of sounding boring and redundant, I’m going to say it again: I love a parade! Going back to my childhood in Philadelphia, my mother loved the Mummer’s parade, and I think it rubbed off on me. I adore the floats, the costumes, the out-of-tune marching bands, and the majorettes who suffer the extremely cold weather in a bathing suit and pantyhose.
I also love any parade: it can be the local neighborhood kids sporting kazoos, and I’ll still grab my piece of the sidewalk to watch!
Summer is the perfect time for a parade with decorated bikes or scooters. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a bike look awesome; you can use stuff you find around your house, like straws, old shoelaces, hair ribbons, and paper streamers, and you can give your bike a totally new look. So gather all the kids in the neighborhood and have a bike decorating party! Have everyone bring supplies from home to share, lay them out on a big table and go to town! Make sure that there are enough adults to supervise any cutting or hot gluing, put on some fun music, lay out some snacks, and you’ve got yourself an event!
Supplies (Please note that all the supplies below are optional; these are just suggestions that we have found and used)
- Colored straws
- Duct tape
- Masking tape
- Paper streamers
- Hair scrunchies
- Rubber bands
- Cardboard (pizza and cereal boxes are great)
- Construction paper
- Magic markers, crayons, or Sharpie pens
- Wire brads
- Paper clips
- T.P. tubes
- Playing cards
- Old Christmas tinsel
- Light, floaty fabric (like tulle)
- Silk flowers
- Pipe cleaners
- Toilet paper
- Hole punch
- Glue gun (adult supervision, please)
- Pony beads
- Glue stick
Prepping for decorating
- Lay out all your supplies so that you can see what you’ve got.
- Use our suggestions below as jumping off points. Go to town with your imagination and the supplies. Just remember to always stay clear of any gears or chains -- you don’t want to be riding along and get a ribbon stuck in your chain!
How to make...
Cardboard License Plate
- Measure the back part of your seat.
- Open up the cereal box, lay it flat, and cut a rectangle of cardboard the width of your seat by about 4 inches (it’s really up to you how big you make it; just don’t make it so long that it touches the wheels).
- Cover the cardboard in duct tape if you like.
- Use a hole punch to punch two holes about ½ inch from the top of the cardboard. You’ll want these holes to line up with whatever seat attachment posts are available; each bike seat is different, so you will have to determine how to attach the plate to the seat.
- Write your name on the plate with a Sharpie pen.
- Use paper clips or pipe cleaners to secure the license plate to the underside of the seat.
- Use a medium sized, heavy-duty rubber band or hair tie, and place it around a full water bottle.
- Use ribbons, streamers, yarn with a few pony beads, thin fabric strips, or whatever you like. Slip them one at a time between the bottle and the band to the halfway point and tie in place with knot.
- Once the band is covered, slip it off the water bottle and slip onto the end of your handle (about an inch in from the end); wrap a couple times (as you would a ponytail) if necessary, to secure.
Make Some Noise!
- Cut a piece of stiff cardboard or the plastic top of a salad container to the size of a playing card (or just use a playing card).
- Cover with duct tape if you like.
- Tape the card to a T.P. tube, and slit the T.P. tube up the back.
- Wrap the T.P. tube around the fork of the bike and secure tightly in place with tape, so that one end of the card is touching the bike spokes. When you ride, you’ll make a great noise!
- Stack 5 sheets of toilet paper on top of each other.
- Fan fold lengthwise.
- Secure in the center with a pipe cleaner.
- Gently separate the layers of tissue on either side until all the sides are fluffed. (If you have 2-ply paper and a lot of patience, you can get 10 layers of poof, but don’t drive yourself crazy. And don’t be worried if some tears, it will still look cool!)
- Use the pipe cleaner ends to secure to any part of the frame you choose.
Crepe paper streamer flowers
- Cut a piece paper streamer about 3 to 4 feet long.
- Begin at one end and do what I call a “sloppy fan fold,” which is basically scrunching the paper in on itself in a loose fan fold. Do this while turning at ¼ turn intervals to form a flower shape.
- Pinch and twist the lower portion of the flower to make a stem.
- Secure stem with a piece of tape.
- Wrap a pipe cleaner around the bottom to secure to bike.
Wrap it up!
- Use paper streamers, thin fabric, ribbon, etc. Secure one end by either tying or taping onto the frame.
- Wrap the frame tightly and secure with tape at the end.
Decorate your spokes with pipe cleaners...
- Take a colorful pipe cleaner and wrap it around a pencil or pen to make a spring.
- Feed the spring onto your spokes.
... Or paper streamers...
- Cut a length of streamer, ribbon, thin fabric, etc. and secure one end of it to a spoke with tape.
- Begin to weave the streamer in and out of the spokes.
- When you get to the end, secure with tape.
... Or straws!
- Very carefully cut a straw down the length of the straw.
- Slide straw onto spoke.
Gussy up your frame
- Take a T.P. tube and cover it with duct tape.
- Cut a slit from one end of the tube to the other.
- Slip the tube onto your bike frame.
- Add a small piece of duct tape over the slit to secure in place.
- If you have an old pinwheel, pop off the top from the stick (or cut the stick). Or, make your own pinwheel with paper and a wire brad for the center.
- Wrap a pipe cleaner around the back and secure to bike.
- Don’t cover any parts of your bike with duct tape. Time and exposure to the elements it will make it adhere to the bike frame and will be a real pain to remove. Small little bits, to secure other items, such as streamers and ribbons, shouldn’t be an issue, but whenever possible tape to the object as opposed to the bike frame.
- If you do end up taping to your bike frame, and find that it leaves a residue when you remove it, Goo Gone will remove the residue.
- Always keep objects away from gears and chains. Make sure that all loose ends are secured to protect the rider from any injury.
Once all the bikes and scooters are decorated, line up the kids and have them ride through the neighborhood. I guarantee it will make everyone’s day!