2D Cardboard Templates
This is a great carnival costuming technique for your bicycle. It's easy, you can take the
bicycle costumes on and off the bike easily to work on them, to store them and you can
create a template so that your whole troupe could be a school of fishes or a flock of birds,
see below at St.Pauls Carnival 2009 with 'Captain Bikebeard and The Sea of Love'.
For these costumes use cardboard,
corex (old estate agents boards),
mounting board, anything like that.
They are kind of sandwiches with the bicycle as the filling.
These are the wings of a chicken wrapped around a
shopper bicycle with a very convenient bicycle rack to
hold it in place. Seatstays and chainstays are also
ideal for attaching to, but you'll need a spacer (see
Cluck cluck, here's the chicken.
First of all decide on what you would like your bicylce to be. We quite like animals and
have been making sharks, chickens, dinosaurs, crocodiles, ducks, bees and dragons. You
could also turn your bicycle into a rocket,a guitar, a ship or a carrot anything is possible.
In any case you will have to roughly
measure up the cardboard to your bicylce
and then draw an outline of your creation
on to the cardboard.
Draw the front and back or head and tail
and cut out two of each, one for the left
and one for the right.
For the front pieces
cut out a slot for
This is so that the
front piece can rest
on top of the
and be attached
Attach the two sides to each other at a
few points along the top edge and then
attach your creation to the handlebars,
the stem and to the forks.
Important: Don't attach it to the
frame. Because you want the
handlebars and the wheels to turn and
not interfere with your steering.
Here is the crocodiles tail taking shape.
In this case the tail is
attached in four points
either side. On the top
tube, twice on the seat tube
and on the seat stays.
The two halves of the tail are joined at its tip.
A little detail added, some crocodile feet
A bit of eye make up and some lipstick and you're ready for Carnival!
To stop the cardboard from rubbing against the wheels
it is a good idea to wedge in a spacer. A piece of fairly
dense foam (as in the picture) or a rolled up piece of
cardboard will do.
You will need a spacer for the front and the back.
They can fall out, so you may need to glue them.
Even if you think you don't need a spacer, it will help to
re-inforce your creation against wind and will ensure
that your brakes are kept clear and are able to move
On the far right is a picture
of a foam spacer in the head
of a carnival fish, on the
right the fish head attached
to a bicycle.
Bicycles aren't all the same. So when using this technique either tailor make your
creation to the bicycle you are going to be using, or if you are working from a pre-prepared
template make sure to fit it to each individual bicycle and make adjustments where
The Wind is a factor to take in consideration. Especially when attaching things to the
front wheel. In this example we had to shorten the sharks head as much as we could
because we found on a windy day it was a real problem to steer!
The dinosaur head to the left got blown over by the
wind and flopped down on it's first test ride.
The solution is to either extend the template down so
you can attach it to the forks (by adding a neck or
some legs) or use a stick to add rigidity or do both.
Here the Duck had a stick inserted to reinforce it.
Once you've made a prototype, it is really easy and quick to reproduce.
It is ideal for working with groups. You can arrive with templates pre-prepared, ready cut,
they just need to be decorated and fitted to bikes. The beauty is that you can attach and
detach them as you wish. And you can store them on your bed room wall as a piece of art!
Pipecleaners are great for attaching the templates to the bicycles. They are a great
alternative to zip-ties as they can be re-used. We have used zip-ties in the past, up to ten or
twelve per bicycle. This is wasteful and expensive. You can of course use string, ribbon,
Butterfly clips, split pins are useful in order to create movement, articulation, dangly
The crocodile you met earlier does have a moving jaw!
This works in two halves, jaw and cheeks.
Attach the bottom half/jaw so that it doesn't move,
fixing it firmly to the forks.
Attach the top half, the cheeks to the handlebars
somewhat loosely so you can move it up and down
with your hand while riding.
The jaw and cheek section are connected to each other in
a way that allows them to move up and down.
Scooter style Fantasy Cardboard Templates
Another way of using this template technique is to create exagerated mudguards or
scooter style bodywork for your bicycle that you can then decorate in a more abstract way.
Here is a quick, rough example
from one of our experimental
This could now be painted or
You could explore different
shapes and styles: 50's style
cadillac, robots, medieval
We made a box using the two side pieces plus a middle
piece that connects the two.
The back piece is straight forward.
At the front we needed to
make a slot in the connecting
piece for the forks.
Note this novel stitching
method for joining the pieces
together and the use of some of
the spacer foam that was lying
Use the materials that are available to you and experiment...
... as we did in this workshop towards the end of the day using leftover scraps and cut-offs
to make a picassoesque master piece.
Here's a Bike It Officer on a Flying V-Guitar
Get your cutting boards out,and remember be careful with those craft knives and have fun!