Costuming Your Cart Community Suggestions

Costuming Your Cart Event Notes*

(unofficial advice)

Here are some notes and suggestions on materials and processes from the community to help you make your cart awesome! Please remember that if you want to drive day and night at the event, you’ll need to ensure your cart is interesting day and night- and lit up for after dark! Make sure you are very well familiar with Mutant and mobile art guidelines 

So, how artified should your cart be? If you are wondering if a stand of lights or two is “enough” then you know, deep in your heart, that that answer is no, that’s really not enough. There’s a whole lot you can do in an hour or two, with inexpensive materials. Remember that we’re at an art event- use your imagination, show off your creativity, roll around in style- and don’t forget to offer rides!

Special thanks again to Audrey and Tim for helping with the event and suggestions! Could not have done this without you.


-Choose your tapes wisely- anything with residue is a no-no. Duct tape is not your friend, but blue painters tape has traditionally worked well on rented carts. Always test before you *go* for it.

– Wrapping or covering damageable areas with plastic wrap (the big rolls sold as moving supplies are great) can help. Wrap the cart tightly, then you can use duct tape or shiny ducting tape over it.  

-Zip ties are your friend! If you are struggling to find mounting points, you can run a rope or ratchet strap around the top of the cart and attach materials from there.

-Clamps- be careful not to put too much pressure on the cart (you don’t want to deform the plastic) but some clamps are really useful.

Other Materials

-Chicken wire, newspaper, and wood glue.  Easy to make crazy shapes, no special skills required, paintable, surprisingly weather resistant.  Use cheapo 1×2 for framing and attach to cart with zip ties or even spring clamps.

– Big fan of painting canvas tarps.  They may need some tailoring (simple basting stitches), but they can cover a lot of sins as a drape, screen, or cover.  

– 1″ (or better yet, 2″) 4’x8′ foam panels from the big box hardware stores.  They’re not that hard to cut to shape and can be painted with water base or latex paint.  

-Pool Noodles- slice them open long ways and they cover bars really nicely. If you use white ones, they make an excellent diffuser and you can run lights through them (bonus- the noodle will help hold the light strands!).

– 5 1/2″ x 60″ cedar fence pickets are also surprisingly cheap and can be put together into panels and cut to shape.

– LED rope lights instead of the LED adhesive strips, get the solar powered ones and you can skip having to figure out how to get 12V from the 48V or 36V cart (assuming you got an electric rental or there isn’t a 12V outlet.)

– Coroplast is a hugely useful material, can be a bit pricey unless you score old political signs, but it can be shaped into interesting curves as well as easily cut into shapes.

– PVC pipe can be heat shaped into curves and used to make framing for canvas, foam, or other materials.

– Bubble wrap can serve as a temporary protective layer and can be a fun diffuser for lighting.