After our family’s 2010 trip to Italy, we decided to recreate different memories as our costumes. I was excited to be a gonolier from Venice (Venezia!), complete with my own gondola. I made it sturdy enough that I could give kids rides around. The costume was a big hit!
The base of the gondola was an auto mechanic’s creeper. On top of the creeper was a canoe-like frame built from PVC pipe (rigid) and PVC irrigation hose (flexible). I wrapped the frame with black felt, and held it taught with a rivet eyes/string system (similar to how shoes are laced). The top is cardboard, covered with the same black felt. Other details were cut from chloroplast / plastic cardboard (old election signs). Finally, I added some soft red fabric and a cheap-o dollar store dress-up boa.
All told, I had probably $40ish in this costume, with the creeper, felt, and PVC pieces being the most expensive. As with most of my costumes, I actually had many of these things lying around.
For the gondolier: I got a cheap hat and striped shirt online, paired with black slacks and long strip of red fabric as a sash.