Art Car Parade

Art Cars for Dummies

Our guide to making (or faking) your very own colorful, bizarre automotive masterpiece

By Michael Hardy May 10, 2013 Published in the May 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Don’t get us wrong. We’d love to take a chainsaw and blowtorch to our car, and not only because such efforts would turn heads at the city’s Art Car Parade on May 11. But let’s be honest. Do we really want to be driving a giant peacock or a Jeep covered in marshmallow Peeps to work on Monday?  

Maybe you’re in a similar boat (dragon or otherwise), resigned to yet another year on the sidelines, your car sulking on the curb as the parade participants glide by. Come on, now. Isn’t it time you stopped raining on your Pontiac’s parade? You live in an enlightened age, after all, one with a multitude of road-ready decorative options as temporary and paint-job-friendly as they are garish.

Three words: Magnets, magnets, magnets. They work for vehicles that “Support Our Troops,” and they’ll work for your Subaru too. Barnacle your Buick with hundreds of them. Better yet, use a giant customized magnet from Signs By Tomorrow. Go with one of these big babies and you’ll attract lots of attention, not to mention every metal object in the vicinity. (713-622-4888,  

Why be one of the sheeple who use soap to paint “Go Texans!” or “Just Married” on their windows? You’re an artist. Your inspiration comes not from tailgaters and shotguns but the MFAH, especially those paintings by Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell. Anyone can draw daisies with a bar of Irish Spring (available at fine retailers citywide), but for the sophisticated car-tist, nothing will do but the multi-hued glass markers at Texas Art Supply (713-526-5221, 

A little imagination, hundreds of yards of aluminum foil, a few rolls of masking tape—et voilàyour Spitfire is a spaceship on wheels, your Tundra a toaster. And if monochrome is too ho-hum for your Monte Carlo, visit Texas Art for colored foil by St. Louis Crafts, or order it online from same (314-638-0038, 

There your Christmas lights sit, languishing in an attic storage bin when they might be festooning your Fiesta. Simply plug and go, or, if your vision goes beyond what can be supported by a cigarette lighter alone, consult the battery-powered holiday lights specialists at your nearest Hobby Lobby (713-665-2666, 

Want to waste dozens of gallons of gasoline idling parade-speed through the streets of downtown and make an environmental statement? Why not landscape your Land Rover? Sod your Saab? One visit to the folks at Cornett Grass on FM 1960 (281-890-0733, and you’ll have a lush, weed-free lawn that’s the envy of every neighborhood you drive through. Choose from 11 different types of turf, from hood-happy St. Augustine Palmetto to Zoysia Emerald. And if a no-sod façade is more your speed, consult the AstroTurf experts at Strickly Green Grass in Cypress, where every Porsche is but a portable putting green in utero (832-494-8333,

Filed under
Show Comments