I’m going to update this from a year ago. “Recycle, reuse, reduce,” right?
‘Tis the season when winners exult, losers lament, and all of us wonder what to do with our growing collection of political signs and their metal support rods (AKA wickets).
Yesterday they were so important to sway voters’ minds… maybe… and now??
If your candidate might ever run again for the same office, 6 months or 2 or 4 years from now, save the sign in garage or basement. A little rust won’t hurt; in fact, it makes them more secure in the ground and less easy for evil-doers to pull out. I was guilty on this count this year: I found a sign for one of this year’s candidates… covered with paint, alas.
Be sure to keep one sign as a memento of each campaign of historic importance… like last year’s bipartisan team victory in the West Chester Area School Board race.
• The sign, perched on its wicket and slanted at a judicious angle, is great for shading delicate plants and transplants.
• It can also temporarily block holes in picket fences where rabbits and rodents might otherwise enter your back yard (e.g., while you’ve removed pickets for repainting).
• The paper or plastic part of signs makes a good paint drop cloth. Add more signs to cover more area. Or cut the plastic signs at the sides and fold them out to twice as large.
• Lay plastic signs on the ground under your eaves to prevent water infiltration, and cover them with dirt or stones.
• The wicket is excellent for propping up floppy bushes and flowers.
For lower plants, cut or bend the wicket supports. For really tall ones, straighten the metal out.
The collapsible type of wickets, whose two legs come off, are a terrible pain in political use (because the legs keep falling off), but the components serve well as individual plant supports (with ties or string).
The type of wicket that looks like a ladder with two prongs extending up into a corrugated sign are great for supporting plants, which are held in place by the arms.
• Here’s a remedy for those clothes hangers that dry cleaners send back pants hanging on, and whose sticky cardboard crosspiece always sags on reuse: cut a piece of wicket to the right length and insert it inside the cardboard. That one won’t ever sag again!
• I’ve used a wicket folded triple ply to insert inside a bamboo pole and then into a flag holder whose opening was too small for the bamboo. The metal made a strong and (I hope) permanent link where wood and thinner bamboo had collapsed under the strain. (Still experimenting on this one.)
• To stitch together segments of chicken wire or garden netting to keep off birds and rodents, whether vertically or horizontally: straighten out a wicket (they are surprisingly long in a straight line) and thread the resulting steel rod through the two adjoining segments.
• In art works. No kidding, I’ve seen in museums what looked to me like vertical clumps of campaign wickets with pieces of wood or corks jammed onto them. Adaptive reuse at its most esthetic. I keep meaning to try this one.
How to cut regular metal wickets by repeated bending? Be careful; use gloves and eye protection. It can be done by brute hand strength, or by pliers, to bend repeatedly until the metal fatigues and breaks. Hack saws take too long; this is tough metal! I guess a bolt cutter would work.
How about campaign buttons (pins)? Save them for future use or collect them. Yes, buttons are collectibles. Just think of the value if one of your candidates ever becomes president! You can get most presidential pins for a few dollars on Ebay (search “vintage political pins” but wouldn’t a button for the future president running for, say, town supervisor be worth a lot? Have you seen a “Coolidge for Mayor of Northampton Mass.” button lately?
You never know who is going to be famous later.