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).
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.
Photo by Ildar Sagdejev from Wikimedia Commons
You might wish to keep one sign as a memento of each campaign of historic importance… for a future collage on your garage wall, maybe?
• The sign, perched on its wicket and slanted at a judicious angle, is great for shading delicate plants and transplants from hot summer sun.
• A sign 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 be twice as large.
• Lay plastic signs on the ground under your eaves to prevent water infiltration, and cover them with dirt or stones.
• In messy weather, use signs to protect carpet underfoot in your car (just be sure not to give a ride to the candidate in question during that time).
• 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 are separate, with no link across the top, 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 tends to sag on reuse: cut a piece of wicket to the right length and insert it inside the cardboard. That one won’t ever sag again!
• Use a wicket segment to stick between a window sash and the frame above (e.g., above an air conditioner) to prevent it from being raised from the outside.
• Insert wicket lengths between studs to hold up wall insulation and prevent sagging.
• 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 link where wood and thinner bamboo had collapsed under the strain.
• 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.
How to cut regular metal wickets by repeated bending? Some wickets are thinner and much more bendable than others. 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.
If all adaptive reuse fails, an enterprising person or organization can collect wickets and sell them to the scrap yard for a few pennies a pound and the satisfaction of recycling metal and thereby reducing carbon emissions.