Sometimes people ask me what material I enjoy working with the most. I think they expect me to say sequins or pipe cleaners or coffee filters, but the truth is, my favorite material is corrugated plastic. Unglamorous, I know, but it's a highly malleable surface and I love it. And, thanks to many of my elected representatives, especially the lazy ones, it is free and ripe for the taking!
In honor of my local election day (tomorrow) I am filling this week with a string of projects devoted to corrugated plastic signs. Stay tuned!
An Open Letter to Those Seeking to be My Elected Officials
Dear Sir or Madame;
Tomorrow is election day here in Chicago. And while I am delighted to take part in our great nation’s electoral process, I am dismayed at your flippant behavior when it comes to advertising your name. In particular, I take issue with your signs. They are everywhere. They are unauthorized. They are ugly.
I realize you and your supporters have every right to promote your name and platform any which way you like; however, you do not have the right to post these signs anywhere you wish. Private property is one thing. Public land is another.
Furthermore, my tax dollars pay to keep the grass in front of the library/school/ government office/highway ramp/park/hospital clean and trimmed, not so you can show off your intern’s desktop publishing skills. If you are going to print ten thousand of these things and illegally display them, have the decency to hire a professional designer, not some schmuck with a hard on for Gill Sans Ultra Bold.
It would be good of you to remove these signs at once. Alas, since I fear it is an unlikely that you will take action, I’ll do it for you. Moreover, I will encourage everyone I know to do the same. We will go out and find new and creative uses for these signs. I know you paid a great deal of money to print them, and when you inevitably lose, it will be comfort to know that the remnants of your campaign have been recycled into charming, decorative objects for the home or office.
Cheers to democracy!
Peaches, Citizen at Large
Y’all will have to pardon my rant. These signs litter my neighborhood so frequently (we have a lot of elections around here!) and it can take weeks, sometimes YEARS, before they are removed or blown away with the wind. And since corrugated plastic can be an expensive material, I'm happy to vent my frustrations while finding ways to put it to good use.
Corrugated plastic is a miraculous material with many, many uses. If you see it in an alley PICK IT UP! If it isn’t election season in your town, you can purchase it by the sheet from many art supply stores. You can also ask any small business owners if they have any extra SALE signs laying around, or if you have a sign maker in your town, ask them for scrap. Someone told me you can buy extra large panels in some roofing supply sections, but you will have to check and see for yourself.
Important clarification: I’m encouraging you to remove political signs from public property only. If someone posts a sign in front of their house or business, leave it alone! That is their opportunity to speak their mind and promote their cause. This is a good thing. Leave those signs alone. But if you see a politician who has decided to plant their signs on public land, you should feel free to remove it. Think about it: if a private business can’t advertise on that land for money, a politician can’t advertise on that land for free. It is against the *law. Government officials rarely enforce these laws because they are usually violators themselves, so let’s be helpful citizens and do it for them. If you are hesitant to grab signs from public property, I suggest you bypass your local election authority and call your waste management office, or just ask your garbage man. They will be well-versed in what is acceptable, and what is not.*I’m referring to a series of US laws. There are some local community exceptions, and I’m sure some other countries do it different, but really, it’s just common sense. Feel free to pipe up if you claim otherwise. I’m all ears.
Y’all know how much I love my bulletin boards. I have this huge one up in my office. Here is how I made it. Whoa there, watch out, it's complicated.
- Find three corrugated plastic signs of equal size.
- Adhere wrinkled wrapping paper using a thin layer of white glue or spray adhesive (you’ll never get it 100% smooth so embrace the wrinkles from the get-go!)
- Use duct tape to bind the three together.
That was easy!
Keep in mind: thumb tacks will be too deep. Insert dressmaker’s pins instead. They are prettier, cheaper, and I find them to be sturdier in the long run.