Banner Hoist

This is a method for hanging banners from horizontal beams, limbs, or pipes so that it is difficult for others to get them down. It takes some doing, but the results can be impressive.
You will need ( tools or supplies ): 
3 bundles of plastic-coated clothesline—Two of the lines need to be four times as long as your target pole is high. Refer to the end of the recipe for how to measure the height of the pole.
2 large molly bolts—Molly bolts must be able to fit through carabineers when folded but not when open
2 cheap hardware store carabineers
1 roll of duct tape
2 tube socks, bottoms filled with grain, pebbles, or any weight that can be tossed high
1 banner
2 thin pieces of 2” by 1” wood to keep the banner straight—One should be about 8” longer than your banner, the other should be the same length as your banner.
Staple gun
2 pairs of sharp scissors (utility scissors are best)
2 people with good throwing arms… aim helps too!
Step

This method works on any horizontal beam, pipe, or limb that is low enough to toss a rope over but high enough so no one can reach the bottom of your banner. It is particularly well suited to the ridged arms of traffic light posts in busy intersections. Power lines may electrocute you, so leave them be. Hoisted properly, a banner can only be removed by a crane truck, which will block traffic and make a further spectacle. With practice this method can be carried out in a matter of moments, so busier intersections can be targeted.

Step

Paint a hell of a banner—you won’t get it back. Center the banner on the longer piece of wood and staple it securely. You should have 3 or 4 extra inches of wood on each end. Attach the other piece of wood along the bottom for weight. No need for the bottom wood to overhang.

Step

Cut two 5’ lengths of clothesline. Make a 6” loop at one end of each piece and reinforce with duct tape. Tie an overhand knot 4” from each loop. Run the clothesline through the molly bolt so that its jaws close away from the loop. Tie another knot on the other side of the molly bolt to keep it in place. Make sure the bolt can still open and close.

Step

Tape the end of the 5’ piece of clothesline to the front of the piece of wood and the carabineer to the back. Be firm with the tape. You need to be certain that the carabineer will stay perpendicular to the banner as shown. You also don’t want the end of the line to come loose. Repeat on the other end.

Step

You have two more packs of clothesline, one for each side. Feed a clothesline through one of the loops. Don’t stop feeding until it is exactly half way through. Now you have the same amount of line on either side of the loop. Tape the two ends of the line together. Use duct tape to attach weighted socks to the two ends of the clothesline. Repeat for other side. Now your banner is all set!

Step

For the hoist, position the banner facing oncoming traffic and set it down on the road so all hands are free for tossing. Both people simultaneously throw the weighted socks over the pole. Be careful not to cross the lines. Look out for tangling spots like trees, power lines, or hanging traffic lights. When the weighted socks have successfully delivered the ropes over the pole, each person grabs their weighted sock and clips its clothesline into the carabiner. Now use your scissors to cut the weighted socks off the clothesline, while keeping a firm grasp on both ends of the line.

Step

Each person pulls both ends of their clothesline so that the banner rises evenly. Pull until the molly bolt passes through the carabiner and snaps open. This can be the most difficult part. You may need to jiggle the lines to get the molly bolt through, but don’t panic… if it gets stuck, keep jiggling. Once your molly bolt is caught on the carabineers, pull just one end of the clothesline until the other end falls free of the loop. Then… you’re done! If everything goes smoothly, the entire hoist should only take a minute or two.

Step

Tips Practice throwing! Once you get out there, traffic lights can be higher than you thought. Maybe you’ll be a little nervous. Gain confidence by practicing your throws beforehand. Take a doubled clothesline with weighted socks attached and practice on a quiet street at night. Scout out your area ahead of time. Figure out who is going to stand on which side. Look for possible problems like power lines or tree branches. Monitor traffic flow. Walk and talk through all the steps to make sure you and your partner get it. If you are doing this anywhere near power lines, wait for a dry day!

Step

To determine the height of a pole… Stand around fifty feet from the pole. Hold a small ruler at arm’s length. Position the ruler so that the zero is at the base of the pole. Now measure the pole’s height in inches as if you were measuring a photograph of the pole.

Step

Let’s say that, in your view, the pole is “9 inches” high. Stay in the same space and keep your arm straight. Pivot the ruler so that it is horizontal. Measure from the base of the pole to some point on the ground that is “9 inches” away. Make note of something at that point—let’s say there’s a crack in the sidewalk there. Now you know that the crack in the sidewalk is the same distance from the bottom of the pole as the pole is high. Use a tape to measure the distance—or, if you know the length of your stride, you genius you, pace it out.

Step

Remember—the doubled clothesline must go over the pole and all the way back down to the ground. That means each line must be at least four times the height of the pole. You can convert this method for solo operations. Fix one carabineer in the center of the banner. Connect one line to both ends of the banner so that it is loose like a picture-hanging wire. Tie the molly bolt rope to the center of the loose rope. Otherwise, follow the same directions as above and you should be able to hoist the banner by yourself. Good luck, and have fun!

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