(Reprinted from The Art and Science of Wheatpasting by the Lesbian Avengers.)
Wheatpasting posters around town is a great tactic to get radical messages beyond the “radical ghetto” (of your friends) and get them where they need to go: before the public. Once a flyer has been wheatpasted to a light pole or utility box, it will stay up until someone scrapes it off. Stapling posters is much more temporary, and impossible in most modern downtown areas where wood telephone poles have all been removed.
The first and most important part of wheatpasting is to make a great flyer: lots of radical stuff, good strong images, LARGE size type to grab people’s attention, humor. If possible, give interested people a way to contact “the Movement.”
You can either make your own paste or buy wallpaper paste at the hardware store. To make your own, pour one cup of flour into 1 1/12 cups of water. Stir to remove all lumps, heat to boil until it thickens and add more water until it turns into a thick, clear goop. Cook on low heat for at least half an hour, being careful not to burn it, it expands a lot; experiment. Some wheatpasters prefer store bought because it is more consistent.
Out on the street, use a wide paintbrush to spread the paste on the target surface, and for best results on the back of the poster. Some people put paste over the top of the poster too, while others think this looks messy and doesn’t help. Pay attention to getting the corners of the poster down –if they’re not tight, they’ll make it easy to tear down.
One expert favors using a bike with a huge front basket to hold the bucket of paste. Another suggests using an empty dishwashing soap bottle to squeeze the wheatpaste directly unto the brush.
Having two people (one the handle the paste, another to handle the posters) helps avoid getting paste on the posters, which can cause them to stick hopelessly together. Plus it’s fun and someone can watch for the cops. Or, carry a rag to wipe your hands.
Gloves are usually more trouble than they’re worth. Postering on a bike can make escape a lot easier down alleys and one way streets.
Wheatpasting is the ultimate do-it-yourself radical propaganda weapon. Have fun!