Banners and Signs
In locations where revelation of the truth will affect public perception bannering is a great way to inform the public. Good examples are signs decrying labor busting, child labor, or unfair trade practices in relation to the products, services, or partners of the business you are protesting. Since this will cost you both money and resources do a little research and decide on an effective message, ineffective or unclear messages might even have a negative effect toward your cause or be considered creative graffiti.
Banner hangs are a great way to advertise for your cause and gain media publicity when combined with a sit in or civil disobedience, it gives the media something easy to photograph.
On a building you either need to get roof access or window access and a parapet to work from. other good places to banner:
String a line across a major street from streetlights or power poles
Anywhere you can get access and hang where people will see
Weight the bottom of the banner with pouches of sand or plastic water bottles roll up the sign and firmly attach line to the top corners or every meter or so on larger signs. If you expect a quick take-down just use sandbag weights or tie to a railing, if you want some longevity send a trained climber out to drill and place anchored bolts in the stone or concrete and anchor off where they will need to get special contractors to remove the sign.
Use a slingshot or toss a rubber fishing weight over a railing, hanging light or decoration, or even cables across roads meant for city parade banners or holiday lighting. Now just pull the fishing string or dental floss to hoist your banner, wrap the string around the pole and finish up with spinning the weight tight around the top of the pole railing or cable so the banner will be hard to remove. It might be advisable to use a segmented tent pole(pull the shock cord tight so it will not pull apart during the hoist) or wooden dowel to stiffen the top of the banner so it looks nicer. Since there is a danger of electrocution never hoist from a power line, unless you are an Expert on wire identification don't even try to hang even from cable TV or telephone lines.
Modified CrimethInc Hoist
The modified CrimethInc method is a bit more advanced and requires a bit more invested money but is quick and long lasting.
1-Make a banner and staple it to a lightweight board.
2-Cut a five foot section of cable reinforced clothes line
4-Attach hardware store carabieners to both ends of the wood near the cable anchor points (really big eye bolts might work even better if you can find ones big enough to pass your molly bolts easily) it is important that the carabieners don't get twisted and stay perpendicular to the wood so use fiber tape to attach them.
5-Make a loop in the end of the both pieces of clothes line and attach tightly to the wood with cable crimpers.
6-Make a second larger loop on the remaining end of the clothes line and pinch it so the tip is bent.
7-Slide a molly bolt into the cable then fiber tape down the loop(a molly bolt is the kind that has spring back wings that you can force through a hole in a wall)
8-make a stop that forces the molly bolt to near the end of the taped down loop
9-Test pulling the loop and molly bolt through the carabieners, it should pop through easily
10- Cut string a bit more than double the height of the object you plan to hoist over
11- Loop the string though the clothes line loops (you want it to pull freely through the clothesline loops)
12- Attach safe weights (sand filled socks, rubber fishing weights, or plastic bottles) to the ends of the long doubled pieces of string.
During a lull in traffic or when friends are safely blocking the road approach the target.
1-Throw or slingshot both of your weighted double strings over the target wire, pipe, or pole
2- Snap the doubled string into the carabieners
3- Hoist, be gentle when it comes time to pull the clothesline loop and molly bolts through the carabieners and snapped tight, it might take some jiggling
4- Cut the string with a scissors and pull through, your banner is safely up
5- Get away
It will take a cherry picker truck or fire engine ladder to remove this sign.
Hoist and Drop
For the best effect you want to do a dramatic banner drop from an already hoisted banner setup. This is a great way to hijack a pep rally especially if you have hacked access to the PA system and have a message to deliver. Combine with activists tossing your leaflets with candy attached so people will want to get their hands on some.
Use the modified CrimethInc hoist to get your banner up but leave the bottom of banner rolled on a dowel or with weights like in banner drops. Use a piece of fishing line taped to the wall with clear dull finish tape to activate your release and deploy the banner. You should test your slip knot or release system under conditions similar to your live deploy several times to be sure there will not be premature deployment or a misdeploy.
Make sure your sign and message is of sufficient quality and size to justify the effort of building and hoisting. Once you try this the staff will be much more vigilant to look for ready to drop banners before assemblies.
Balloon Suspended Signs
Inside stadiums stores or political events nothing advertises for your cause like a balloon lofted sign where the organizers can't take it down. Hang your lightweight easy to read banner from a rod or pole and attach the balloons to the ends of the pole. If you get there early before the event you might think about having kite string loosely looped over the ends of the stick so you can guide the sign up so it is straight and centered in the hall and then pull the guide strings loose. With Balloon bannering always test your design before you deploy it, nothing is more embarrassing than a dangling sign to make your team look bad.
A good way to infiltrate with a bunch of balloons is if you dress like you are with a flower delivery service (dumpster dive a few big bouquets for one arm) and meet your conspirators who have the banner.
When choosing balloons you need to decide how long you want your sign stuck to the ceiling. Figure out how many balloons are needed to lift your sign and double the amount to give several days of lifting, since balloons leak helium and loose lifting power.
Latex is the most standard and least expensive, you can often rent a helium tank and get a large package or two of latex balloons as a package deal. Latex has pores small enough for the tiny helium atoms to pass through (helium it the smallest substance around since it does not even pair up into a molecule like hydrogen).
Mylar balloons are also available commercially and last much longer, several weeks life can be expected.
Plastic trash bags look ghetto but if you carefully inspect for holes have a lifetime around a week.
Helium it the choice for lofting gas, even though hydrogen is easy to generate chemically with acid and metal or electrolysis is is explosive and the cops might try charge you with planting a flammable or explosive device, just so you know hydrogen is about double the lofting power as helium.
Placing glues or even syrup or honey on your balloon can make your banner hang stick to the ceiling even after much of the the helium goes out.
An easy long long life repeating PA system can be made from the electronic recorder now found in some greeting cards which allow a personalized voice message, even better is one modified with a small amplifier transistor and better speaker if more loudness is needed. Be sure to test the life of the battery you plan to use before employing. Best lifetime is obtained by using the voice of a woman with a high pitched voice(or computer generated higher female voice to prevent voice-printing by the police), this will also carry best from a small speaker. Lithium AA batteries are the lightest and have the longest lifetime for their weight, they are often found at photography shops.
You can epoxy the whole package inside of an aluminum can with the top cut off, a big gob of warm bubble gum makes a good stickum if the ceiling is clean, shoot the package onto the ceiling with a slingshot, it should continue to broadcast for as long as the batteries last. If you find a low enough power recorder circuit which will save the recording in non-volatile memory(doesn't need batteries) you might be able to power the whole thing with a solar cell. The cool thing about this is it will only talk while the lights are on and will last until they spend the money to rent a cherry picker.
The easiest way to get a long lifetime outdoor sign is to have it printed at a sign shop preferably by someone cool with the cause. Go with a large easy to read font and use a short clear message, an easy to remember website address is good too so people can get more information. Remember, the north side of the building (in the northern hemisphere) gets the least sun and will not cause as much UV degradation of the sign.
For guerrilla hangs where you expect the sign to be removed in a few hours it is best to go DIY. Bedsheets and table cloths work as does plastic sheet if it can be painted. Corporate signs or banners made out of vinyl can often be grabbed from the outside of stores or constructions sites, you can use the blank back side. Bed sheets can be grabbed from fancy hotels, just walk around until you find the maid's cart, wait until he or she is inside a room, and load up on sheets. If noticed, just say you need them in your room. Use stencils or a projector and make outlines with marker that you can fill in with house paint. Again make it easy to read and understand, include a web address.
Include slits or upside down tombstone shaped flaps that will allow the sign to unroll and not flap too much in the wind.
Almost all banners are better with a stiffener in both the top and bottom. If wood is too heavy or impossible to infiltrate use a cheap tent wand with the shock cord pulled tight and tied when you assemble it. If it's common in your bio-region, bamboo works beautifully as well. Weight at the bottom prevents breezes from flipping or tearing your sign down, better yet is four point or more anchoring.
Indoor signs might gain from the addition of a LED flasher or two to help gain attention, many of these flashers will last weeks or months.