Wheatpasting for Dummies

Wheatpasting for Dummies

Wheatpasting is an effective and essential tool for any would-be ne’er-do-well, leftist organizer, or unionist. Most of you are probably asking, “What is wheatpasting?” In that case, welcome to ‘wheatpasting for dummies.’ I’ll explain.

What’s Wheatpasting, Anyway?

Wheatpasting is using wheatpaste to hang posters, banners, and flyers on pretty much any blank surface you can find to hang them on where they’ll be seen by a bunch of people.  This includes the outside walls of stores, retaining walls, telephone poles, electric poles, light poles, and junction boxes.

Depending on the method you’ll use to apply it, wheatpaste is a mix of 2 parts wheat flour and 3 to 4 parts water. You can apply it with a paint brush or a roller; you can even dab it on with a rag. An important consideration is how you transport the wheatpaste and get it onto your chosen application tool. Cleaned out ketchup bottles are always a favorite.

How to Make Wheatpaste

To make wheatpaste, fill a pot with the appropriate amount of water, and heat it on low. Then add a little bit of flour and stir it in, making sure to scrape the sides. Add more flour and mix thoroughly. Repeat this until all of the flour is mixed in thoroughly.You want to stir throughout the process to prevent burning.  

Once your creation thickens, add more water and stir thoroughly and constantly. If you add too much flour, it’s fine too! You won’t have wheatpaste, but you’ve successfully made the batter for hard tack. In that case, add some salt and bake it in a cookie tray at 375° F until it’s hard and dry. (Enjoy!)

When it’s done, the mixture should have a consistency similar to Elmer’s glue. After that, pour it into a container (such as the previously mentioned ketchup bottle). If you’ve got steady hands, you might be able to manage pouring it directly, but I recommend a funnel. You can just make a funnel out of a sheet of paper.

How to Hang Agitprop with Wheatpaste

To hang posters using wheat paste, you’ll want to paste the surface you’re hanging the poster on as well as the back of the poster. Once you’ve done that, put the poster onto the pasted surface. Run a credit card or a paint roller down the front to get any air bubbles out. Then, apply one last layer of wheat paste over the front of the poster to waterproof it.  

Helpful hint: if you cut vertical lines down your poster, you can prevent it from being easily removed.

An equally cheap, and in many ways better alternative to wheatpaste, is wallpaper glue. You can buy it at basically any home improvement store. The main benefit is that it’s a much more consistent product. In addition to wallpaper glue, you can also use condensed milk! The point is, you have lots of options.

Get wheatpasting, Wobblies!

Wheatpasting for Dummies