Preparing and Installing Buckets

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Note:  Making the buckets is relatively simple.  But, if the logistics of making them is getting in the way of adopting/installing a crossing, please email us at, and we may be able to help.


The flag buckets are made from 4” PVC drain pipe and an end cap.  They are attached to the pole using wire ties (aka "zip ties").  The supplies you’ll need for a pair of buckets are as follows, and are available at hardware stores (e.g., Stone Way Hardware):

  • (2)  10.25” long 4” PVC drain pipe (usually sold in 10 foot lengths)
  • (2)   end caps for 4” drain pipe
  • Wire ties.  The quantity you need will depend on the size of the poles you’ll be attaching the bucket to, as well as the length of the wire ties you use.  We have used 3/8” wide by 18” long ties (rated to 175 lbs).  These 3/8" heavy duty ties are highly recommended for their added strength relative to narrower versions.  The 18" length is longer than needed for many poles.  We've "chained" 3 of these together to get around telephone poles, and we've also used 48" versions (a little more elegant, but no more effective).
  • "Universal" or "Multi-purpose" Cement for ABS, PVC, CPVC and Styrene Pipe and Fittings
  • Clear packing tape

To prepare each of the buckets:

  • Drill four 3/8” diameter holes in the drain pipe to accommodate the wire ties, as shown in the figure.
  • Drill one or more 3/8” diameter holes in the end cap to allow for water drainage.  A single one centered works ok for "domed" end caps, but more holes are probably smart if the cap is completely flat.
  • Glue the end cap to the pipe using the Universal Cement
  • Attach a “Crossing Flags” sign to the bucket using clear packing tape.  (See Bucket Cutouts)Place it directly opposite the holes, with the top near the open end of the bucket.  Cover it completely with tape to help protect it from water.  This doesn't keep them dry for very long, so if the signs are printed using an inkjet printer, it will become unreadable.  Using a color laser printer seems to work better.


 To mount each bucket:

  • Put a wire tie through each horizontal pair of holes in the pipe.  If you’re attaching to a large-diameter pole, you may need to make a string of several wire ties.
  • Place the pipe against the pole and tighten each of the wire ties very tightly.  Make sure you’ve got the buckets at the height you want before tightening the wire ties (it can be very difficult to slide afterwards).  Waist high on an adult seems about right, but you’ll have to decide.  Make sure the flags don’t cover any part of the signage that may be on the pole.  Also, be sure that the flags will not substantially affect drivers' lines of sight from the side road to the main road.
  • Trim the excess wire tie using wire cutters or a knife.