How are Etched Plaques and Signs Crafted?

Etched Metal Plates

Ever wonder how a commemorative plaque that has etched words and images on it is manufactured? Ever wonder where this particular marking method came from? How exactly are etched plaques and signs created, and what makes them so durable and ideal for numerous purposes?

The method that is used to create etched plaques and signs is called chemical etching and this particular method has been in use for centuries. In the middle ages, this particular marking method was used to create intricate designs on cups, armor, guns and other items made out of metal. What makes the designs on the surface of the metal is acid that eats into the exposed metal, with the parts protected by a substance that is resistant to acid remaining intact during the process.

When a client orders an etched plaque, sign or plate, the first thing that is done is to coat the chosen plate (usually stainless steel) with photoresistant paint. This metal is then baked to make the paint adhere to the plate. Once this is done, the design (which is usually sent by the client over before the process is started) is then placed on top of the plate and exposed to UV light. This plate is then dipped in a developer solution that removes the rest of the photoresistant paint, leaving behind the image that is to be used for etching the design into the plate.

Etched Plates and Signs

This metal plate is then sprayed with acid, which eats into the unprotected metal, thereby producing the etching that is needed for the plate. Some people choose to end the process here, if they do not want any colors to be added to their signs or metal plates. The result is a sign that either has an embossed image or text on it or one that has recessed images and text on it, depending on which parts of the metal were protected by the acid resistant paint.

For those who want to have color added to their etched plates, the next step is to paint the sign or plate. There are many methods that can be used to apply the paint to these plates. Some manufacturers choose to use airbrushing methods to paint while others use a variety of masking and painting methods to get the effect that their clients want. No matter what the choice, the end result is a stunning plate, sign or plaque that has text and images that pop.