Install different types of letters and signs
There are many ways you can mount or install different types of letters and signs. Most often, the letters attach to a surface permanently, but in some instances, you may want the ability to change out the letters or the message. With plastic letters, the most common method of installation is as follows:
Vacuum formed letters: Often used when a large quantity of letters are required. The national chain stores will use this type made with a lip, enclosed in a metal or plastic channel letter frame. They can be internally lighted, and used on canvas, metal, or plastic backgrounds. Large sawed cut out letters can be glued (though not totally weatherproofed) and fused with ethylene dichloride or acetone to another plastic. This fusing process is only applicable between acrylic plastics or Mylar.
Stick-on Letters: Either vacuum-formed or cutout letters can have pressure sensitive adhesive on the back. They adhere best to smooth, hard, nonporous surfaces and are not intended for use where a permanent bond is necessary. We do use this method on interior signs. An adhesive can be added for outdoor applications, to install different types of letters and signs.
Magnetized Letters: Made of magnetic plastic, magnetized letters will adhere to any ferrous metal surface. They must be custom-painted. Most often used for messages not for permanent signage. You may have some on your refrigerator, listing the groceries you need to stock up on.
Clip-on Letters: Clips can be attached to the back of plastic letters. They are used in a number of different ways: with tacked-on runners, placed directly on a plastic background, or pressed into the grooved backing of a bulletin board (cast letterforms are generally used for bulletin or menu boards).
Stud Mounted Letters: Sometimes you may need the letter to stand off the wall. For a three dimensional effect, holes are drilled in the back of the letters, and threaded studs are inserted. Holes are then drilled in the wall, and a hollow spacer is added. So when the letter is pressed up against the wall, it will look like it is floating on the wall. Another application for stud-mounted letters is lighted channel letter signs Irvine A clear backing is used for the letter. Normally LED lights are installed, casting a light around the letter and on the wall, outlining the letter for a very nice effect.
Free Standing Letters: If you have an awning or over hang, you can make the letters look like they are standing up by themselves. A full sheet of acrylic or aluminum material is cutout with a bar across the bottom of the letters. Clips are added on the backside. Then attached to the roof, so it appears the letters are standing up by themselves.
There are many types of surfaces, which will require a different attachment method. An installer will have to determine the best method of attachment for each unique project. A licensed sign contractor will have the needed experience to determine the best method of attachment.
Colors and Finishes. Multicolored plastic signs can be made using spray paint, silk-screen, or pigmented plastic. In hand painting, the paint (acrylic lacquer) is always applied to the back of the sign to ensure greater protection from weathering or normal abuse.
Spray Painting (Cut and Spray). A clear sheet of plastic is sprayed with a thin water-soluble rubber film or paper-masking material, which is then cut away (similar to a stencil) exposing the area to be painted. After the image is completed and all masking is removed, a fine coat of white paint is sprayed over the back of the entire sign to intensify the colors.
Silk-Screening. An image is silk-screened to a clear sheet of plastic, then sprayed from the back with another color to supply the background as well as to protect the first color. Painting can be done before or after the forming process. If paint is applied before forming, it becomes partially fused to the plastic and produces a permanent coloration.
A matte finish applied to plastic will reduce problems of glare and reflection; clear plastic remains transparent after application. These finishes will, however, cause copy to be fuzzed and not sharp on the reverse side of plastics of 1/8-inch (.3-millimeter) thickness or more to be able to install different types of letters and signs
Plastic Laminates. Used for interior signs, plastic laminates are generally bonded to such core materials as plywood, particle board, flake board, or metal. They are manufactured by pressing melamine resin-impregnated overlay paper and a melamine-impregnated pattern paper over layers of phenolic-impregnated kraft paper at pressures approximating 1,000 lbs per square inch (70 kilograms per square centimeter) at temperatures in excess of 275°F (135°C). The back is sanded to maintain a uniform thickness and to facilitate bonding. A great variety of colors is available, as well as gloss, semigloss, matte, sculptured, and embossed finishes. Use for interior signs only.