Signs & Plaques
Product Line 7 - Custom Bronze, Brass, Silver and Gold Engraved, 3-D (Sculptured Bas-Relief) and 2.5-D Wall Plaques
Great Seal, Emblem, Logo, Award and Memorial Plaques & Signs, with Metal Surfaces (Bronze, Brass, German Silver, 24K Gold, Fine Silver, Copper, Stainless Steel, Aluminum)
Welcome to our photo Gallery of examples of our premium carved (1) metal-coated, (2) metallic painted, and (3) 24K gold/silver/copper-leaf plaques & signs. All three of these techniques use a thin veneer of real metal formed over a carved Three-Dimensional (3-D) bas-relief or 2.5-D Flat Relief High-Density-urethane sign or plaque (these are described in Galleries 2 and 1 respectively).
To view painted signs and plaques, please visit Gallery 1(2.5-D carved HDU) or Gallery 2 (3-D carved HDU). Gallery 3 shows 2.5-D and 3-D stained and painted carved wood signs and plaques. You can see these and other photo Galleries by clicking on a numbered gray box in the left lower margin of this page.
Our metal-coated plaques and signs have major advantages over cast bronze or brass (solid) metal plaques, because they cost about 1/3 as much and weigh about 1/5 to 1/10 as much. Our Metal-coated HDU plaques look the same as cast bronze, brass, copper or aluminum, and they will last 30 years or more, for both exterior and interior applications, They are completely waterproof and the metal gives a hard shell over the HDU substrate, similar to fiberglass gelcoat on yachts. The HDU substrate itself is denser than Cedar or Redwood, with a density of 30 lb/ft3 or 20 lb/ft3, depending on the application. The metal veneer is about 12 mils thick (1 mil = 0.001 inch), 10 times thicker than electro-plating, and forms a very hard, protective veneer. All our metal-coated products are polished by hand with a buffing cloth to a high luster.
The metal-coated background areas can be covered with either a patina to provide contract and give the effect of age, or they can be painted. The patina is not perfectly uniform (it has very light non-uniformities in shade, i.e., slight blotchiness), because of the difference in chemical bonding, temperature etc to the metal surface. Every plaque will look slightly different. This minor uneveness gives it a very authentic, antique look. We can also paint the metal backgrounds with a flat or satin black or dark gray paint to give a very even , new look that also has a higher brightness contrast than patina does.
Any of our metal-coated plaques can have either a patina or painted background.After the bright metal surface is polished and the background patina or paint is applied, we can coat the plaques with either satin or gloss clear over-coat. The gloss is shiny and reflects light whereas satin will not reflect strong light. In this Gallery we also show signs and plaques that are hand-gilded with 24K thin leaves of gold, fine silver, or copper. As a third option, we can paint a sign or plaque with gold, silver, brass, bronze or copper metallic paint. This is a less expensive option than metal coating or metal-leaf gilding.
We make our metal plaques & signs by first carving ultra High-Density-Urethane HDU (density of 30 lb/ft3) in either 3-D or 2.5-D. We then use one of four techniques (sometimes two of these in different areas of the plaque):
(A) We spray on a coat about 1/60th of an inch (10 to 15 mils) thick of real metal (bronze, brass, copper, nickel-silver/German silver, stainless steel, or aluminum),along with a dark patina or dark paint for the backgrounds to enhance contrast for some plaques, and then polish and burnish the metal by machine and hand, to make some areas shiny.
(B) We gild by hand the surfaces of usually some but sometimes all areas of the plaque with 24K gold, silver, or copper-leaves, and then burnish the surface, which is a technique used by ancient Egyptians 3000 yrs ago (King Tutankhaman's artifacts were gold-leaf gilded) and used for thousands of years on architectural features and objects d'art in palaces and cathedrals. We often gild V-carved engraved letters, borders and art in wood or HDU substrates with 24K gold-leaf, leaving the backgrounds stained or painted.
(C) We paint some or all areas of the plaque or sign with a very high quality two-part acrylic polyurethane metallic gold, silver, brass, or bronze paint. This paint is similar to that used for automobiles and uses a hardening agent and a hot drying room.
(D) We cut out thin aluminum overlays and mount them on wood or HDU texts or art. We also cut out wrought iron outline signs with our water jet cutter. More details on our design approaches is given at the bottom of this page, under the photos (scroll down with right slider).
Techniques (A) and (B) are more costly than (C) (about twice as much per square foot). Technique (C). metallic gold, brass, silver or bronze paint, is the least expensive method and is done at the same price (sometimes lower for a single color) as painted HDU signs in Product Lines 1 and 2. We sometimes combine two of these techniques together on the same plaque (but in different areas), i.e, we often gold-leaf a small area of the plaque and use gold metallic paint in other areas, to provide visual interest in key areas of the plaque and also to keep the cost down. Many of our original and creative 3-D designs are true works of art. After all, we are "Art Sign Works".
If you are looking for a specific application for a metal sign or plaque (e.g., lawyer, CPA, business, residence, vacation home, park, golf course, church, ranch, restaurant, pub, government seal, military crest, college, etc) you can click on one of our Application Galleries in the numbered gray boxes in the lower left margin. You can also go to our Photo Gallery Overview page for a complete index of these applications. Our metal-coated HDU signs are shown interspersed with painted and stained signs & plaques in many Application Galleries.
We make most of our metal-coated signs & plaques for government agencies, especially federal, State and Municipal courtrooms (Gallery 10), the military (Gallery 31), universities (Gallery 34), attorneys and judges (Gallery 10), memorial monuments, and cemeteries (Gallery 16C).
PRICES. Custom rectangular bronze or brass-coated 2.5-D wall plaques (usually with text only), with widths that range from 12 to 24 inches, typically have prices of $99 to $300. Our custom designed smaller 3-D round wall plaques, 18 inches to 24 inches in diameter, have retail prices that range $250 to $600. Large plaques, from 24 inches to 48 inches wide, have retail prices that range from $600 to $2500 and up. Our plaque prices depend primarily on their area, their design detail and complexity (e.g., complexity and fine detail of carving ,amount of hand-polishing and burnishing, amount if any of gilding, etc.). Gold- and silver-leaf gilding is the most expensive, due to the very high cost of materials and the extensive labor required to gild and burnish thin metal leaf on 3-D surfaces. Metal-coated or gold-leaf gilded plaques (Techniques (A) and (B) above) are about twice as much per square foot as painted plaques (which may include metallic gold and silver paint, Technique (C) above). More detailed information on sign retail prices, along with their design features, are described on the Price, Size, and Design Features page.
CONTACT US. Please call or email us for a price quote on a specific sign. We will work with you to design and build the exact sign or plaque you want. Our knowledgeable and helpful Customer Service Representatives, Christie and Regina, will respond to your request promptly. Call us at 951-698-8484 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can fill out and submit our on-line Request an Estimate Form. We would like to make your sign or plaque, and we are confident that you will be pleased with it. We take great pride in every product we make for our valued clients. We offer a 2 year warranty on all our products.
CONTENTS IN GALLERY. This Gallery 7 contains photos of our plaques & signs in the following order:
(A) METAL COATED PLAQUES
4. Nickel-silver (German silver), Stainless-steel and Aluminum
(B) GOLD, SILVER & COPPER-LEAF GILDED PLAQUES
5. 24K Gold-leaf gilded
6. Fine Silver and copper-leaf gilded
(C) GOLD AND SILVER METALLIC PAINTED PLAQUES & SIGNS
7. Gold and brass metallic paint
8. Silver metallic paint
9. Bronze metallic paint
(D) OTHER METAL PLAQUE & SIGN FABRICATION TECHNIQUES
10. Cut-out aluminum overlay plaques
11. Wrought iron cut-out signs
NAVIGATION. Please move the slider on the scroll bar on right edge of the window to see the photos at the bottom of this page. Please click on a Photo below to enlarge it and get more detailed information. . After you expand a photo, to return to this Gallery page, click on your back browser button or "Return to List" at the bottom right of the sign. To go to a different photo Gallery, you can click on a numbered light gray box in the bottom left margin. Other web pages (e,g, requesting a design, an estimate, or a quote) can be viewed by clicking on a gray box in the upper left margin. Other web pages, including our Home Page, can be visited by clicking on dark gray tabs at the top of the page in the header.
We make metal (wrought iron and aluminum), metal-coated (bronze, brass, copper, stainless steel, nickel-silver, aluminum), and gold, silver and copper-leaf gilded plaques and signs. These form a thin veneer over a substrate manufactured from high-density-urethane (HDU), wood, or metal. Our bronze, brass and nickel-silver metal-coated plaques are most popular, and are alternatives to fully painted or stained wood plaques and signs. These wall plaques can have either raised and sculptured 3-D carved bas-relief art (similar to Product Line 2) , beveled or V-cut engraved text , or raised 2.5-D raised art and text, sometimes called flat relief (similar to Product Line 1) . All our metal coats provide a high degree of ruggedness and protection against damage, are 100% waterproof, and will last decades.
These metal surface signs and plaques are suitable for both outside and inside locations, including memorials, dedications, monuments, government and public buildings, museums, historical buildings, informational displays, and great seals or logos on the walls of government buildings such as courtrooms. Smaller versions are suitable for walls in lobbies, offices, conference rooms, and podiums.
These metallized plaques are roughly 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of cast bronze plaques, look very similar (including ageing), and will last decades. They cannot be walked on, however.
We can work from a computer file, or a photo, a drawing, a sketch you supply, or we can create a new design for you. We can design you a custom plaque or sign design, often at no additional cost, if you do not have vector art computer files. Refer to ID number (e.g. M2307) if you want your sign to be similar to one or more signs shown in the galleries In addition to this Gallery 7, Galleries 30 through 35 show examples of metal plaques organized by application. We make the following types of metal plaques:
(A). Metal-Coated Plaques. We can coat our HDU and metal plaques and signs with a cold-casting metal coating liquid spray (using a spray gun or airbrush. We use a proprietary blend of real metal particles and a binder (similar to epoxy resin for fiberglass) that we cold-spray onto virtually any substrate, including high-density-urethane,(HDU), acrylic, aluminum, and steel, to create the look and feel of solid cast metal. Our metal-coated carved plaques use either 20 lb/ft3 or 30 lb/ft3 density (about the density of wood) High Density Urethane (i.e., Precision Board from Coastal Enterprises) for improved polishing and extra durability; this has substantially more density and strength of HDU that most other sign companies use for their HDU signs, which is only 15 lb/ft3 (we use 20 lb/ft3 HDU for our painted and gold-leaf gilded plaques). The metal coating has a living finish and will age naturally over time. The metal is applied as part of a proprietary seven-step process by our craftsmen. At an average 10-mil thickness (metal electroplating is less than 1-mil thick), our metal-coating process adds less than four ounces of weight per square foot, provides the durability of solid cast metal, and is non-corrosive. Our metal-coating and HDU substrate has a Class 1-Class A fire rating.
Metal-coating is expensive because of the cost of the material ($800 to $1000 for a gallon), and the extensive labor required to hand polish and burnish the metal to a high shine (as much as 8 hours for a large plaque). Our metal-coated plaques cost $162/ft2 (retail), compared to our painted (including metallic painted, (C) below) HDU plaques with a price of $87/ft2 (for 3 colors or less). Our proprietary meta-coated HDU substrate may be used for on both interior and exterior locations. The metal coating will not chip, flake, bubble, or peel and will last a lifetime. Our metal coatings include bronze, brass, nickel-silver, copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and iron. All of these coatings can be applied with a patina, spot-polished, or high-polished. Samples of these colors and textures are shown in the photos above. The variations for each material are achieved by the mixture ratios of the coating material and the amount of polishing on different areas .
(B). Gold, Silver and Copper-Leaf Gilded Plaques A somewhat more expensive alternate to the liquid metal coating process described above is metal leaf gilding, which we use for a wide variety of plaques and signs. This is the traditional way of gluing thin metal leafs on a 3D plaque or sculpture, using techniques first developed by the ancient Egyptians. (Many of King Tutankhament's artifacts were gold-leaf gilded). Gold and silver-leaf gilding was refined and used extensively in palaces and cathedrals in Europe. As you would expect, the materials are expensive (24K gold leaf is $2000/ounce) and the process of gilding is exacting and very labor-intensive. We have two craftsmen qualified to do gold-or silver leaf gilding, and they do a beautiful job. We often gild V-cut engraved or raised prismatic letters and 3D carved art appliques, but only occasionally do we gild an entire plaque because of the expense. It nearly doubles the price of a wall plaque if the entire plaque is gilded, compared to being painted with metallic gold or silver paint. We can also copper-leaf gild a plaque, but the copper metal coating process described in (A) above is about the same price and looks more like solid copper
(C). Metallic Painted Plaques. A much less expensive alternative we often use is to paint the plaque or a portion of it with Matthews MAP brass or 1-Shot's gold or silver metallic paint, and then overcoat with a clear-coat to reduce oxidation and increase shine. The disadvantages of metallic paint compared to metal leaf gilding is that (1) gilding is shinier and more reflective than metallic gold or silver paint;(2) metallic paint, even when clear-coated, will lose some of its luster over 20 to 30 years due to oxidation, whereas the shininess of 24K gold-leaf lasts forever. However, metallic paints can be repainted at a fairly low cost. Note that the metal-coating process described in( A) above does not include gold and silver metals because of the very high expense; gold and pure silver must be gilded or painted onto a plaque. However the bright brass coating is nearly the color of gold, and both silver-nickel and the aluminum metal-coating have the appearance of silver. There are three options to achieve a gold-appearing plaque;(1) brass metal coating, (2) gold-leaf gilding; (3) 1-Shot gold metallic paint. Of these (3) is least expensive, (1) next, and (2) the most expensive (for an entire plaque; for a small area, it only adds about 10% to the price of a painted plaque)
(D). Solid aluminum and wrought iron metal plaques. We make solid metal plaques from aluminum and wrought iron. Most are 2.5-D flat relief plaques or signs, but some (metal cut-out holes) are 2-D. We cut these with our computer-controlled water jet cutter, to remove intricate areas, leaving artwork and text as holes or alternatively, as metal around the holes, or we can sandblast the metal to surround text and art with a blasted, rough background (no holes). These are relatively inexpensive and are very striking. We can paint these or leave them the natural metal. The iron signs and plaques will take on a patina of rust when left outdoors. which is often desirable for rustic signs and plaques, especially for ranches and cabins. Please call us at 951-698-8484 or EMAIL us at info@ArtSignWorks.com for more information on design options, prices and delivery times, and our helpful and knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives, Christie and Regina, will respond promptly.