Okay, let’s be real. There is something about acrylic that just screams elegance. It looks like glass or mirror but is practically shatterproof, making it a really good option for events.
It has so many uses! Here at Wedding Design by Anika, we have created invitations, menus, seating charts, and other signage out of this material. (And I’m sure that we can come up with other uses as well!) It comes in a variety of colours, from crystal clear, to opaque white and even coloured mirror! It can also be cut and etched to add even more elegance to the look.
So, this week, instead of doing a compare and contrast between different products/printing methods and the like, we are going to outline some things to be aware of when it comes to ordering acrylic.
It’s more costly than paper:
We have to say it, so we will say it first. Acrylic is an expensive material to work with. It’s thicker than paper and also more durable, due to it being plastic, which instantly increases the cost.
It’s wise to know that the base material comes in large sheets which require cutting down to size. So, the final quantity can really matter to the final pricing. If your custom design requires the ordering of a specialty product and you need a fraction of an additional sheet, you will most likely be charged for what didn’t get used (or “wastage” in industry terms). It can also affect printing costs, as most printers will base their original estimate off of the total square footage of material they are presented with/believe they will be using.
It also is wise to understand that acrylic does not have the same drying characteristics as paper does, and requires a different type of printing method. It works well with vinyl for larger printed areas, but the most common method for this material is UV ink, which also includes UV white ink process. (We did a blog post about this process a few weeks ago: click here to read it!) Because this printing method is less commonly accessible than paper digital printing, it raises costs.
Ask your stationer how many pieces can fit on a single sheet and try working within those numbers. If you have multiple pieces being used, like invitations and tags, they can all be placed on the same sheet to cut down on costs and wastage.
It comes in different thicknesses:
The great thing about acrylic is the weight of it! It feels solid and substantial. It also comes in a variety of thicknesses, depending on what you are using it for.
Standard thicknesses are 2mm or 3mm, but can go all the way up to 18mm (almost an inch thick!). While we don’t recommend sending 18mm pieces of acrylic through the mail, it could be used for stand-alone signage at the ceremony or reception.
Also, keep in mind that the thickness of the acrylic that you use for mailing stationery will affect the total weight and thickness of the package, and will add more cost to shipping.
If sending your acrylic invitation through the mail, upgrade your envelopes to a double fold to account for the difference in thickness between paper and acrylic.
Thanks to Sandra from Sandra Bettina Weddings and Events for including us in her “moody” style shoot that featured these clear menus!
It can be shaped and etched:
Want to know how to add even MORE elegance to your acrylic? Etch a design or text into it, or have it laser cut into a beautiful shape.
We created these beautiful cocktail signs above for a wedding this summer, and just after the etching process, we filled the etched areas with gold paint. (Shout out to Hitched by Joelle for bringing us in on that one!)
You can use a bladed machine or laser machine to cut the outline of the shape, but for smooth edges, we will recommend finding a good laser cutter to do the work. The laser will melt the acrylic as it goes around the edge, causing a much rounder, smoother feel.
Always check with your stationer as to the maximum thickness that the cutter can work with. Blades and lasers have different maximums, and thickness can determin the method used.
Don’t come with a huge budget for acrylic:
No problem! It’s still possible to do smaller jobs like welcome signs and table signs to give that slight bit of pop! Or, instead of an acrylic menu for each person, consider doing one or two per table that can be placed on a little stands. That way, you get the look and feel of acrylic at a smaller price point!
Can you see yourself using acrylic at your event? Let us know in the comments below!