Plastic wall letters have always been a great product for me to use for customers seeking a clean, durable brand. For red brick backgrounds, white plastic wall letters make a great choice. This particular customer wanted to add a new partner’s name to the existing name on the wall. I met with the owners to survey the area of the signage and what would have to happen to accomodate the additional letters. They wanted to keep the same letter height, typeface, and color scheme. The only difference would be to use durable 1/2″ thick acrylic versus the existing cut-out and painted plywood letters that they had used for decades.
Sometimes I refer to plastic wall letters as FCO letters, which stands for “flat-cut-out”. There are many ways to make wall letters. Plastic wall letters can be cut from flat stock or they can also be formed in a vacuum forming process using molds. Cutting the plastic letters from flat stock is done by a CNC router. Each letter is cut and then threaded holes are drilled in the backs to accept aluminum or stainless steel studs that hold the letters onto the wall.
The labor hours involved to install plastic wall letters is determined by the wall material: brick taking the longest, gyp board probably the shortest. Once the customer approves the final design, the letters are ordered. After a normal 4-8 week period, the letters arrive at my shop from the manufacturer along with a computer-generated pattern that I use to mount the individual letters on the wall. I arrive early on the site, set up my walkboard and proceed to layout the drill pattern. I find the center of the wall area and, after rolling the pattern like a scroll from each end, I tape the center at the marked centerline. Then I unroll each side, taping it down as needed with high-tack duct tape. Once the pattern is double-checked for center, baseline height, and level, I use a wall punch to make dimples in the brick at each stud location. Then I drill a 3/16″ hole into every marked stud hole, coming back with a 1/4″ drill bill to accomodate the 3/16″ studs and silicone adhesive.
Once the holes are drilled, I dry-fit each letter to make sure everything works and each letter fits correctly into the holes. After all letters are dry-fit, I come back one more time and apply a clear adhesive to each stud, fastening each letter in place. It was a hot day to install the letters, but fortunately my helper, Jennifer Hackley, was able to help me complete the final project!!
Mark Hackley owns Augusta Sign Company in Staunton, VA 540-943-9818