Selecting Acrylic Awards

Corporate awards presentation ceremony with sparks and confetti flying in celebration of the recipient.

This article is a long time coming! Our sales team is often asked, what type of acrylic award should I purchase for my recognition program?

Answering this question requires thoughtful evaluation of many aspects that go into the manufacturing and decoration processes involved in creating fine custom acrylic trophies and awards.

For instance, if being an American made or better yet Made in the USA product is important to you, if there will there be an item to be embedded inside the acrylic, if the award needs to hang on the wall, and if using color is a factor in the final product, to name a few.

Today we are going to look into the processes behind each of our standard acrylic award products, in an effort to educate you on how acrylic awards are made, the manufacturing processes involved, and then cap it off with some of the most advanced engraving and decorating techniques we use everyday to personalize awards for companies around the US and Canada.


First, let’s discuss the difference between a decorator and a manufacturer.


Trophies on a local trophy shops showroom shelf.Local trophy shops have popped up all over the country since the 1960’s, and most of them are small mom and pop type shops with fewer than 5 employees.

These shops typically have equipment to engrave metals, acrylic, wood and sometimes glass. Generally customer service is excellent and the products they sell are simple and easy to personalize with in house engraving equipment.

The award items sold are generally produced overseas with China dominating the industry as the country where most trophy components are imported from. Distributors bring the items into the US and then ship as needed to the individual trophy shops for on site decoration or personalization as needed.

Since the early 1980’s the process of engraving and decorating awards has changed drastically with the advancement of computer aided design. Engraving techniques have morphed from pantograph engraving to computer driven industrial diamond and now laser engraving machines that can mark many different materials.

Recently a shift in the industry has highlighted the introduction of color on trophies via direct printing on acrylics, glass and metals. When this article was written it is estimated that less than 10% of local trophy shops have adopted ultraviolet printing technology that allows for direct printing on flat substrates.



Laser cutter in acrylic award manufacturing facility.Acrylic trophy manufacturers on the other hand have complete control over the entire process – including fabricating materials from scratch to cast, cut, and polish acrylic trophies.

More involved than engraving or adding color to preconfigured award blanks, manufacturing acrylic takes the process to a whole new level.

You should expect that any company claiming to be an acrylic trophy manufacturer would have the ability to cast liquid monomers and powdered polymers in order to mold acrylic resins into unique shapes, add color, and suspend items in crystal clear blocks of Lucite®.

Acrylic manufacturing often requires the use of powerful laser cutters and large power equipment to plane, shape, and polish acrylic into custom shapes in order to prepare them for decoration which often includes full color graphics and laser engraved personalizations.

US Acrylic Awards is a proud manufacturer of fine acrylic awards specializing in our own exclusive stock designs, plus our in house US manufacturing facility in Glendale, Arizona offers full acrylic casting capabilities and sheet stock fabrication to create amazing custom Deal Toys and Recognition Awards.



Now let’s take a look at each of our Made in the USA product lines in order to help you make a wise decision as you move down the process of selecting an award for your next event.

Offering acrylic medallions, plaques, trophies, and fully customizable cast Lucite® embedments – US Acrylic Awards has the largest selection of acrylic products to recognize your team.



Grouping of Array™ Acrylic EmbedmentsArray™ Acrylic Embedments

Our Array™ line is the cornerstone of US Acrylic Awards and is often used for Deal Toys, recognition awards, or sales tools. Featuring cast acrylic resins that form a one-piece solid cast Lucite® block designed to float your object effortlessly inside crystal clear acrylic.

Designed to showcase your life's treasures – whether a rusty bolt from your most recent antique automobile reconstruction or your ticket from the first concert you attended. Corporations have found embedments to be useful for signifying FDA approval of their pharmaceutical company's latest and greatest benefit to the medical world or to recognize the parties involved in their Initial Public Offering.

With ten standard shapes to cast your item including rectangles, squares, circles, triangles, hexagons, octagons, pyramids, cubes, rectangle blocks, and prospectus books, our team can just about cast anything that has the molecular structure to withstand the heat and pressure required to transform acrylic liquid polymer and monomer compounds into fine acrylic pieces of art that will last a lifetime.




Three different styles of Lucite® Police Badge Embedments.Lucite® Badge Embedments

Technically a Lucite® Embedment, but a cornerstone of our acrylic award product line, our badge embedments are designed to cast public servant badges inside crystal clear acrylic resins.

Perfect for the retiring officer or badge carrying government official. Our acrylic embedded badge line comes in 8 standard shapes, including multi badge options for the officer who progressed through the ranks during her career.

Check out this video of our team manufacturing cast police badges from the casting room all the way through final polishing.





Grouping of Allure™ Acrylic EncasementsAllure™ Acrylic Encasements

Encasements are our solution to items that cannot be cast inside acrylic resins due to the heat and pressure requirements mentioned above. Rubber is a great example of a product that has a molecular structure that often bleeds into the clear acrylic compounds.

Our article on ‘The do’s and don'ts of acrylic embedding’ is very informative and a great place to start if you’re not familiar with the embedment process.

Picture an encasement as a sandwich of three acrylic components – a clear or colored background, a center component that has been LaserCut™ to open a cavity to the exact specifications of the item to be encased and a clear front cover to hold it all together. Simple and elegant Chicago Bolts hold all three acrylic components together to gracefully suspend items like silicon wafers, toothpaste tubes and rubber model tires inside acrylic.




Grouping of Allure™ Acrylic EntrapmentsAllure™ Acrylic Entrapments

The Allure™ Entrapment is the sister product to our Encasement line. Designed to suspend paper items inside two exacting acrylic shapes and held together with your choice of magnets, screws or Chicago bolts.

Often ordered to protect a corporate letter of acceptance, wedding photos, or a diploma, the Entrapment is free standing and can be ordered 1” thick standard or for a more substantial profile either 1 ¼” or 1 ½” thick.

Some fun ways to enhance an Entrapment are by personalizing them with laser engraving or full color ultraviolet printing. Both decoration methods can add logos or full color graphics to the piece with words of appreciation, event dates, or other information about the item entrapped.




Grouping of different shaped Aspect™ Acrylic AwardsAspect™ Acrylic Awards

Also known as an acrylic block – our Aspect™ line is the simplest form of corporate acrylic award. Made of saw or LaserCut™ acrylic sheet stock and available in ¾” or 1” thicknesses the Aspect™ is functionally free standing, but can be accentuated with a clear or colored acrylic base.

Featuring 15 standard shapes: square, triangles, star, crescent, rectangle, hexagon, peak, circle, flame, meridian, mountain, obelisk, octagon, oval, and a flat peak – and three sizes of each. Made of clear Lucite™ the Aspect can be laser engraved or imprinted with full color graphics to accentuate corporate logos and branding.

The Aspect™ line is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for a low cost, high quality shaped acrylic award to recognize your team.




Grouping of LaserCut™ Acrylic AwardsLaserCut™ Acrylic Awards

Now we’re getting into custom acrylic award shapes that are often contoured to corporate logos or event media. The word LaserCut™ as we’ve coined it is exactly what it sounds like – US Acrylic Awards uses high powered Kern Laser Cutters to create unique custom shapes out of multiple different thicknesses of clear Lucite™ sheet stock.

So, how does it work? First off we need your logo, event graphics, or vectored shape if you already have an idea of what you want your acrylic trophy to look like. Our graphics team will take your artwork and create a contoured shape a little larger than the image which will be the cutline one of our high power laser cutters follow to cut the shape out of the sheet stock.

LaserCut™ awards often utilize a combination of ultraviolet printing, laser engraving or both to add color and accents to the custom shapes.

Check out the video below, which walks you through the process of creating the graphics, printing the sheet stock, laser cutting the acrylic, and assembly of custom basketball tournament event trophies.

Laser Cutting Video by US Acrylic Awards


Grouping of LaserCut™ Acrylic Medals with ribbonsLaserCut™ Acrylic Medals

Our lowest cost acrylic award option, the acrylic medal has quickly become a favorite for karate, basketball, soccer and baseball tournaments. Available in standard shapes, round and square, like our LaserCut™ Acrylic Awards mentioned above they can be contoured to your event logo to add one of a kind character to your tournament prizes.

The most amazing thing about acrylic medals is our ability to create medals as small as 2” and as large as 5” – making them a versatile option to the traditional gold, silver, and bronze medals presented for years at tournaments around the country.

Full of color with direct ultraviolet printing to match your event branding – we also offer 35 ribbon colors to tie it all together.



Grouping of Composites™ Acrylic AwardsComposites™ Acrylic Awards

Our Composites line has redefined corporate recognition with a combination of acrylic embedding and cast Staron® solid surface material to add a weighted stone look to the clear acrylic shapes.

Available in eight standard shapes and four Staron® stone solid surface materials, the combination of clear Lucite™ and stone accent strip creates a defined engraving area or decoration area that may be printed with full color corporate logos and branding.

The Composites™ line stands tall as one of our trademarked best sellers for traditional corporate awards and can be ordered in bulk, kept in stock, and engraved as needed for added cost savings.




Grouping of Acrylic Award PlaquesAcrylic Award Plaques

A staple in the recognition award industry – the award plaque is taken to a new level with the introduction of full color printing and laser cutting technology.

The Acrylic Award Plaque by US Acrylic Awards is offered in eighteen different shapes. From traditional rectangles to shoe shaped acrylic plaques. Each full of color and available in multiple sizes, the options are limitless – plus custom shapes are always an option if you have an event logo you want to highlight.

Try our floating designs with a shadow effect created by fabricating two acrylic shapes into one unique plaque.



Okay now let's switch directions and highlight our colorful acrylic trophy lines.

Though we mentioned above our LaserCut™ line which often is accentuated with full color graphics – our exclusive ColorCast™ and Lucent™ lines set the standard for one-of-a-kind colored acrylic awards.



Grouping of ColorCast™ Acrylic AwardsColorCast™ Acrylic Awards

Manufactured in much the same way as our Array™ embedments – the ColorCast™ line of acrylic award trophies feature finely cut and cast colored acrylic accents to the 11 standard shapes we offer.

Added to the mold during the acrylic embedding process, the color strips are gracefully suspended inside the clear acrylic with a seamless look that adds depth and interest to the trophy. Choose from up to 28 different color options including glitters, solid colors, and translucent accents to make your trophy truly unique.

Personalize with laser engraving, full color graphics, or a combination of both to add words of appreciation to recognize your teams.




Grouping of Lucent™ Acrylic AwardsLucent™ Acrylic Awards

Where light and acrylic combine to make an exclusive translucent option for corporate acrylic trophies. Our Lucent™ line features a two part upright trophy with a clear engraving area highlighted by a second acrylic component with a translucent back print.

Available in nine standard colors, plus we will create a custom color to highlight your corporate logo colors if requested. One of our best sellers, the Lucent™ Acrylic Trophy line adds a sleek stylish appeal to corporate recognition by capturing light and reflecting a colorful background for your personal message of appreciation.




Printing or Engraving Acrylic Awards – what process is the best?

We’ve been discussing some of the manufacturing techniques throughout this post, but should address the most important subject – how acrylic awards are personalized with words of appreciation, company logos and most importantly the recipients name.

We’re going to take a look at the two most common processes US Acrylic Awards use every day: Laser Engraving and Direct Ultraviolet Printing. You can read a more in-depth account of the history of engraving and other processes we use by reading this post from 2021 – ‘The Mark of Excellence’.


Trotec® Laser EngraverLaser Engraving

Since the 1980’s laser engravers have been used in the trophy industry for marking and personalizing metals, acrylics, glass, leather, and wood. Over the years the Lasers have become the mainstay of most trophy shops throughout the world.

Though early lasers were massive machines using scanners to read and transfer the engraving data and or graphics to the substrate, today's lasers are smaller and in some cases fit on a desktop.

We use laser technology today for marking (engraving) cast acrylic substrates with text or logos and often to add visual depth to a trophy by reverse engraving borders and backgrounds.



Mimaki® Direct Ultraviolet PrinterDirect Ultraviolet Printing

Digital printing equipment has continued to advance over the years and US Acrylic Awards has adopted the processes with open arms. Today digital printers are capable of permanently marking acrylics, glass, metals, and flexible vinyls.

Often used in conjunction with our Laser Cutters, UV printing offers a world of possibilities to enhance corporate brands and event graphics.





UMASS Embedded Deal ToySolar City Deal Toy AwardCruise America Deal Toy with full color mountains and laser cut motor home.Best Trash Deal Toy

Now that you have an idea of some of the creative stock acrylic trophy styles we create, let’s talk about custom acrylic awards.

As a US manufacturer, custom Deal Toys and Acrylic Awards are what we do every day. Building on over 35 years of acrylic manufacturing experience, our team specializes in using acrylic casting, laser cutting, direct ultraviolet printing, and traditional shop fabrication to create some of the most unique acrylic award designs in the world.

You can check out some of our custom work by visiting our Custom Deal Toy Gallery – where you will see an amazing collection of work we’ve done for other clients. Our design team enjoys thinking outside the box and we’re just a phone call away at 833-760-1816 or visit our contact us page to submit a question.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoy creating beautiful acrylic awards. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to work with you on your next project and assist you in selecting the perfect acrylic award for your next event.


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