The etching process creates plaques with 2 levels of graphics–recessed and raised. Etched plaques are ideal for reproducing images with fine detail and small lettering. ADA compliant graphics can be created through deep-etching metal plaques.

Etching Depth
The depth achievable by acid-etching is dependent upon the letter styles or artwork being etched, as well as the size of the etched plaque.

  • Standard etching depths may range from .007 to .020″ depending upon size and detail of the artwork and the material selected.
  • Halftone photographs have a shallow etching depth of .003″-.007″.
  • Deep-etching to comply with ADA requirements is .032″ and may be accommodated, depending on the artwork, in all metals except aluminum.

Graphic images and text are generally recessed on an etched plaque and infilled with a painted color. Brass alloys may be chemically oxidized with the recessed areas appearing as a darker color.

When raised graphics are specified, the background will be painted or chemically oxidized. Small lettering with fine serifs is not recommended for raised graphics.

Etched Portraits
The etching process reproduces artwork with fine detail as well as halftone photographs through acid-etching into metal sheet.

One method utilizes a halftone dot pattern, made from a 50-line screen. Halftone portraits resemble newspaper photographs with their visible dot patterns. The etched, recessed dots are black infilled to contrast with the satin-finished metal background.

The best photographs for halftone etched portraits have high contrast tones with bright white areas, dense black areas, and minimal grey tones. Photos that are monotone or have muted colors will produce poor halftone etchings. Halftone etchings are not available in aluminum.

The other type of etched metal portrait reproduces a black and white line drawing. Because a halftone screen is not used with hand-drawn art, the artist’s fine lines are captured in great detail in the metal plate and can be etched deeper.

Etched portraits are recommended for interior use. However, deep-etched line art may be used outdoors.