Guide to Rigid Materials for Signs and Displays

At American Color Labs, we have the ability to print directly to rigid surfaces or print to an adhesive and mount onto a rigid surface.   Whichever method you choose to create your sign, it is important to select the right rigid material for your sign.  We put this table together to help you choose the right material.  You can follow the links in this table to other blog posts learn more about each material in greater detail.  We hope this helps you make an informed decision and, as always, if you have any questions you can contact us.

SubstrateMost common thicknessOther thicknessesLargest size (without a seam)WeightPriceSuitable for outdoor use?Common applicationsKey materialsSelf standing
Flatstock paper12pt, 16pt, 18pt, 20pt, 24ptSeveral options available, contact us for more info


28″ x 40″W$NoWindow signage, wall decorationsPaperNo
3/16″1/2″, 1″4′ x 8′W$NoTemporary signs, event signs, self standing displaysFoam and paperYes, but can curl/bow over 24″ x 36″


3/16″, 1/2″4′ x 8′WW$$NoTemporary signs, permanent signs, event signs, self-standing displaysFoam and wood fiberYes, less likely to bow than foam at larger sizes


Aluminum.040″ .063″.080″4′ x 8′WWWW$$$YesOutdoor signs in rugged applicationsAluminumYes


Dibond; E-panel
Aluminum composites
3mm6mm4′ x 8′WW$$$YesIndoor and outdoor signage, wall decordations, self standing signs


Aluminum and plasticYes
4mm6mm, 10mm4′ x 8′W$YesIndoor and outdoor signs and displays, yard signs


Recycled cardboard
3/16″4′ x 8′WW$$NoSelf standing displays and signs, wall decorations


Cardboard1/8″ (b-flute); 1/16″ (e-flute)5/32″ (c-flute); 1/32 (f-flute)4′ x 8′W$Usually no, but ok for shipping in packaging applicationsPackaging, self standing displays


CardboardYes, but can bow at any size
Styrene.040″ .080″.020″, .030″, .060″4′ x 8′W$$YesDisplay units, durable wall signage


3mm, 6mm10mm4′ x 8′WW$$YesSelf standing displays, wall decorations, reusable signs


Acylic3/16″, 1/4″, 1/2″4′ x 8′WWW$$$$YesWall decorations



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