Sign Materials and Substrates

Every sign requires a good working surface. Choose your sign's surface from a variety of stocked sign blank and substrate material. A spectrum of rigid to flexible options are available at your fingertips, including eco-friendly options. Select from wood and other laminate sheets, aluminum, foam, plastic, and digitally printable substrates.


These are the materials​ currently​ used in the industry, Sticky's Graphics Keeps a good amount on hand to save our customers time.

Acrylic • Polycarbonate Sheets and Rolls • PVC Foam Sintra • PVC Foam Sintra / Celtec • Cor X / Coroplast • Foam Boards • Aluminum Sheets • Pan Faces • Styrene • Wood & Recylable Sheets • Flexible / Roll-To-Roll • Magnetic • PETG • Outdoor PVC • Mylar Film • Static Cling • Rigid Vinyl

A material in sign making refers to the physical surface the ink is applied to. Nearly all materials used in sign making have a specific inkset or laminate to use in order to maximize longevity. Sticky's graphics always matches materials with the proper inkset and/or laminate for optimal quality and longevity. Materials are matched to the substrate as well, which include a range of longevity from 1 to 10 years. Specialty vinyls and laminates are used for textured surfaces, vehicle graphics, window overlays, and many other applications


Corrugated Plastic Coro signs are most economical and signs that we can get out fast and inexpensively

Corrugated Plastic / coro

Referred to in the industry as “Corex” or “Coro,” this material is predominately used for temporary and promotional signage.  It’s ideal for lawn signs such as election signs, sales and contractor signs, directional signage, real estate signs, or site signs for new building projects.  Sticky's Graphics is one of the only sign companies in Upstate NY that uses an opaque coro for our double sided coro signs.  This way the image from the second side does not telegraph through. 

  • + Lower cost than other types of rigid signs
  • + Quick turn around
  • + Coro looks like a higher quality sign from a distance
  • + Easy to replace
  • – Can swell in heat if not anchored properly
  • – Gets brittle after a couple of years, starts to degradeBACK TO TOP
PVC Polyvinyl Chloride sheets, smooth Plastic for long term indoor or mid-term outdoor signs, shape cuts well

PVC Polyvinyl chloride Smooth Plastic

A PVC “Foam” that is lightweight yet rigid and durable, it is ideal for medium-term signs for use both indoors and outdoors. It’s commonly used for menu boards, point of purchase, and tradeshow directionals. Other brand names for this PVC product are Sintra, Kapabloc, and Foamacell.

  • + Smooth surface prints well
  • + Comes in a variety of thicknesses, black or white
  • + Can be printed single or double sided
  • + Great for interior wall signs
  • – if used outdoors, it gets brittle in very cold temperatures
  • – care must be taken when mounting not to screw too tightly at cornersBACK TO TOP
High Impact Polystyrene HIPS for indoor or outdoor temporary to mid-term signs

Polystyrene / Styrene

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) offers a consistent, easily printed, smooth,  matte surface for either one or two sided printing applications. This polystyrene product, available in 4×8  sheet form in three thicknesses, is especially suitable for digital printing of displays, POP graphics, signs, translights, tags and cards. It can also be contour cut.

  • + Flexible, lightweight material can be rolled for transport
  • + Contour cut or rectangular pieces make great POP easel standees with character
  • + Used commonly for surveillance or no-trespassing signs
  • + Can be grommeted for more strength in mounting to walls or fences
  • – Not rigid enough for post signage
  • – if scratched, product is weaker along scratchBACK TO TOP
Foamcore & Gator, Gatorplast for indoor signage

Foamcore & Gator Foam / Gator Plast

FOAMCORE is a soft, inexpensive paper product with a wood-fiber veneer. GATORPLAST (gatorfoam, gator) is an extruded, rigid, lightweight polystyrene foam board bonded between two layers of ultra thin polystyrene veneer. These are typically used for medium term office displays, kiosks, POP, exhibits, custom shaped signs, easel signs, and temporary signs.

  • + Rigid gator makes great dry erase boards and does not dent easily
  • + Stocked foamcore and gator is 3/16″ thick, but Gator can be ordered in other thicknesses
  • + Foamcore is an inexpensive product for short term easel signs or stand inserts
  • – Because Foamcore is a paper product, it dents easily and is not great for long term use
  • – Gator must be handled carefully in transport so corners do not get damagedBACK TO TOP
Acrylic Plexiglas can be used for indoor signage, square and shape cut, printed direct or vinyledAcrylic Plexiglas can be used for indoor signage, square and shape cut, printed direct or vinyled

Acrylic & Plexiglass

These are versatile substrates used for a large variety of applications. Available in multiple translucence levels and thicknesses, they’re perfect for modern lobby displays, backlit signs of all types, 3D lettering, and more. Signs for Success can print on the reverse side of clear plexiglass or acrylic using colored &  white inks to make a great indoor wall sign that is very protected.  Acrylic and Plexiglass are used frequently in healthclubs & offices.

  • + Great for use with standoffs on interior walls for high class signage
  • + Used as clear cover on other rigid signage
  • – material can scratch if not cleaned properlyBACK TO TOP
Backlit signs of polycarbonate or lexan can be printed with our Triple Strike method, or have cut translucent vinyl added

Lexan / Polycarbonate

Lexan / Polycarbonate comes in translucent white or clear for use in sign faces on backlit signs. It is 3/16″ thick and can be cut to many sizes up to 100″ by length of sign.  Sticky's Graphics can print full color images on translucent vinyls, or cut a variety of solid colors of vinyl to update your sign face.

  • + Both are excellent for long term use.  Depending on the condition, many times old panels can even be reused.
  • + Our Triple Strike method of printing full color for backlit makes the image color and saturation perfect whether lights are turned off during the day or lit up at night.
  • + Lexan is virtually indestructible.
  • – Polycarbonate yellows over many years in UV lighting outdoors.BACK TO TOP
ACM Aluminum Composite Material for rigid long-term outdoor signs

Aluminum Composite Material

Aluminum composite material, also known as Dibond, Signabond, or Epanel, is made of two sheets of thin aluminum with a solid polyethylene plastic core.  This material is ideal for mid-to-long term outdoor signs as it is not prone to warping in high heat, and moisture will not affect is like it does wood.  It’s great for use in post & rail signs or wall signs. 

  • + Easy to print and laminate
  • + Very long term signs
  • – Care must be taken in handling as edges can be sharpBACK TO TOP
FRP Fiberboard for long-term signs, is very strong and durable, used for larger signs

FRP Fiberboard

Fiberglass Reinforced Plywood Fiberboard can be used in place of MDO wood where larger than a 4×8 substrate is needed. The fiberglass faces provide long-lasting outdoor durability. Fiberboard is gel coated fiberglass on one or both sides and can be fabricated to almost any size, as long as there is a truck big enough to transport it!.

  • + Very rigid and strong
  • + Extremely long term signs
  • – Very heavy productBACK TO TOP
MDO wood Sheets for signs will give you 2-4 year life

MDO Wood

MDO has an exterior-use, long-term grade plywood core, with a moisture-proof smooth surface. Plastic edgecap is optional. It’s perfect for construction site signs, real-estate signs, billboards, double post signs and more. Sticky's Graphics will generally print a sheet of intermediate (3-5 year) vinyl to cover one or both faces (single or double sided), which provides an additional layer of protection for the painted faces.

  • + Very rigid and strong
  • + 2-4 year life until MDO starts to weather
  • – edges must be sealed or protected to help product last longer-BACK TO TOP
Aluminum for signs comes in a variety of thicknesses, some with white baked enamel


This solid aluminum sheet features a smooth, baked enamel white surface (or clear aluminum) and is sold in a variety of gauges. Aluminum is ideal for long- to permanent-use signs such as traffic, parking lot, park, and reusable real-estate signs. White baked enamel faces come in .080, .063, and .040 thicknesses.  Raw aluminum faces may be used if the sign needs to be made reflective by sheeting out with engineer grade reflective vinyl before printing. 

  • + Very rigid and strong, even though thin
  • + does not bend easily
  • + Very common in sizes under 36×24 for outdoor use, larger than that usually uses ACM materialBACK TO TOP
Vehicle magnetic 24' roll for car magnets


Car-Safe magnetic material prints fabulously on our UV printer.  We can also contour cut simple shapes fairly easily. This magnetic roll is 30 mil matte white and is specially coated to help prevent damage to paint. There are some specific installation, care and maintenance instructions.

Other options are always available.

Sticky's Graphics offers a variety of other options for signs to fit any need. Foamcore, a traditional, and more economical foam board for short-term indoor use and displays; wood/PVC/metal composite materials for specific sign uses; speciality textured materials for unique artistic applications; static cling or temporary adhesive materials, wall murals and decals are some other options to consider. The possibilities are endless!

We’ll be happy to brainstorm ideas for you and lend our expertise to your sign project.BACK TO TOP