Trophy Engraving: Which is Best Acrylic or Glass?

When you visualize a trophy, what comes to mind? Many may recall the colorful metal and plastic trophies displayed in school trophy cases, or classic wooden and metal plaques with plates awaiting future engraving. In recent years, the trending trophy design has a sleek, clear appearance made of either acrylic or glass, and often times includes a laser engraving detailing the recipient’s accomplishment. These trophies are both beautiful options to for awards, but which material is easier to engrave, and which one is the right choice for you?

Both glass and acrylic come with advantages and disadvantages:

Chemical Makeup: The biggest differences between acrylic and glass are what the materials are composed of. Acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic often used as an alternative to glass. Chemically, it is a human-made polymer of methyl methacrylate. Acrylic glass was first developed in 1928 and available commercially beginning in 1936. Glass is formulated with sand, sodium carbonate, lime or calcium oxide, and additional additives. Glass can be found in naturally-occurring forms, but the earliest known human-made glass dates back to 3500 BC.  

Weight: Glass awards are about two times heavier than their acrylic trophy counterparts. Although the additional weight of a glass award gives them a more premium feel, this also means that it can be more expensive to ship.  

Durability: In terms of impact, acrylic is much more durable than glass. If dropped, glass has a much greater likelihood of shattering. Acrylic is known to be shatterproof, thanks to its softer and less dense form, but this also means that acrylic isn’t as scratch resistant as glass. Should damage occur, it is fairly easy to buff out scratches in acrylic plaques and awards, but scratches in glass may require professional repairs.

Appearance: From a distance, glass and acrylic awards are almost indistinguishable. Their ability to transmit light to create a beautiful, shining effect is almost equal.

Price: Many factors go into award pricing, including how easy the components and materials are to work with. Both acrylic and glass are very moldable, which makes both of these options much more affordable than crystal trophies. The cost difference will most likely be felt when shipping kicks in, as the weight of glass makes it more expensive to transport.

When it comes to engraving, which material is better? Ultimately, both glass and acrylic are amazing canvases for engraving, so it all comes down to your trophy needs. If you’re anticipating low-risk of damage and a need for a weighted award, glass might be your better option. If you’re building an award that will be displayed in a high-traffic space or out in the elements with many opportunities to break or scratch, acrylic would be the best choice.

If you’ve weighed your options and decided on glass trophies, the Acrylic Warehouse team still has you covered. Our Recognition Specialists can provide more information on both our acrylic and non-acrylic products, including glass, marble and crystal, and work with you to create a beautiful engraved trophy for your next recognition event.

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