Engraving Dye Sublimated Name Badges

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By: Steve Spence   The single most common question I have ever been asked about sublimated Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) name badges is, “Can I engrave them?”. At first, that may seem like a silly question since there is no need to engrave them when you can just print everything at one time. The question probably comes from people who are used to having hundreds of badges silk-screened or pad-printed and then filling in the name as they are needed.   It is true, you can print the finished badge all at once but is there ever a time when you might really want or need to engrave the information on a sublimated badge? Absolutely. Here’s why and how:     What if you customer wants to use a UNISUB® FRP badge but wants the name or logo in a gold, silver or bronze metallic? You can’t sublimate metallics so what do you do? Engrave it and fill it with metallic paint – fast, simple, easy.   Although Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, like that sold by Conde, can be laser engraved, it works best when rotary engraved. Lasering causes the edges of the text to distort and raise up slightly. This isn’t a major problem but rotary engraving doesn’t do that making it easier to paint fill.   Engrave the badge approximately .015” deep if possible since this makes paint filling easier. To paint fill, brush a little metallic paint over the sublimated badge until it fills the engraved areas. Allow to dry for about a minute. Now turn the badge face down and drag it across your “paint removal device”.   Here’s how to make your own “paint removal device”: Get an old phone book and turn to the yellow pages. Pour a small amount of mineral spirits on the yellow pages and allow it to soak through several pages of the phone book. To use, drag the badge face down over a page of the phone book that is wet but doesn’t have puddles of mineral spirits standing on it. Then turn the page and repeat until all the excess paint has been removed. Avoid getting paint on the edges of the badge since this is very difficult to remove.   If you are interested in cutting your own custom shaped name badges, check out our Accucutter® Shears and the CornerMateâ„¢, which has dies for slot cuts.