When creating a custom plaque, the tendency is to reach for the tried-and-true wooden backer. It’s fast, inexpensive, and easy to produce but may lack the creativity that sets you apart from the competition. When you open your customers’ eyes to new possibilities, you not only differentiate yourself from the others but gain a customer for life.
Small plaques can be mounted on pieces of lava rock, river rock, or other similar stones. Solid-surface countertop material can also make a great backer. Check in with a kitchen remodeling company in your area and offer to buy their off-cuts – they may even just give it away. Typically, these contractors discard the material that is left over when a sink opening is cut into a counter top. They may also have small pieces of marble or granite that can find a new life. For them, selling the material is just added profit; for you, it’s a great-looking backer for your customer’s service award.
Another method for discovering new materials is to visit a craft store or home goods store and wander the aisles. Look at the materials readily available and think about how you can employ them in your applications. For one-off builds, you may even find some great source material at a thrift store.
The possibilities are unlimited. When you open your mind, you find inspiration all around you, and your customers will appreciate your resourcefulness, earning you a reputation for original designs and personal service.
-Michael Eddins, Gyford StandOff Systems