The Right Approach to Lucite Embedded Awards
Lucite embedded awards can provide recipients with something that is truly deserving of that overused description “unique”.
Most award and commemorative options are simply taken off some factory shelf. Your “unique” award might, ten minutes later, be yanked off the same shelf and used to commemorate some entirely different occasion for an entirely different company or organization.
Embedding items in Lucite (a kind of clear acrylic), on the other hand, can provide an array of options completely customized for the specific event, occasion, or achievement that you are looking to commemorate.
This level of customization can greatly enhance the perceived value of the award or commemorative for recipients.
But what exactly are Lucite embedded awards? Can anything be placed in Lucite, or do some materials work better than others?
This post covers some of the practical and aesthetic considerations involved in Lucite embedments, and will help guide you to awards and commemoratives that are actually deserving of the word “unique”.
Why Would I Want to Embed Something in Lucite?
Asking what can be embedded inside Lucite anticipates another logical question:
“Why would I want to embed something in Lucite?”.
There are any number of occasions where you might consider embedding an object in Lucite.
For instance, here are just some of the Lucite embedded awards and commemoratives we’ve provided recently:
- A team award, ordered by a construction company for its own employees as well as its client, celebrating the completion of a large municipal tunnel extension. The Lucite commemorative incorporated actual metal pieces removed during the construction project.
- A Lucite commemorative, featuring a real, embedded Coca-Cola bottle, celebrating the company’s long-term relationship with a Florida university.
- A custom award recognizing the first oil loaded onto the first vessel at a newly commissioned Texas dock, and incorporating in a vial some of the actual oil.
- A custom Lucite, with an embedded drug vial, used to honor researchers in a treatment for solid tumor cancers.
What gives all these pieces cachet, and again, what contributes to their perceived value, is that they incorporate something that is so closely and so uniquely connected to the event, occasion, or achievement being honored.
That “uniqueness” can take many forms: whether that means, as in the case above, using the actual oil involved (as opposed to some generic, black liquid), or, as another example, segments of the same conductor strands, installed by one utility’s emergency crews after a hurricane, being used in a Lucite recognition piece.
Can Anything be Embedded in Lucite?
So, if Lucite is so versatile, does that mean anything can be placed inside it?
Unfortunately, no. Embedding objects inside Lucite involves a baking process using something similar to a kiln.
Some materials, such as rubber and plastic, simply will not hold up to the high temperatures involved.
Beyond that, the rules of Lucite embedment can get complicated, even counter-intuitive.
Just as an example, we’ve discovered over the years that some cookies can survive the heat of the baking process; rocks, by contrast, can’t. (The physics here are actually fairly straightforward: rocks, like some objects, actually store the heat they’re subjected to, causing the Lucite itself to crack).
So how can you tell what will work?
The Right Approach to Lucite Embedded Awards
An experienced firm should be able to tell you the likelihood of the object you have in mind surviving the embedment process. Beyond that, a conscientious firm might also insist that a test run be conducted, before any order is placed, to be certain that its best guess is actually accurate.
An experienced firm will also know that what “works” here also involves an aesthetic judgment. Yes, your object might survive the baking process but it could come out looking slightly singed or discolored. And what’s the point of showcasing something that’s going to look lousy?
Some Alternatives to Lucite Embedment
What do you do if the object you have in mind doesn’t successfully embed? There are alternatives.
Sometimes we can come up with a workaround. In the case of one commemorative, for example, we designed a recess so that the actual sand from a site being preserved was never subjected to the baking process.
Another alternative involves the use of pewter miniatures as substitutes for the “real thing”. This is fairly common since there are obviously any number of items, such as aircraft engines and auto parts, that would otherwise simply be too large to place inside Lucite.
In other cases, we may actually advise a client not to use a Lucite embedment, or at the very least, to consider another material that might still deliver the desired effect.
For example, we might suggest, as an option, that the client consider an effect in crystal that allows objects to rendered three-dimensionally — a captivating technique that can capture a surprising degree of detail. Depending on the circumstances, this can prove to be a better practical, and aesthetic, option.
The Corporate Presence and Lucite Embedments
At The Corporate Presence, we have over 40 years of experience in helping clients embed items in Lucite. More importantly, we’ve developed the expertise to guide clients if turns out they either can’t, or shouldn’t, embed something.
We’re experts at the Lucite embedment process, but we know enough not to push any one process or design on our clients. Our goal is always to help you celebrate success and achievement, and to provide you with the best possible design options to do precisely that. Contact us today to learn more.