Tag Archives: Magnesium

Top ribbon producer counts on PEC for flawless foil blocking dies

chevron-stripes-horse-ribbonHorse Show Ribbons has a long history of providing high-quality foil-stamped ribbons for horse shows and equestrian events around the world. There is only one manufacturer Horse Show Ribbons Owner Page Estes trusts to provide the hot stamping dies she needs to create these ribbons for her customers: Pella Engraving Company.

Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, Horse Show Ribbons was founded in 1965 by Page’s mother, Ellie Estes, now 93. When Page, a former champion horsewoman herself, began to expand the business, she acquired a company that was using Pella Engraving to fabricate its foil blocking dies. Soon after, Horse Show Ribbons placed its first die order with PEC and has never looked back.

When Page gets a new customer, their unique artwork is sent to PEC and processed through its system. First, a negative is created and imprinted on 0.153-inch magnesium, then run through an imager (image on left below).

Next, the plate is placed in the developing tank to expose the bare metal. Then, it’s off to the etching machine where it is acid-etched to about .070” deep. The magnesium plates are then cut apart (image on right below). Although Horse Show Ribbons’ foil blocking dies are unmounted, PEC does offer mounting on wood or aluminum backers.


Horse Show Ribbons’ final die size is often 2.25 x 4 inches, but sometimes dies as small as 2 x 1 inch are created. The final size of the magnesium die is critical. “Even a fraction of an inch off on the size, and the dies won’t work in the press,” explained Page.

Page needs one master plate for each customer. This plate typically lasts 10 years. She uses a separate plate, also made by PEC, with place imprints—e.g., first, second, third, etc.—in combination with the main imprint for place ribbon orders. Using the presses in her shop, she uses gold or silver foil to stamp onto the color and style of ribbon chosen by the customer.

“We produce more than 500,000 ribbons each year,” said Page. Beyond equestrian customers, Horse Show Ribbons also makes ribbons for birthday parties, weddings, bat and bar mitzvahs, and other events.


A hot stamping die made by Pella Engraving on the press at Horse Show Ribbons.

The resulting ribbon.

PEC gets a hot stamping die order from Horse Show Ribbons two to three times per week during their busy season, and about once a week the rest of the year. Because PEC fulfills same-day turnaround when artwork is emailed by 9:00 a.m. Central Time, Page knows she never has to wait long for her dies to arrive.

“They know exactly the size I need, and they’ve helped me out when I need to place an order in a hurry,” said Page. “They are so easy to work with—I would not think of going anywhere else.”



Bring your magnesium or zinc plaque to life with a little color

When your plaque calls for color, Pella Engraving offers several options to consider that fit a wide variety of projects. No matter your budget or desired aesthetic, our team can help you plan a colorful plaque that stands out from the crowd. 

But which color option is the best fit for your plaque? To help you decide, PEC has put together this quick guide to our color options for zinc and magnesium plaques.

Add color accents with paint

Hand-painted color is ideal for customers who envision a classic, traditional-looking plaque. Customers who go this route can choose from PEC’s lineup of standard colors, which varies depending on the color of the plaque material (i.e., silver, copper, or gold). Hundreds of PMS PANTONE® colors are also available at an additional charge for customers who like the look of a painted plaque but want a more specific color.

Hand-painted color is ideal for traditional-looking plaques.

Hand-painting keeps the full integrity of the plaque material intact. Once a color is chosen, the PEC team paints the recessed areas of the plaque with that color. More than one color can be used, though a raised area must separate each color.

Along with the recessed areas, Pella Engraving can further enhance the timeless look of the plaque by tipping the raised areas with color. Standard tipping colors, which include iridescent colors, are available. Gold, copper, and silver protective coatings for raised areas of the plaque are also an option.

Reproduce vibrant colors and images with UV flatbed printing

While adding color with paint may be ideal for traditional plaques, PEC’s UV flatbed color option is perfect for customers interested in a vibrant, contemporary plaque.

With UV flatbed printing, customers can add both color and detailed images to their plaques using Pella Engraving’s specialized printer. The UV printer is the fastest and most cost-effective plaque color option, with the added bonus of no extra charges for custom colors or limitations color choices. It is also an outstanding option for logos, photographs, government seals, and more because it can reproduce images with areas of multiple colors.

The secret is the UV printer itself, which prints directly on materials like a sheet of aluminum and uses specialized ultra-violet lights to instantly dry ink. These aluminum sheets can then be cut into almost any shape and adhered to a plaque backing.


Flatbed UV color printing is a good option for plaques with logos, photographs, and government seals.

Choosing the right option for incorporating color on your plaque can make it truly shine. To learn more about PEC’s plaque color options, visit the plaque personalization and UV flatbed printing pages on our website, or contact a member of our team today.

Rosettes give plaques a little extra class

Rosette_CornerScrews are one of the most common and practical ways to mount a plaque to a wall. While many people are content with the appearance of the screws once their plaques are mounted, some are looking for another option.

Etched rosettes are one possibility. These engraved floral shapes can disguise the screws while adding a vintage decorative flourish. A pleasing addition, particularly on minimalist plaques with not much other artwork or text, rosettes are also economical—Pella Engraving will etch rosettes around screw holes for no additional charge. The holes and screws themselves are only $5 more per plaque.

When a customer chooses to add rosettes to a plaque, Pella Engraving puts the rosettes on the artwork design that is submitted to the etching machine (see right). The rosettes are etched onto the plaque in the same way and at the same time as the other artwork and border, so they are the same height and match the appearance of the rest of the plaque.

Sample-Rosette-PlaqueRosettes are available on zinc, magnesium, and Metalphoto plaques. The size of the rosette is determined based on the size of the plaque.

Installation tip: Rosettes and holes for screws are the kind of detail the Pella Engraving takes pride in offering to our customers. On most plaques, Pella Engraving strongly recommends customers allow us to drill the holes for them. Because we drill the holes right after the plaque is etched, before any of the other finishing work is done, we avoid drilling through the primer, texture, clear coat, or paint. Customers who choose to drill their own holes risk chipping or flaking off the finish. In addition, drilling after the finish is applied opens the plaque up to moisture around the screw holes, which leads to increased wear around the holes and voids our three-year warranty.

New etchers installed by German manufacturer

It’s been worth the wait! Pella Engraving is excited to report that its new Stoma etchers are up and running. PEC was happy to welcome Reinhard Matzke, owner of Stoma, to Pella to oversee the installation of these two machines. Watch the video below to see them at work and learn more about Stoma from Reinhard himself.

The new etchers will upgrade PEC’s zinc and magnesium etching capabilities.

“A huge thank you to Reinhard and Bernd from Stoma,” said Owner Jeff Vroom. “We also want to thank all our contractors that made this possible: Lanser Plumbing, Gritters Electric, Cornie Vanden Broek Concrete, and Ed Sprague.”


Brent joins Owner Jeff Vroom to welcome the new etchers to American soil


One of PEC’s old etchers is hauled away



Commemorate the important things in life with a memorial plaque

A plaque attached to a heavy-duty stake

If you’re creating a memorial plaque destined for exterior display, Pella Engraving Company offers stake options to meet your presentation needs.

Life is full of people, places, and events that deserve to be remembered. One way to preserve those memories is with a long-lasting, personalized memorial plaque. With a memorial plaque, you can honor a company founder, commemorate a historical event, or pay tribute to a friend or family member.

Pella Engraving offers several types of memorial plaques—the right one for you will depend on your specifications. The type of material Pella Engraving will use for your plaque will depend on the environment in which it will be installed, whether you’ll want to include a picture or artwork, and the overall feel you want for the final product. Give us a call at 877-549-5447 and we’ll help you decide what material is right for you:

  • Magnesium – An economical option perfect for detailed artwork, but exclusively for indoor use.
  • Zinc – Great for detailed artwork and indoor or outdoor durability; an excellent lower-cost alternative to bronze.
  • Bronze – A classic option that conveys a sense of importance.
  • Brass – An elegant, lower-cost alternative to bronze. An image can be etched into the brass and then filled with color, or the plaque can be etched with a raised image then given an antique finish.
  • Metalphoto – A nice, less expensive material for a lasting plaque. Whether it is all text, or includes a photo, Metalphoto is for you. These plaques can be used indoors or outdoors and resist weathering, fading, and abrasion from UV rays, heat, salt spray, and cleaning products.
  • Copper – Offers a recognizable warm, ruddy color and classic feel; suitable for outdoor or indoor use.

Products & Services

Plaques and Awards
From individuals, to schools, to businesses, Pella Engraving works with a wide range of customers… Read More…
Plaque Personalization Options
From detailed artwork, to vibrant coloring, to irregular… Read More…
Plaque Display Stakes
If you’re creating a plaque destined for exterior display, Pella Engraving Company manufactures high-quality outdoor display stakes… Read More…
Indoor and Outdoor Signs
If you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor sign for your business or organization, Pella Engraving… Read More…
Nameplates, ID Tags, Serial Tags
Pella Engraving Company is a reliable supplier of engraved, UV-printed, and anodized metal ID tags… Read More…
Recognition and Donor Walls
Pella Engraving Company’s recognition and donor walls can be customized at every step… Read More…
Magnesium Dies
Pella Engraving Company has been manufacturing quality magnesium dies and printing plates… Read More…
CNC Routing and Plasma Cutting
Pella Engraving’s CNC routing machine and CNC plasma cutter are capable of executing intricate engraved… Read More…
Sandcarved Awards
If you’re looking to bring variety and elegance to your corporate awards… Read More…
Laser Engraving and Laser Marking
Laser engraving is a diverse process that lends itself to both our plaque- and tool-marking capabilities…Read More…
UV Flatbed Printing
Add color to your plaques, awards, and other products with Pella Engraving’s flatbed UV printer. Read More…