Push Through Signs

Push Through Signs  or Push through letters signs are fabulous. They radiate your messages with a unique quality because of the way light plays off the shapes and letters.  It is a sign type, but more than that, it is a specific type of sign application or technique. Push Through as an application or technique is often used in a hybrid sign. That is the push through, and channel letters or other technique are often used in tandem. This is the definitive guide to Push Through Signs. What follows in the complete description of the Push Through technique. PUSH THROUGH SIGNS are a form of backlit 3D letters and dimensional signs. Push Through signs are used foe panels, sign cabinets and faces in monuments, sign cabinets, lobby signs and other custom LED signs 

Where are Push-Through Signs used?

Push-Through signs or Push-Through face are used on Monuments, Sign Cabinets, Lobby Signs and Hybrids – That is a combination of a push-Through combined with other types of signs.

Push Through Sign Aloha Ice Company upclose front

What are Push-Through Signs?

The Push-Through is a 1) flat face, normally an Aluminum face with the shapes of the letter outlines routed out. 2) a routed acrylic letter with a wider plane at the bottom. 3) The letter is “pushed Through” the hole in the Aluminum.  40 Often the face of the letter will be painted, or vinyl applied, and the Light comes out the sides.

The Push Though sign offers a unique look

The Push Though sign offers a unique look and feel. It is often cheaper than channel letters, it is always more expensive than underlay. It holds a place in the range of signage available to you. Done right, push through signs are the best option to take your signage to the next level. This is the reason you see it in the best shopping malls, and the best monuments. They give you

  1. A striking and sophisticated look. Push Through Signs stand out and are the mark of quality, professional portrayal of your business. It sets your business apart at first glance.
  2. Push Through signs are memorable because of their unique and bold portrait of your brand. What your company to be remembered? Use a push through sign – it sets you apart.
  3. Unlike channel letters or non-lit 3d letters, a push through size is highly customizable, with logos, different fonts, and the ability to use it in hybrid signs.
Meeting Table SFSD 6

How Do Push-Through Letter Signs Work?

A push-through sign is when the aluminum or cabinet face is routed out and the acrylic is pushed through the face. This gives the sign dimension and greater readability when done right.

The sign can illuminate from the face and sides of the letters or just the sides, giving it a nice edge lighting and elegance. Depending on the architectural details of the building, the back of the cabinet can also illuminate for additional impact.

Letter and shape Sizes

Push Through Signs are normally letters and shapes. These can be a couple on inches tall up to 3 feet or more.  One of the advantages of a push through letter is in the smaller sizes. Channel letters can. Be made down to the 5-7” height ranges. Below that, the metal bending gets tricky and often not possible. Push Through can go to smaller sizes with less expense as well. Because of this, we often use a hybrid combination of channel letters and push through the takes advantage of the best qualities of both.

What Materials Are Push-Through Letters Made Of?

Push-Through Signs are Made of

  1. Aluminum – The Substrate.   The thickness of the aluminum varies, but 063,080 and 090 is common.
  2. Acrylic, The thickness of the Acrylic varies, but ½” ¾” and 1” are common.
  3. LEDs
  4. Vinyl
  5. Paint
  6. Attachment remated materials

A full description is below

Fabing panels from raw sheets of Aluminum

Aluminum - The Substrate

We take sheets of Aluminum, normally 080 and shape these with a CNC router. The outline of each letter is cut out. Letters with centers, like “O”, “R”, “Q”, “P”, “D”, and “B” are cut with the centers first. That is, we cut the centers and then the outline. Later we create a new center area in the acrylic and place the Aluminum centers in the Acrylic to make a fully formed letter. Aluminum is not the only substrate we use. It is the most common, but we have used flooring material, shiplap, laminates, and other thin sheets as the substrate around the letters. We also paint the aluminum with out paint system. The result is a sign that lasts for years.

Using Acrylic – Variations

Push through is the typic, but there are 2 other variations you should know about:

  1. Push through is where the acrylic goes through the Aluminum face and is higher than the face. Light cans and does go out the sides.
  2. Flush to face is the same construction but the acrylic is fate to the face, it does not stick out. The face is smooth. This is not that common because it carries all the expense of a push through but none of the advantages. It is seen in certain applications.
  3. Underlay is where the Acrylic is under the aluminum face. This is the most common and can be seen everywhere. While not as attractive it is much less expensive. It is the main use of acrylic.


Froglander on the router

What are the differences between clear and white Acrylic?

We use both. The main material used is a white translucent acrylic. It has some advantages and disadvantages, but the mail advantage is it is a light diffuser. On thicker push throughs the edge can be seen. Clear acrylic allows you to investigate the cabinet. That is distracting, a white acrylic means you will see white. Clear Acrylic has the advantage of being brighter. While white does not filter a lot of light out, clear filters even less. At a distance, clear acrylic will be brighter, and the edge issue will not be a problem.

translucent vinyl

Why use different kinds of vinyl?

Different types of vinyl, translucent and opaque, create different effects. The front lite letter is easier to read and puts lighter out. This front lite letter can glow and create a unique and very appealing look. The   Opaque Vinyl creates a halo or backlit feel. Halo letters are associated with a more sophisticated, professional look. So, a legal office may use a halo effect and an ice-cream parlor may trend toward face lit letters.

We use two types of Vinyl, translucent and opaque.

Translucent Vinyl comes in a range of colors, these are like a tint of a film. The vinyl has a color in the daytime and acts as a filter at light. At night the light travels through the vinyl and lets only the color through. No filter is the brighter, light colors still allow color through, but less, darker colors filter out a lot of light.  All wonder why dark blue signs are not used often in internally illuminated signage?  Dark blues, and other dark colors filter out most of the light and are hard to make “pop” in signage. Black filters out everything, it is common as a light blocker.

Opaque Vinyl also comes in a range of colors, but at night when the LEDs are turned on and the light behind the letters is applied, it does not go through the Opaque Vinyl. It blocks the light. This allows for a different look. The light comes out from the sides and has a halo effect.

LED Lighting

We use LED lights: These are normally a white / blue light at 6500K.  Household likes are “warm”, and these are closer to 2500K to 3500K. The LEDs we use are brighter and “white”.  We do not use any of the low-quality Chinese LEDs that are flooding the US today. These are made in the US.

LEDs have caused Neon and fluorescent obsolescence
custom sign paint for Marquee Letters

Paint - It is Special

The paint is frame Matthews Paint System, the best sign paint available. This paint is specifically made for signs. It is tough and flexible. Unlike PPG Automotive paint, the finish is not shiny, and is not designed to be waxed or cleaned for years. It is also not a base coat, clear coat, but a color through and through. This paint will last a lifetime. 

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Learn More about Push Through Signs

Push through letters signs are fabulous. They radiate your messages with a unique quality because of the way light plays off the shapes and letters. Click here and we will start the process to get you a unique Push Through Sign