Sign Installation Tips for Metal and Plastic Letters

Creating attractive, attention-grabbing storefront signs, interior business signs, outdoor custom signs, or other signage with plastic or metal mounted letters is a cost-effective way to advertise your business to customers as well as adding some style and flair to your space.

Plastic letters are typically the least expensive option and, depending on the finish you choose, you can still achieve the “look” of metal with a plastic lettered sign. Consider the placement of the lettered sign and whether your customers can actually reach or touch the letters. For example, you might opt for the more expensive metal lettering on an exterior building display and replicate the same look in plastic lettering on a wall behind a reception desk, or over an exposed “open” kitchen, or on any high wall space in your business. Repeating the lettering in the same fonts and colors—whether in plastic or metal—will reinforce your brand recognition among customers.

These three-dimensional lettered signs elevate the exterior or interior space of any business. They can instantly add sophistication and style and you might consider taking it a step further by adding spotlights to really make the lettered signs stand out at night. (A note of caution on lighting for interior spaces: consider the finish you use on the plastic or metal letters. A matte finish may be your best option indoors as the spotlight on a shiny finish could actually be too bright and distracting.)

Once you have designed your letters and you are ready to place your lettered sign, take these steps to ensure a smooth installation process:

  1. Start with a paper template: Trace your plastic or metal letters on a large sheet of paper, which you will use in the actual installation but will also use to try out different wall placements. Using painter’s tape, try the paper template in a few different spots to ensure you are going to position the lettered sign correctly. Have a few different people view the placement, too. You will need a second (or even third!) set of hands in this installation process.
  2. Organize your supplies: In addition to the paper template, you will need a level, painters tape, adhesive, a power drill with bit and studs, and a center punch or nail. A ladder may be needed for installation, depending on the height you choose for your lettered sign placement.
  3. Place your template: And make it straight! Use your level to ensure the paper template is straight on the wall. Once you have settled on the placement of the lettered sign, keep the template attached to the wall with painter’s tape.
  4. Mark your spot with the studs: Next, you will screw the studs into the back of each plastic or metal letter, then use a center punch or nail to mark the stud placement on the wall. (You will basically punch through the paper template to mark these spots on the wall.)
  5. Ready, set, drill: Remove the template from the wall and drill all the holes that you marked on the wall. (Tip: keep your paper template if you are repeating the same lettered sign in another location.)
  6. Take a test run: First, position the lettering in the holes without any adhesive; make sure your placement is straight and level. Adjust the holes if needed to improve the positioning of the letters.
  7. Clean the area: Remove your metal or plastic letters from the wall and wipe down the surface thoroughly to ensure any debris or smudges are removed before mounting your lettered sign.
  8. Glue and set: Place your adhesive on the studs and drilled holes and then insert the studs into the drilled holes in the wall. Use painters tape to temporarily hold the letters to the wall and screw the studs into the back of the letter.
  9. Bring back the level: Use your level to ensure your sign is straight, both vertically and horizontally. Take some time to view it from different distances and angles and make any adjustments if needed. Once you are satisfied with the lettered sign, remove any painter’s tape.

While stud mounting is the most common method for plastic and metal letters, there are other options available, including some with easy to use double-sided tape or pad mounts. Consider the placement of your sign and go with what is likely to be the most long-lasting and durable option for that space. A reachable sign in a family-friendly restaurant, for example, should be stud mounted to avoid little hands pulling the letters down.

For outdoor signs, there are also options for stud on brick placement. This can be a bit trickier, and consider hiring a professional to mount the lettered sign on brick for you.

Plastic and metal lettered signs are not only used in business settings as they can add style and flair to residential spaces as well. Homeowners can use lettered signs to display family names, create fun and lively kid spaces, and add a touch of whimsy to their décor.

A final tip to bear in mind when you receive your letters from a manufacturer: all letters are produced to appear correct when installed. Letters like “O” and “S” are produced slightly larger than other letters due to an optical illusion that occurs with rounded letters appearing smaller when placed next to other letters. When installed, all the letters will all appear the same size.

At American Sign Letters, we provide custom sign letters and numbers at affordable prices. We can work with you to create a business or residential signs to fit all budgets. We carry a huge selection of lettering, including copper, brass, aluminum, vinyl, plastic, and metal letters. Learn more about our products at and contact us for a quote today!