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A Guide To Folded Tray Signs


A Guide To Folded Tray Signs


The Basics

What is a Tray Sign?

A sign tray is a flat panel of a given material, that has been folded on all sides to create a tray. This is a more stylish alternative to a flat sign panel and gives your sign a 3D effect. This also allows fitting to a surface without unsightly face fixings. Tray sign systems offer a more prominent appearance (and a greater variety of illumination and shaping options) than a flat panel sign. Typically found where customers are keen for a 3D effect with no visible fixings, the tray sign system allows for almost unlimited variation in size, shape, and return depth.

Tray signs can be made out of a multitude of materials for both internal and external usage, such as signage, photography and branded displays, sound-dampening in open-plan rooms and offices, and can include a multitude of embellishing features. They can be wall mounted, post mounted, or even hanging or projecting.

In this blog, we walk you through the variations we have to offer, as well as a breakdown of each material's benefits, costs, and attractive features.

What can a Tray Sign be made out of?

Folded sign trays are a really versatile and cost-effective way of creating flat signage that offers a stylish alternative to a flat panel or board sign, and that neatly hides away unsightly face fixings. We offer a choice of AluminiumACM (Aluminium Composite Material), and even Illuminated 'Flex Face' Tray Signs buyable through our website, but can also quote for custom creations made of Stainless SteelAcrylic (Perspex), or any material that can be folded without compromising itself.

What are sign trays predominantly used for?

Tray signs are incredibly versatile in their range of applications. We have created try signs for shop fascias, internal displays, reception signs, branding displays, wayfinding, large industrial park signage, and small business owner signs for their homes. They can be used in a number of formats too, from wall-mounted, post-mounted, totem/monolith style, projecting, and suspended/hanging.

What colours or finishes are available?

Your sign tray can be either direct printed, direct printed and laminated for additional benefits and longevity, or vinyl wrapped for the ultimate signage and display solution. These print solutions offer a multitude of finishes, full-colour printing, and finish appearance from brushed metal, matte, gloss, satin, or even made to look like another material entirely like wood or fabric. 

You can also embellish your tray to make a real feature of it, this could be stand-off letteringacrylic logo creations, fret-cut letters or shapes, backlit letters and logos, and more! It's entirely up to you.

What size sign tray can I have?

We can manufacture and print tray signs of any size and to any area coverage. From small under 1-meter trays to large 10-meter+ building corner wraps - we can create a solution for you. The large the tray sign, the more sections it will be split into, this is for both the installer's benefit and yours! All sections can be seamlessly joined to look like one solid piece, and your print artwork will show exactly where the joins occur.

Installing larger single-piece trays requires more muscle, more machinery and labour, and therefore more cost, it also allows you to edit and change sections of the tray without needing to replace the whole fitting. At Creative, we offer a full installation service or can send your tray to you by special courier service.

Wall Mounted
Post Mounted
Totem / Monolith
Suspended / Hanging


Tray Sign Overview

Add shapes, illumination, texture, and colour to create extraordinary signage options or keep it simple with standard folded returns. At Creative, we can take your vision and make it a reality, as signage and display specialists, we are a popular choice when a strong first impression is required, delivering simple construction to the installation team and lasting appeal to the customer.


ACM Tray Signs

Our aluminium composite material is the highest quality Dibond-like signage solution. ACM is made up of two 0.3mm aluminium skins sandwiched either side of a low-density polyethylene interior. With weather-resistant and waterproof properties, ACM is one of the best substrates for outdoor signage. It is lightweight, can be direct-printed or vinyl wrapped, and folded into a tray by hand, making print and production cheaper than alternative tray materials.

  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Direct Print or Vinyl Wrapped
  • 5-7year warranty
  • Recyclable plastic core and aluminium sheet
  • Manual labour bending and finishing


Aluminium Tray Signs

Aluminium Tray Signs are a popular and long-lasting choice when a strong first impression is required, delivering simple construction to the installation team and lasting appeal to the customer. Aluminium is incredibly hardwearing, and a signmaker's choice for professional and sleek signage. Due to its strength and properties, the Aluminium is vinyl wrapped with your design, which will need to be replaced much sooner than the tray itself which can last over 25years.

  • Heavy & Durable (Rust-resistant)
  • Powder Coated to any RAL or Vinyl Wrapped
  • 25+year warranty
  • Welded and bent by machine so higher production costs


Illuminated Flex Face Tray Signs

Lightbox tray signage is a fantastic way to increase brand visibility both day and night. The Flex Face refers to the backlit fully printed fabric graphic which is tensioned within an aluminium tray.
These can be custom sized to any space, with full LED lighting internally mounted for year-round illumination. As a premium option for tray signage, the quality and longevity of illuminated tray signs will always be sure to get you noticed.

  • Aluminium Tray with Fabric Skin
  • Powder Coated Frame / Direct Printed and Lacquered Skin for ultimate longevity
  • Custom-made tray and skin for exact requirements
  • Technician installation is required due to electric components.

Tray Sign Material

Material Thickness

Direct Print

Vinyl Application

Powder Coated


Strength : Weight

Longevity (Time)

Cost (£)

Recyclable (Material)

Embellishment (Lettering etc.)

Ease of Installation

ACM 3mm


Yes (5-7year guarantee) \ Bent



£ Yes Yes Easy
Aluminium 2.5mm \ Yes (5-7year guarantee) Yes Welded


Long-Term £££ Yes Yes Easy
Illuminated \ Yes (onto Fabric Skin) \ Yes Welded


Long-Term £££ Yes \ Expert / Technician Required


Tray Sign Summary

Each Tray Sign option carries its own benefits and best suitability for its application type. ACM is a fantastic budget option, used by companies large and small for interior and exterior signage. Due to its lightweight and robust nature, it can be fitted to just about any surface. The lamination of the print is what gives the warranty length, and the signage can easily be removed, re-faced and re-mounted when needed.

Aluminium Tray Signs are dubbed the 'signmakers choice' due to their longstanding and traditional media type. Aluminium is known to be incredibly hardwearing, it will never rust and can stand all weather fronts and temperature changes. However, due to these benefits, and the skill needed to create trays from aluminium, they do carry an extra cost. The aluminium tray itself will always outlive the vinyl graphic applied to it, which will carry the same longevity as that of its ACM alternative. Do you want to replace the tray and vinyl wrap every 5-7years, or just the vinyl?

The Illuminated Tray Sign is the premium option of the 3 listed here. We have partnered with excellent suppliers for the raw materials of this product option to give you a real showstopping signage display. It comes with an aircraft-grade aluminium tray with all the fixtures and fittings, as well as a full-colour printed fabric skin which is acrylic lacquered for extra longevity. However due to all the aluminium parts, cabling, LED lighting and skin application, we recommend this type of sign is only fitted to brick walls, or reinforced cladding or the like - this all depends of the size of the sign. It is also worth considering if you have any upcoming changes to your business, be it your lease is coming up, is your branding changing, or do you have the ability to install the sign, as a skilled technician will be needed for the electrical elements to be fitted safely.

Be sure to also check out our other signage products including sign lettering, our great range of illuminated signslightboxesprojecting signs, neon signs, signposts, digital signage, signage boards and office branding for walls, windows and floors.

Fret-Cut Illuminated Lettering
Stand-Off Lettering & Vinyl Graphics
Halo Illuminated Lettering
Fret-Cut and Vinyl Graphic Inlay
Flat Cut Acrylic Lettering

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Need to discuss your signage, display or custom sign design? Get in touch via our contact us page to discuss and talk about your project. We have worked with many clients in all fields of operation, from mall boutique high street shops, to large global enterprises. Our expert Quotations Team, in-house Design Team, and Installations Team are all on-hand to provide information and assistance.

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Posted by Samantha on August 16th 2022

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