View Full Version : Desperately need your most creative ideas for a triathalon plaque award.

Bill Stearns
05-07-2014, 7:42 PM
Okay Guys 'n Ladies -

I really need your most creative thoughts and ideas for an upcoming project! I'll try to explain concisely as I can. (plus a diagram). I need to create a stunning award plaque for a Triathlon event coming this summer. (there will be 10 awarded.) All the races (bike, running 'n swimming) start at the lake in the lower left corner. Originally, I thought the races would go 'round the lake, so that I could engrave the lake in the plaques center. Turns out the tracks, or routes, are off-set above and to the right of the lake to be highlighted. (somehow?) There will be three different tracks/routes to be shown. (I'm only showing one.) one running 'n two bike races. I am planning to use 12" x 15" alder plaques as I do with my other regular lake plaques. My simply engraving routes on a good portion of the plaque, well, I've got' a think they are gonna look pretty blah. ? (even if I try to color-fill the different routes.) ? So - please put on your thinking caps for me, if you will! Those of you who have listened to my whining 'bout my sales in past threads, will understand how much I need what promises to be a nice sale. Now - sitting on pins' needles! Thanks in advance.


Scott Shepherd
05-07-2014, 7:58 PM
I can't help with ideas, but here's one (of about 100 or more) that I did for a local event. They were the bamboo with one piece being engraved, the other blank. It was the same size as their numbers. They told me that people collect the numbers from their races, so our engraving became an album for all their races.

I didn't design it, I just engraved them, but maybe it'll spark something for you.


Scott Shepherd
05-07-2014, 8:01 PM
Here's an old beat up, faded one I had laying around. Forgive the dirt.

Dave Sheldrake
05-07-2014, 8:13 PM
What about clear acrylic in the shape of the track? details of the winner can be added in the middle (and lights up if on a wall under an uplighter)



Bert Kemp
05-07-2014, 8:41 PM
how bout engraving a biker, a swimmer and a runner around the lake engraving

Mike Null
05-07-2014, 10:56 PM
I'd consider reverse engraved color filled acrylic with stand offs on a rosewood or high gloss mahogany plaque.

Just my taste, but I don't think of alder when I think of stunning. I doubt that I would make the lake a part of the engraving. I like using more than one medium for this job.

Browse the Johnson Plastics and JDS catalogs (and others) for materials ideas.

This link is to a client of mine. The reason I am providing it is to offer some new perspectives on ways things might be approached. Only one or two examples of my work are shown as it is limited to supplying sublimated plates of various shapes and sizes. They do engraving, cnc work and sand carving typical of things we might offer but they are a fairly large group and a look through their site shows their capabilities. http://innovationsinart.com/flashsite/awards.html

Bill Stearns
05-08-2014, 12:12 PM
Scott - Oh! if only they were simply asking for a nicely engraved logo, and text on a plaque! (like the one you've shown.) To All - I do need to keep the "lake", or 'least a portion of it, on the plaque's design as the events revolve 'round a resort/establishment on this lake - plus, the swimming track will have to be included somehow. There will be three running/biking tracks, over-lapping - so, I'll see what I can do with color-filled, reverse-engraved acrylic - off-set. And, while they have already seen, and approved, my Alder, think I will take a look at gloss mahogany as a nicer option. Forgot to say: the name of the triathlon, plus other text, will have to be included in the design. The idea of engraved photos (runner, biker, swimmer) would be a nice touch - but, can't use a local person's picture, or a triathlon from someplace else. Please keep the creative ideas coming, as they are already pressing me for design layouts! I'm attaching picture of one of my regular lake maps, just for reference. (BTW: Mike - could not open that "innovations" site; maybe, I need to update "flash", or something.) Thanks, all!


David Somers
05-08-2014, 1:48 PM

Is this the same lake show in your Sand Lake placque? If so, what part of the lake are the 3 race courses bounded by?


Bill Stearns
05-08-2014, 3:54 PM
David -
No. This is not the same lake 'round which area the races take place. Just thought it might help to show what I meant by a "lake engraving" of mine. My diagram at the top of this tread shows the "tip" of the lake (lower left) where the races take place - it's 'least that "tip" that I will have to show on my plaque. Thinking now 'bout all I can do is engrave the tracks/routes as they are - either directly into the wood or maybe on lifted acrylic cover - was just looking for creative ways to make the plaque more, well ... fancy. I'll keep at it. (I have purposely eliminated lake names, etc, - ''cause I don't want the world knowing which actual event I'm working on, you understand.)


David Somers
05-08-2014, 5:07 PM

See if this gives you a starting point. Sorry for the quality. This was literally chicken scratched while I snarfed a sandwich.

The lake, the upright portion to its right, and the stand would be a nice wood.
As would the little bit of lake in the bottom left.
The routes would be on acrylic or other clear media, and either etched or etched and infilled for greater contrast. The lettering for the awards would be inside the routes, and possibly in the lake area at the top of the award, or something done on the base itself. Though i am not sure that would stand out enough.

Just a thought that hopefully gives you a starting point for ideas. Or at least something to guffaw at?? <grin>



Chad Fitzgerald
05-08-2014, 6:13 PM
This is where i would start, then over the next few days change this and that. have a few beers and change one or two more things. before you know it, you will love it.
Maybe some sort of border quarter inch in from the outside.
Maybe the biker, swimmer, runner could be veneer/color filled/raised.
Hope this helps some

Bill Stearns
05-08-2014, 7:24 PM
Thanks Chad, David & All -
Sure appreciate your taking your time to provide me with ideas. Especially, the diagrams; very helpful! I think the inclusion of the biker 'n runner graphics may add an awful lot - 'cause with just "route lines" I felt something was surely missing. Had my mind on including engraved photos, not graphics, which presented potential problems. (my using a copyrighted picture? - my showing the wrong type of race? you know.) Trouble is, when I try to think creatively, I get too far out there! Was actually wondering if I could deep-engrave the lake areas, fill this plaque area with actual colored water, then cover 'n seal the "lake" area with clear acrylic. (was told by a wood-craftsman friend that the water would eventually rot the wood - so, I dropped that idea.) So - will start on your ideas tomorrow. (have 'bout had it for one day.) - thanks 'gain!


Mike Null
05-09-2014, 8:14 AM

One more idea. I imagine you'll be using a 12x15 plaque and it should leave some room for appliques of a runner, swimmer and biker. they could be done in contrasting wood or plastic.


Keith Upton
05-09-2014, 8:52 AM
What about engraving each of the routes on a separate layer of acrylic? I've been doing that lately for LED lighting things different colors. The phyicial layering would make each route stand out more and allow you to color fill each one a different color. I've not worked with standoffs before, but maybe you could sandwich the three layers together with those to attach them to the wood plaque. Flame polish the edges for a nice finish.

Another thought is inlays. Stain the lake areas with a nice blue stain and the routes in different colors and inlay them into the base plaque. If the routes looked like colored ribbons or paths (about 2-4mm wide) snaking though the plaque, that could look pretty cool. For a more upscale look do the same thing, but just use natural wood stain colors for everything.

Bill Stearns
05-10-2014, 10:50 AM
Keith and All -
Have my work cut out for me trying what you all suggested - especially, with the overlapping acrylic layers. I have reverse-engraved, and cut, shapes out of colored acrylic sheets before - but, have never tried using color-fill on acrylic. To save thread-hunting time, could you let me know the dos and don'ts of color filling acrylics. (the race track paths.) Also, 'bout how to "flame polish" the edges afterwards? (WES - if you're reading this - can you suggest which "stand offs" I should order? Have never used 'em before.) Thanks all - I'll try to post 'pictures of the results - as I get it approved, and complete it.
Thanks again. - Bill

Keith Upton
05-10-2014, 8:41 PM
If the paths are not too wide, you can use simple crayola crayons to color fill them...


That is front engraved, but I've since gone to reverse engraved and color filled.

You can of course color fill with paint. If you engrave with the paper masking on, you can color fill with it still on to help control where it goes. Then just clean up the excess. If you use the crayon method, remove the mask and just wipe off the excess wax with a paper towel. It's a bit messy and you have to build the layers of wax up to fill it completely, but it's not hard and does not take to long.

Flame polishing I can't help you with, never had to do it. I have seen other mention it on here quite often, so I'm sure there is a thread on it some place.