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Magnetic Signs - How They Are Made

Fine Magnets Made From Fine Materials

Magnetic signs are a low cost alternative to lettering directly on a vehicle. Because a customer can easily put them on and then remove them, they are extremely popular for many small businesses. Over the past decade or so, magnetic signs have become a staple of any modern contractor business and have also become quite popular in all types of other small businesses. They offer two very important ingredients for success: low initial cost and high read rate. Simply put, magnetic signs on each side of your car (and even the back doors or tailgate), printed with your company name, website address, phone number, and a short list of services you offer, create extremely effective and inexpensive mobile advertising that you can use on and off on demand without damaging your vehicle.

Our car magnets come in a range of sizes that fit almost any car, truck, SUV or work van. Magnetic signs are usually ordered in pairs, so they can be displayed on both sides of your car simply by sticking to the surfaces where you wish to place them. Speaking of surfaces, we should note here that not all metallic surfaces will work. Magnets will not stick to non ferrous metals and alloys including aluminum and stainless steel. There are surfaces that look like they should hold magnets that don’t. For instance, Chevrolet Corvette body parts are made from fiberglass. Other modern vehicles use aluminum door panels to reduce weight. Ultra high-end vehicles might use carbon fiber. You may also have trouble with doors made from plastic composites such as those found on some GM minivans.

In general, the bodies of some newer sports cars and other high-end car, truck and SUV models can be problematic when it comes to using magnetic signs - but the vast majority of vehicles out there on the road are equipped with ferrous metal doors that our magnets cling to with great reliability.

Small car with magnetic sign on the door with pizza delivery graphic

30 Mil Magnetic Sheets

At Printastic, we use only the finest materials from Magnum Magnetics to create your custom magnetic signs. We begin with a roll of ultra-premium 30 mil matte white magnetic media. The roll is cut into individual sheets that are the right size to make the custom magnets on that day’s production schedule. The magnetic material is professional grade solution that is magnetized with 12 poles per inch for absolutely no dead spots throughout the surface area. The high quality of the media ensures that the magnets adhere properly to flat surfaces with no air pockets which causes a poor connection between the magnet and the vehicle’s surface.

The thicker the magnet, the more magnetic property it has. This is critical because the stability of a magnetic sign resides entirely in its pull strength. Pull strength is the magnet’s resistance to lifting. This is measured in pounds per square foot. Our high quality sheets have a measured pull strength of 85 lbs/ft2. This level of strength, which is more than sufficient to resist peeling off of a vehicle door at highway speeds, is found only in 30 mil magnetic sheeting.

The lower grade 17 to 20 mil magnets offered by some other companies are fine for use as temporary signs on buildings, filing cabinets, industrial worksites or other metallic surfaces, but will probably not prove satisfactory as vehicle graphics that need to be at their best even in the toughest situations, regardless of environmental factors or weather conditions.

Magnum Magnetics rolls and boxes laying on proudction table at Printastic

High Resolution Eco-Solvent Printing

We print your custom designs on high quality Oracal adhesive back vinyl print material that is ideal for outdoor applications. The vinyl is comprised of a 4-mil, soft calendared PVC film in white with a matte surface. This media offers great versatility along with reposition-able, pressure–activated adhesive. This long–term durable product has excellent hiding power and stability, making it perfect for vehicle magnets and other heavy use products like outdoor stickers. The adhesive component features air release channels for fast and easy installation of bubble-free graphics.

Your images are created using a state of the art 8 color eco solvent ink set from Mimaki that includes not only Light Magenta and Light Cyan, but also Light Black for deeper dimensional monochromatic and grayscale imaging. The addition of Orange ink widens the color gamut for better accuracy and richer solid colors.

Mimaki Eco Solvent Printer

Professionally Mounted & Laminated Graphics

Once the print has been produced, your graphics are transferred to the magnet using our professional-grade laminating system. Once your graphics are produced on high quality adhesive back vinyl, it is time to begin assembling the final product. We take your printed graphic and magnetic sheet to a finishing table and line them up to make sure your message is level and readable. The leading edge of the graphic is then applied to the edge of the magnet (roughly 1”) and prepared to go into the laminator for mounting.

Printastic.com has a range of professional grade laminator systems from Seal and Royal Soverign, capable of producing both single sided magnetic sigs as well as mounting double sided yard signs and complex display images. By combining our lamination department with our high resolution 8-color printing, we are able to provide endless finishing solutions.

Once your magnetic sign travels through the pressure rollers of the laminator, the printed vinyl is professionally mounted to the magnetic sheet material. We then remove the mounted magnetic signs and prepare them for the final step of product construction - applying the protective overlaminate.

Lamination of car magnets is important to ensure a longer lifespan and enhanced quality (gloss, color, resistance to physical damage). Our Oraguard 210 laminate film provides moderate protection from moisture damage and is resistant to markings and graffiti. It also delivers excellent protection against fading from exposure to UV rays. Oraguard 210 is a cold laminate with a UV extension factor of two years, providing ideal protection of medium-term indoor and outdoor digital print applications. This thin film is flexible, lightweight, reliable and it gives your finished car magnets a glossy “wet paint” appearance.

Seal 62 Pro S large format laminator

Rounded Corners Protect Your Product

After your magnetic sign has been constructed from the three main components of magnetic sheet material, adhesive backed vinyl print and protective laminate, the final step in creating your finished car magnet is to round the corners. We utilize a professional grade corder rounding tool from Lassco Wizer. The main benefit to rounding the corners of a magnetic sign is to protect the sign itself and to extend it’s lifespan. Rounding the corners prevents bent, dog-eared edges which can crack and damage your graphics.

Dog-eared corners can also fold back to catch the wind as you travel on fast roads, creating the possibility of a magnet peeling away from the car door surface while in motion. Rounded corners reduce the likelihood of loss by lowering the aerodynamic drag of the sign when applied to a vehicle.

Corner rounder and finished magnetic signs on a production table at Printastic

Reuse, Recycle & Reduce

During the application of the protective laminate layer, a roll of standard craft paper is used under the areas that aren’t intended to be laminated. This is a standard practice that we try to improve upon by repurposing the used craft paper as packing material, instead of simply discarding it as waste.

This practice is one of the many small efforts we make to minimize our use of packing materials that damage the environment and to operate with an eye towards efficiency in all areas of sustainability and business responsibility.

Large roll of reusable craft paper

Magnetic Signs - A Production Pictorial

Now that we understand the basic method and components of creating magnetic signs, let’s take a visual tour of the production process using the information above as a reference:

Step 1 - Printing
High resolution 8 color printing is utilized to place your image onto the adhesive backed vinyl media
Inkjet printer producing multiple images on a large sheet of adhesive back vinyl
Closeup on the printed images to be turned into magnetic signs
Step 2 - Mounting
The printed images are mounted to the magnetic sheet matierial using a professional grade large-format laminator.
images on adhesive vinyl being laid on top of magnetic sheet
Prints going through a large format  laminator to mount them to magnetic sheet
Mounted stickers exiting the large format laminator
Step 3 - Laminating
The mounted images are now protected with an overlaminate covering.
Mounted stickers are placed into a large format laminator to be laminated
Finished, uncut magnetic signs exiting large format laminator
Laminated, finished magnetic signs laying on production table
Step 4 - Rounding
The mounted and laminated magnet corners get cut to 1/2” rounded corners;
Magnetic signs before having corners rounded
Magnetic signs with rounded corners are ready to ship to customers