A funeral plaque is mainly used to pay homage to the deceased. It is usually placed in the cemetery on his grave, but can also be present at his side during the days preceding the funeral ceremony, when he is exposed to the funeral home for example. Nowadays, there are many varieties of grave markers. Apart from the inscription which is necessarily personalized, they differ mainly thanks to the material used and the choice of its shape.
The suitable materials
Many materials can be used for the design of a funeral plaque. We will distinguish them according to their design methods.
Materials to be engraved
Engraving is the most traditional method for making the funeral plaque. We mainly use marble or granite. If the first is more valuable, the second is especially appreciated thanks to its accessibility. White, pink, grey, blue or green, granite offers a wide choice of varieties to satisfy the wishes of loved ones of the deceased. The advantage of marble and granite is their resistance. They are almost indestructible if they are subjected only to bad weather. Even engravings can remain intact after hundreds of years.
Previously, marble or granite was mainly sculpted by hand. Nowadays, the funeral plaque has become a standard item following the death of a loved one. As a result, the demand is greater and it was necessary to find faster, more modern and more aesthetic techniques. This is how laser engraving appeared. Offering less personalization than a hand engraving, it nevertheless gives an excellent result. However, engraving does not allow you to obtain everything you want. This is the main weak point of engraving compared to printing.
The materials to be stamped
These are mainly metals such as aluminum, copper, brass and other non-ferrous materials. You have different color choices. Once the stamping work is done, the plate in question is generally glued to marble or granite, for better solidity. Like the materials to be engraved, metals are also very resistant. However, stamping is more expensive than engraving. However, you have an even greater level of customization with smudging. The other downside to using metals is that your choices are also quite limited when it comes to inscription. On this point, metals do no better than granite and marble.
Materials to be printed
Thanks to the various technological developments, it is now possible to print in four-color process on various supports. The materials concerned for the funeral plaques are plexiglass, ceramic, glass and acrylate stone. The problem with printing is that the ink deteriorates quite quickly. For example, the lifespan of printing on ceramics is estimated at around 30 years.
On plexiglass, the print lasts only 10 years when exposed to the weather. However, the so-called reverse printing allows the print to be kept a little longer. This technique consists of printing on the back of the transparent plate, before protecting this side by sticking another material on it. This method protects the printed side from the weather and keeps the element intact for a little longer. This technique is also suitable for glass.
The choice of printing for the design of funeral plaques has two main advantages over other techniques. First, it is possible to do everything with this method. You can choose any color and any shape. Second, the materials involved are rather affordable.
What shape should be given to the funeral plaque?
The rectangular shape is traditional and fairly easy to make. However, you can choose any shape. Thanks to various modern methods, it is possible to cut different materials as desired. Currently, two shape choices seem to stand out from the rest: book-shaped plaques and heart-shaped plaques.
The book symbolizes the story of the deceased. It can for example contain various inscriptions relating to it. You can put their name, date of birth and date of death for example. You can add other information such as his profession or his favorite hobby. The heart, on the other hand, symbolizes the affection that his relatives have for him. It is usually accompanied by inscriptions such as "We miss you" or "We love you". Nevertheless, in the end, you are free to choose the form and the inscriptions that suit you.