Click on any of the questions below about ordering one of our quality cast bronze plaques to view the answer.  If you have further questions or comments, please visit our "Contact Us" page to reach us.

expand Why should we consider a cast bronze plaque?

Cast bronze is widely considered by experts and historians as one of the most innovative alloys of mankind for making tools, weapons, armour, sculptures and artwork, and various building materials over thousands of years since items made of bronze were harder and more long-lasting than their stone and copper predecessors.

Bronze plaques, which start with the melting together of pure ingots of copper, tin and lead in industry-approved ratios before being poured into molds prepared by experienced craftsmen, are the "gold standard" for memorializing, dedicating and recognizing loved ones, milestones and achievements, donors and sponsors, historical events and other important occasions.

What is the main difference between you and other bronze foundries?

There are actually only a handful of professional bronze foundries left in the United States and Canada. Our foundry is one of the last ones that is still family owned, having been established in 1909, so you are guaranteed factory-direct quality and "Old World"-style bronze plaque craftsmanship with more than 100 years of experience.

Most retailers--including those on the Internet, award & trophy shops, and local cemeteries and funeral homes--are re-sellers of bronze plaques and grave markers made by one of just a few large suppliers. Although they are not involved in designing or casting your bronze plaque or marker, retailers earn a healthy profit by taking a customer's order and submitting it to the bronze foundry for processing.

The websites of most reputable bronze foundries can be found on the Internet along with dozens of small companies who are consumer-direct retailers of their products. The difference between the quality of their castings and ours can be clearly seen by comparing the photos of their completed projects with those in the photo gallery section of this website.

In particular, look closely at the crispness of their lettering and artwork to determine if it meets your expectations compared to the sharp letters and edges of the examples in our close-up photos.

In surveys of our customers, some who order bronze plaques regularly as part of their business, they tell us they appreciate our fast proof turnarounds, fiercely reliable customer service and consistency of bronze casting quality compared to what they've experienced with other bronze foundries. We're certain our new customers will agree!

How large of a bronze plaque will we need?

That depends. A small percentage of customers have a specific size in mind for their bronze plaque based on where they plan to mount it or how much text or artwork they want to use and how large they want the letters and/or graphics to be.

It's more common, however, that a customer has a set budget and doesn't want to purchase a plaque any larger than needed for the amount of text and/or artwork they have. In this case, after placing their order they usually ask us to use our experience to create a layout using a plaque size that looks most professional after considering how big or small to best present the lettering and/or graphics.

Note: If a customer's text and/or graphics doesn't layout attractively in one size of plaque, but the budget doesn't allow for a larger one, after we discuss the options to them the customer will normally edit the text down or tell us to reduce the lettering size beyond our recommended height so everything fits.

On the order form for the bronze plaques ("Place An Order" section), customers can tell us to either definitely make sure all the text and/or graphic(s) fits on the particular sized plaque they selected or they can allow us to suggest a smaller, or larger, plaque if the amount of words and/or graphics would look better designed in another size.

In any case, our customers are only charged for the size of bronze plaque that they approve after receiving a design proof and signing and returning it to us by fax or e-mail before the next step in the production process begins.

Can we get a free layout of our bronze plaque before we purchase it?

Due to the number of paid orders we receive, we are unable to create custom plaque designs for customers unless payment is received first. This keeps us from dedicating our time and effort to individuals or organizations who may not be as serious about making a purchase.

How many words can we submit for a bronze plaque?

It's difficult to give direction on the exact number of words customers can submit for their bronze plaque since it depends on the amount of text provided, how much emphasis key phrases, names or "headlines" are given in the final layout, and the size of the remaining letters and/or artwork (if any) so everything is readable.

As mentioned above, unless a customer has a specific plaque size or budget in mind and has asked us to make sure everything fits that size or price only, we often will create a design for our customer's ultimate decision and approval in a size that best showcases the words and/or graphics submitted.

Why don't you charge per-letter or word like other bronze retailers?

Two words: Better value! The price that most bronze plaque and marker retailers charge for their products usually just includes a very limited number of total characters and/or lines of text. Any words beyond this amount will incur an additional charge.

For example, families who are purchasing a bronze grave marker and want to add a simple Bible verse or adequate terms of endearment usually find it's too costly since most foundries and re-sellers impose $2.50 to $3.50 per-character or per-word charges for anything more than the standard name, date of birth/death and five-word or 25-character epitaph such as "He Was Loved By Everyone."

They justify the extra per-letter or per-word fees by saying it takes their design staff more time to add extra text to a layout, but most agree this charge serves as a "penalty" and a way to keep customers from wanting more on their bronze plaques and markers so the workload and backlog of orders is less for the foundry employees, saving them time and money.

All of our bronze plaques and grave markers include unlimited "text-that-fits," meaning we don't charge extra as long as there is space to attractively showcase the desired number of words, with or without a graphic.

After all, especially when it comes to bronze grave markers, we understand that after a choice of casket, burial vault and other purchases made as part of a typical arrangement are eventually buried from view, the only remaining vestige of a loved one is the words of reflection and inspiration on the bronze. So why should there be any "penalties" to keep a family from expressing their full sentiments for future generations to read?

Are there limits to how small the lettering size can be for a bronze plaque?

Our foundry prides itself on having a proprietary process for ensuring even relatively small letters are cast with crisp and sharp edges. It's one of the most noticeable differences between our company and the quality offered by all other bronze foundries.

However, even when our "Old World"-style bronze casting is combined with this modern technology, there are limits to how small certain letters and graphics can be reduced before we are unable to guarantee the professional appearance of the plaque and will need to advise our customer that the characters or artwork need to be larger.

Why do you have less sizes, border styles and lettering font choices than other retailers?

We've learned a lot from our customers! They tell us they don't have the time or professional graphic design experience to hassle with all the choices most bronze retailers make them go through just to order a bronze plaque or grave marker!

By surveying our customers, we discovered that it's frustrating for them to have to understand and choose from a confusing array of choices such as bronze plaque sizes, background textures and colors, border styles, and styles of fonts or lettering for the text.

They've told us again and again that those decisions are really of little interest to them compared to being able to include more words at no additional charge...our specialty...in a quality bronze plaque.

As a result, Silver Cloud offers just the most popular sizes of bronze plaques and has reduced the number of decisions in the traditional plaque and grave marker ordering process with what survey respondents wholeheartedly said would be much more important and satisfying to them....more words and personalization without more cost.

Can a customer still get a bronze plaque or marker in a size, or with a background texture or border style, different than what is seen on our website? Absolutely! We encourage special requests, most of which we can satisfy.

Will you offer a size, border style or lettering we don't see on the website?

Our website offers the most popular sizes and styles of bronze plaques and markers, but if a customer wants one in a different size, or with a background texture or border style, they can contact us with their special request. We're sure to be able to meet their needs!

What's your team's approach to designing a bronze plaque?

A well-designed bronze plaque requires someone with a special eye for it, despite how simple and straightforward the majority of our customers expect their plaque to be.

Many bronze plaques done over the years by foundries frequently feature excessive unused space that could have been dedicated to artwork to make it more attractive or to enlarging the text lettering so it has more emphasis and is more readable from a distance. We see this as an example of a designer who is inexperienced or--worse--uninterested in applying even basic layout techniques to their work.

Bronze is not inexpensive and we feel as much of the plaque space should be used as possible. Our designers have professional layout experience with magazines and newspapers which helps them understand how to create proofs with the appropriate font styles, lettering sizes and alignment of all the plaque's elements. It's why 98 percent of our proofs are approved by customers on the first draft without any changes!

Unless specific lettering or font sizes and styles, punctuation, capitalization and/or other direction is provided, customers agree to allow our design team the flexibility to use their experience and discretion to create the most attractive layout possible given the amount of text submitted, the artwork desired (if any) and the space available.

Why don't you use all capitalized letters in most of your bronze plaque designs?

Most bronze plaques cast over the past 75 years or more feature text with all capitalized letters. Other bronze foundries like using all capital letters since they don't have to worry about their staff spending extra time deciding which letters are in upper or lower case, and "all caps" form neat and uniform blocks.

The fact is all capitalized letters take up 40% more space than upper and lower case letters and numerous studies done by the newspaper, advertising and magazine industries have proven that using all capitalized letters and headlines is more difficult to read.

Since one of the main benefits of purchasing one of our bronze plaques is the generous amount of text we offer at no additional charge, and difficult-to-read all capitalized letters monopolize so much space, our customers can expect our design proofs will normally include upper and lower case letters (unless we are instructed otherwise) just as they would see in a favorite newspaper or magazine read by thousands.

Can we have a logo or other artwork on the bronze plaque?
We are usually able to incorporate a logo or other line art-style of artwork at no additional charge. We encourage customers to send their artwork to us for review in Vector format (we can use Adobe Illustrator or an EPS file) to info@BronzeMarkersAndPlaques.com. Customers with questions or comments regarding the use of artwork in their bronze plaque should e-mail them or phone us at (805) 641-0080 weekdays during normal business hours (PST).
What are our options for including a photo on a bronze plaque?

Photos reproduced on durable and brilliant ceramic or porcelain ovals and mounted in open raised bronze frames on a bronze plaque look great in full color, black & white or sepia tone (the slightly faded brown color of many old-time photos that represents the unique look of a bygone era).

We will need a quality copy--preferably not an original--of the best photo available printed by a photo studio or photo processing service. It's important to the final appearance of the ceramic oval that the photo is not blurry, otherwise out-of-focus or taken in bad lighting so that it's dark and shadowy.

Note: It's often better to not have a ceramic photo on a bronze plaque at all if the photo to be used is of poor quality and doesn't attractively present the individual(s).

There are two options for sending it to us:

1). Mail it via a trackable source (i.e., UPS, FedEx) to our address, or

2). Have the photo scanned at 300dpi (dots per inch) resolution at the ideal size of 4 ¼" W x 6" H by someone who understands the proper way to scan photos and e-mail it to us (call and we'll provide you with the e-mail address or will give you other instructions). Your photo will be returned once the ceramic oval has been completed by our manufacturing partner if it wasn't given to us in digital form.

Do we get to see a proof of the bronze plaque before it is cast?

Absolutely! Our designers strive to create an initial proof for your review in hours, not days, when orders are received Monday through Friday. This depends on the number and complexity of other bronze plaque and marker designs in production, but we understand the sooner a customer can approve the design so it can can start the multi-step casting process the sooner they will receive the finished product.

Unless specific font sizes and styles, punctuation, capitalization and/or other direction is provided, by submitting an order for one of our quality cast bronze plaques a customer agrees to allow our design team the flexibility to use their experience and discretion to create the best layout possible given the amount of text provided and plaque space available to ensure the most attractive appearance.

NOTE: Although we respect our customers' right to make revisions to their bronze plaque so that it meets their expectations, we reserve the right to charge a fee if excessive changes--as determined solely by us--are required by our customers. We are not responsible or liable in any way for misspellings or errors in fact contained in the information submitted by customers.

How will the bronze plaque layout be sent to us for proofing?

During the Online ordering process, customers will be given a chance to tell us whether they'd like the proof faxed or e-mailed (as a JPEG image or PDF document) to them once the bronze plaque design is ready.

How should we submit changes after reviewing our bronze plaque design proof?

We often require that the changes be indicated in writing on the proof itself, but sometimes it's as easy as explaining to us by phone or in an e-mail and we'll inform the design team. If changes to the bronze plaque layout are needed, we will immediately prepare a new proof for review and approval unless the changes are minor and a customer indicates in writing that they don't need to see another proof after they're made.

What if we approve the bronze plaque design proof and change our minds later?

Sometimes a change of heart, overlooked details that should have gone on the bronze plaque or the realization that some of the text had errors in fact will result in a request for an adjustment to the plaque after it has already been approved and has begun the multi-step production process.

Although this is understandable, our customers should acknowledge that they will be responsible for the charge to make a change, a cost that largely depends on what phase of production the bronze plaque is in when the change is requested. For example, a change needed within hours of approving the initial plaque proof might not require any charge at all while one requested a day after the approval might still be minimal.

However, if a change is required many days after approval of the proof, it might be too late and any alterations at that point might mean the plaque has to be completely recast and/or refinished, resulting in a substantially higher cost to make the change. Since changes to a bronze plaque after your approval are handled on a case-by-case basis, please talk to us for more details.

Who is responsible if we approve the bronze plaque proof and see an error later?

Although we do our best to proofread and check for errors ourselves as well, it is ultimately the customer's responsibility to ensure the information, spelling and other elements of the bronze plaque meet their satisfaction before approving the proof. As previously mentioned, any errors discovered, or changes needed, after the plaque has been approved and has begun the production process will normally cause an additional cost that will be the customer's sole obligation.

What's the turnaround time for a completed bronze plaque order?

Upon approval of the proof, casting of a bronze plaque is normally completed within 20-25 business days. Another week is required for shipping. This is an approximate (not guaranteed) time frame and shouldn't be strictly relied upon, particularly if planning an unveiling or dedication ceremony.

Do you have a bronze plaque rush service?

Our busy customers are often short on time and in a rush to get their bronze plaque(s) as soon as possible. For an additional fee of $100 per item, we can shorten the 20-25 business days it usually takes to cast a bronze plaque to approx. 10 business days with another 5 business days required for shipping (unless overnight or express shipping is arranged in advance).

Tell us what your specific deadline when submitting the Online order form (or by calling us) and we'll let you know your options!

Note: As with our normal turnaround time estimates, our rush service is an approximate (not guaranteed) time frame and shouldn't be strictly relied upon, particularly if planning an unveiling or dedication ceremony. Having said that, we have many customers who say our bronze plaque rush service is the least expensive they've found and allowed them to meet their deadline perfectly.

What type of mounting do you recommend for our bronze plaque?

We recommend customers only use the "conceal-mount" technique for installing a bronze plaque against a concrete or brick building or wall.

For decades, bronze foundries have given customers the opportunity to choose the method of mounting they prefer according to whether it was on a brick/concrete wall, wood-sided building, drywall, flag pole, etc. If it was for anything other than a brick/concrete wall, a foundry would drill holes through the front of the plaque so different types of screws or toggle bolts could be used for mounting.

The problem? The world has changed over the past 50 years and thefts of street manhole covers, copper wiring in buildings under construction, and bronze vases from cemetery markers is unfortunately becoming increasingly more commonplace today as some individuals seek to profit by stealing and selling these items to scrap metal yards around the country.

We feel that providing customers with the option to screw in a plaque from the front is an open invitation for a thief to unscrew the plaque in a few minutes which is why "conceal mounting" is the only method we recommend.

The conceal mount installation includes creating a paper template outline of the reverse side of the plaque; marking on the paper where the holes are in the plaque; measuring, leveling and marking the drill holes in the surface of the building or wall; drilling slightly larger holes than the diameter of the threaded "studs" that will be screwed into the back of the plaque; hand-tightening the four threaded studs into the plaque; filling the drilled holes with industrial-grade epoxy; setting the plaque with the studs into the holes flush against the wall; and letting the epoxy set according to the manufacturer's directions.

When mounting a bronze plaque on a wood bench, the threaded studs will likely show through on the reverse side after drilling holes in the wood and installing the plaque so we recommend purposely "scoring" or stripping the ends of the exposed threaded studs with a metal file or hacksaw so the nuts can't be removed and the bronze plaque too easily removed.

Will a bronze plaque always look the same as when it's new?

It shouldn't and that's typical with bronze. We encourage customers to take a look around their city or town, or walk around a local cemetery or memorial park, to see for themselves examples of the natural changes that occur to bronze over the years.

At a cemetery in particular they will see recently installed markers and plaques with their paint and letters looking fresh and new while others--that have been there for many more months and years--will feature varying degrees of the greenish patina, appearing on the surface only, for which both copper and timeless bronze have been known for thousands of years.

Most bronze foundries, including ours, will apply a polyurethane-based protective coating after a plaque or marker is cast, finished and ready to ship. However, even this protective coating will gradually wear off over a period of time by the elements (sun, snow, rain) at a pace that's determined by the local climate. This is natural and results in the traditional patina surface tint of aged bronze, a look prized by collectors of ancient bronze art, that actually helps to form a barrier against corrosion in future decades.

Do you offer aluminum, etched or other types of plaques?

We don't since we feel that only cast bronze offers the rich appearance and timeless durability that our customers expect. Cast bronze is the most durable metal for use in the outdoors as it will not rust when exposed to the elements. And although aluminum is slightly cheaper than bronze, it can corrode over time which is why most retailers will not warranty it for more than 15 years and will recommend that plaques made with aluminum aren't used outdoors.

What kind of care is needed for a bronze plaque?

None, if you prefer to let the plaque age gracefully over the years so that it eventually achieves the classic green-tint patina appearance so cherished by bronze enthusiasts.

If you would like to remove dust and grime from the bronze plaque, use distilled water and a soft cloth for that purpose. Nothing abrasive should ever be used. Talk to a specialist or research the Internet for other products and techniques such as the use of mineral oil or virgin olive oil if you want to take a more hands-on approach to protecting your bronze plaque over the years.

Do you accept bronze plaque orders from Canada or other international country?

Yes, we do! Orders to Canada are shipped via UPS or FedEx Int'l. Ground (quotes provided upon request) with all customs duties, taxes and clearance fees being the sole responsibility of the receiving customer who will be billed for them by UPS or FedEx separately.

Prior to processing an order from Canada or other international country, we will fax or e-mail an authorization form, which must be completed and promptly returned before the order goes into production. This form authorizes Silver Cloud to charge to the customer's credit card any duties, taxes or other clearance fees that are unpaid if we receive notification from UPS or FedEx of an outstanding balance on an order after it has shipped. The customer will receive notification if a charge is made on an unpaid balance.

At our sole discretion, we reserve the right to refuse any business or order from any individual or company located in an international country if concerns about payment are warranted.

How are shipments of orders to overseas customers made?

Individual bronze plaques are shipped overseas via FedEx Int'l. Air which allows it to be delivered within 3-4 days after the casting is completed in 20-25 business days from the date approval is given for a design proof. Quotes are available upon request.

Again, prior to processing an order from an international country, we will fax or e-mail an authorization form, which must be completed and promptly returned before the order goes into production. The form authorizes Silver Cloud to charge to the customer's credit card any duties, taxes or other clearance fees that are unpaid if we receive notification from FedEx of an outstanding balance on an order after it has shipped. The customer will receive notification if a charge is made on an unpaid balance.

What type of payment do you accept? Will we receive a copy of the invoice?

We currently accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express as well as cashier's checks and money orders drawn from a US bank in US funds made payable to "Silver Cloud" We mail customers a copy of their paid invoice separately from their order which is usually shipped four weeks later unless rush service is arranged in advance.

Calif. sales tax is added to all sales that originate in the state of California. Customers will be solely responsible for all sales taxes, or other taxes on orders shipped in states other than Calif. if applicable.

What is your bronze plaque warranty and return policy?

A 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is offered for the lifetime of all our products if the craftsmanship is found to be defective in any way. This warranty does not cover accidental damage, misuse, damage during unpacking or installing, improper care or alteration, theft, vandalism, natural adjustments in color or appearance due to aging, or acts of God such as floods and earthquakes.

Customers with a valid defective craftsmanship claim will receive an immediate replacement with an identical item or model once the product is returned and/or the claim is confirmed.

Since they assume full responsibility for any mistakes or errors once final approval of a layout is given, customers who are purchasing a custom bronze plaque or grave marker must be especially careful in providing accurate information and in reviewing their proof.

What is the process for damage claim returns?

It is a customer's responsibility to check for damage in the unlikely event something happened to the purchased product during shipping. On the rare occasion there is damage, immediately contact us by e-mail or by calling (805) 641-0080 weekdays during normal business hours (PST) so we can submit a claim with the shipper and make arrangements for a replacement once the damaged item is returned in its original packaging.

Note: The shipper's staff is required to inspect the item for a damage report when they pick up it up from a customer, usually the next business day after we contact the company. As already mentioned, our customer must make available to the shipper the item in its original packaging including the box, foam, etc.