The Sheet Plastics Guide To Acrylic

In 2020 alone, 1.71 million metric tons of acrylic fibers were produced worldwide. This is testament to the popularity of the material, and the way in which it is dominating the sheet plastic industry (amongst others). At Sheet Plastics, acrylic is just one of the materials that we manufacture and supply; we do so in various different forms, and with over 5 years of experience and over 50,000 satisfied customers, we know what we’re talking about.

This is our ultimate guide to acrylic; everything that you could possibly need to know about the material is right here on this page. Whether you’re ready to purchase or simply doing some preliminary research, this will provide you with everything you need to know to select a size, colour and shape that you are happy with. 

What Is Acrylic?

Acrylic is a kind of plastic, commonly used in homes across the UK for various purposes, which we’ll get into momentarily. While it is known for being transparent, it’s actually available in a range of colours, which is just one of the reasons why it’s fit for many purposes. 

There are two kinds of acrylic, Cast Acrylic and Extruded Acrylic, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. To decide which is the right one for you, you can order acrylic sheet samples; our extensive collection will help you to make a decision in no time. 

At Sheet Plastics, we manufacture and supply our own acrylic sheets. However, you may recognise the branded versions of the material more easily, such as Plexiglas, perspex and Lucite. 


How Is Acrylic Made?

We’ll have to get a little bit scientific for this one. Acrylic is made from acrylonitrile, a synthetic polymer. As there are two kinds of acrylic, they are made in slightly different ways. 

How Is Cast Acrylic Made?

It is made through batch cell production. This is when MMA liquid is pumped into a glass mould and then submerged in warm water. The change in temperature results in polymerization, creating a sheet of rigid acrylic. 

How Is Extruded Acrylic Made?

It is made through a continuous production process. PMMA pellets are fed into an extrusion barrel, driven by a screw auger system. The temperature is gradually increased, melting the pellets. The liquid is then pushed into a die, and increased pressure pushes it into a molten sheet. Finally, it is passed through cooling rollers until it can be subject to finishing treatments. 


What Are The Properties Of Acrylic?

  • Transparency
  • High clarity
  • Higher impact resistance than glass
  • Half the weight of glass
  • Chemical resistant
  • Heat resistant 
  • UV resistant
  • Thermal insulator

How Much Does Acrylic Cost?

The cost of acrylic varies according to a number of factors: amount, thickness, colour, shape. At Sheet Plastics, our transparent acrylic starts at just £0.08 while our tinted acrylic starts at just £0.13. 

To get the best possible price for your acrylic, it’s important to do your research. This includes taking into account shipping costs and tax. We pride ourselves in being competitively priced, and even offer free collection options at our Leicestershire unit. 


What Is Acrylic Plastic Used For? 

  • Display cases
  • Shelving
  • Skylights
  • POP displays
  • Indoor signs
  • Outdoor signs
  • Mirrors


How To Cut Acrylic Sheets?

Not only can you cut acrylic sheets, but it is incredibly easy to do so. There are a range of tools that you can use, which means that it is something that you can do yourself or get done professionally. Some examples include: an electric jigsaw, a handsaw with uniform teeth, a scoring knife and a laser system. 


From Coloured Acrylic

Coloured acrylic is hugely popular because it is a fun way to incorporate different colours and textures into your home, place of work and wherever else you wish to install a new acrylic fixture. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are many different kinds of coloured acrylic.

Gloss acrylic is bright and shiny, offering a unique depth of colour. 

Opal acrylic allows different amounts of light to pass through, according to its thickness. 

Tinted acrylic is available in all kinds of colours, from dark green to light blue. An extensive choice means that you’ll never be bored.  

Fluorescent acrylic is bold and vibrant, guaranteed to stand out no matter its chosen application. 

To Clear Acrylic 

Clear acrylic, as the name suggests, is entirely transparent, which means that it’s suitable for all kinds of projects. It’s opacity, along with the other properties of the material, make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. With different thicknesses available, it is suitable for use in all industries too; from safety shields to digital printing to light diffusion, it offers a flexibility that few other materials can match. 

To Mirrored Acrylic 

Acrylic mirrors are another hugely popular kind of acrylic. If they are sealed around the edges, they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use - which means that whether you want them in the bedroom or in an equestrian arena, they are well suited to the job. Our blog post, A Guide To Acrylic Mirror Sheets, shares everything there is to know about the material - so you can find out everything you need to know right here on our website. 

From Indoor Use

We’ve already mentioned that acrylic sheets have a whole host of indoor applications, but now it’s time to get specific. Whether you’re interested in custom acrylic trophies for sports awards, or upgrading a specific room in the house, it is definitely a material that is worth considering. Our two favourite rooms to introduce this material to are the kitchen and the bathroom.

For more information on acrylic in the kitchen, check out some of our highly informative blog posts: Kitchen Makeover Ideas With Coloured Splashbacks and The Sheet Plastics Guide To Splashback Kitchens

And for more information on acrylic in the bathroom, take a look at Coloured Bathroom Splashbacks and Acrylic Shower Doors

To Outdoor Use

As if acrylic couldn’t get any better, it’s also suitable for a range of outdoor applications. This is because it is waterproof and UV resistant, which means that it won’t ruin or fade over time. From secondary glazing to greenhouses and from sheds to skylights, it is the first-choice material for all kinds of projects. To see how it could benefit your upcoming work, take a look at one of our blogs, such as Acrylic Secondary Glazing or Magnetic Acrylic Windows.  

To Special Occasion Use

Acrylic is also capable of addressing more niche needs. The best example of this arose recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, as sheet plastic was used within personal protective equipment. In our blog, How To Protect Your Employees With Acrylic Sheet Plastics, we explore the different ways that businesses can use acrylic to create a safe, healthy working environment that people feel confident in. 

Get In Touch With Sheet Plastics Today

With so many uses, and so many options, there couldn’t be a better material. Hopefully this blog has helped you to identify the best kind of acrylic sheet for you and your needs. 

If not, then take some time to look over our offering - with so many to choose from, we are guaranteed to stock a material that ticks all of your boxes. Alternatively, get in touch! A member of our friendly, customer-first team will be able to answer any further questions you may have, and to guide you towards an acrylic that is perfectly suited to your project. And as you can tell, our blog is also a great source of information - so be sure to take a look at some of the content we’ve earmarked for you!