Foam Letters: Read Before You Buy

Hashtags, logos, brand names, and self-signs. You name it. Our customers have used foam letters at tradeshows, fan activations, concerts, weddings—even as floating pond props. We want to ensure you’re ordering the right custom letters for your intended application, so here’s how to size and order them along with answers to commonly asked questions.

Download the full spec sheet here.

What are the general rules for sizing foam letters?

Outside of your budget and space available, there’s no limit to how big custom letters can be. But let’s keep this simple and help you from overspending.

The cost-saving secret is staying inside the box—a “golden ratio” of dimensions measuring 96” (wide) x 48” (tall) x 40” (deep). That’s the size of a raw, uncut foam block. If your project exceeds any of those dimensions, the cutting, pasting, and pinning of more pieces from a second foam block means a substantial jump in cost.

Bigger is not always better. Years of trial and error and hundreds of happy customers have shown us that 5’ tall is the sweet spot for custom letters and hashtag sculptures. If the goal is getting fans and customers snapping selfies to share on social media, anything taller than 5’ and your target audience won’t be able to take a good picture with the letters all in the frame. Smaller than 5’ tall and your sign won’t have that larger-than-life, WOW-factor.

Our most common height for hashtags and emblem-style letters is 44” to 46”. Add to that the 12” base necessary to keep your letters from falling over, and you have the magic height of 5’.

Project: Central Michigan University "C"
Specs: 46" H x 46" W x 11" D
Custom foam sculpted elements, multiple layers, custom paint finish.
Price: $3,500.00. Add $350.00 for shipping and storage crate.

Project: New England Patriots, Championship Logo
Specs: 58" H x 68" W x 22" D
Custom foam sculpted elements, custom paint finish, full color rigid printed facades (front & back).
Price: $6000.00. Add $500.00 for shipping & storage crate

Project: Cleveland Browns Team Letters
Specs: 72" H x 48" W x 11" D (each)
Custom foam sculpted elements, custom paint finish, rolling casters.
Price: $10,000.00. Add $1000.00 for shipping & storage crate

Project: Tennessee Titans team logo gloves, Coca Cola sponsorship
Specs: 120" H x 108" W x 36" D
Custom foam sculpted elements, multiple layers, custom paint finish, decal applications, rolling casters.
Price: $20,000.00. Add $1000.00 for shipping & storage crate

What foam density is best?

Common densities of the expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam used for sculptures are 1lb, 2lb, and 3lb. The weights define how much the finished foam weighs per cubic foot. Heavier foam is denser and produces less stippling and fewer pockmarks prior to the sealing process.

After filling, sanding, painting, and application of the polyurea hard-coat, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference from one foam density to another. To save our customers money, we use 1.5-pound foam almost exclusively for most letter sculptures. Experience has shown that the only reason to go with more dense EPS is if your letters require a lot of detailed carving.

What are some finish options?

For single day, indoor events (like a wedding), raw foam letters with no polyurea hard-coating are a cheap option. The end product, however, will be easily dented, have no water-resistant properties, and are basically disposable props.

After letters are cut, there’s always some degree of stippling—picture the skin of an orange—regardless of foam density. These pockmarks can painted over and sealed OR filled, sanded smooth, and sealed (for an added cost). Next step is painting and/or adding graphics followed by the final step of hard-coat sealing. Letters with our durable polyurea hard-coating can deliver years of service with proper care and storage.

Can foam letters be placed outdoors?

Yes. Our polyurea hard-coating is similar to the heavy-duty sealant used in truck bed liners. It’s formulated to protect against impact and abrasion, making our letter sculptures weatherproof and—with a little care and common sense—very durable (but not indestructible). For instance, you should never leave foam letters out for extended periods in severe rain or hail.

Like plastic deck furniture, letters left outside will require more cleaning to keep them looking new—especially if your sculpture has a lot of nooks and crevasses for water to collect. If you want letters that can be left outside long-term, tell us during the quoting process so special construction/sealing precautions can be made.

Explain the price quote and creative process?

After you determine your budget, the quote process is best started with a call to a Britten team member to further hone in on the best solution for your event. Send a digital image or even a sketch of the brand name, hashtag, or word you wish to recreate. We’ll put together a quick pre-quote price with a conceptual sketch. If given the green light, a dedicated project manager will be assigned to your project to ensure smooth, efficient production.

Can you match custom fonts and PMS/Pantone colors?

Absolutely. We can match any font or color. For paint, we use the Matthews Paint System, a total paint solution for the varied and extreme demands of architectural, commercial, and outdoor sign applications.

What computer technology do you use for creating foam letters?

Every project our foam sculpting team tackles—whether it starts out as a sketch on a cocktail napkin or a JPEG image of your custom font—is rendered into a shop drawing. We use Rhinoceros (a.k.a. Rhino or Rhino3D), a 3D CAD modeling software package that enables accurate design modeling for rendering, animation, drafting, engineering, analysis, and manufacturing.

On the shop floor, about 20-percent of the work is done by machine. That’s the easy part. The other 80-percent is hand finishing and construction. After the various foam pieces are cut, each section has to be assembled, painted, and finished. Depending on the scope of the project, turnaround time from concept to completion is anywhere from four to six weeks.

How are foam letters shipped?

To protect your investment during transit, every foam project that leaves our sculpting facility does so in a reusable, custom-built crate. These can also be used for storing your foam letters in the offseason or between events. Crate cost is anywhere between $600-$1,200, depending on size.