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Posted by showplatesexpress
March 2nd, 2021 at 8:54 am

If you are confounded by the restrictions on standard car registration plates and want to do something a little different with your motor then a gel number plate could be for you.

Number plate regulations are surprisingly onerous and very specific:-

  • Black lettering on reflective white for a front plate
  • Black lettering on reflective yellow for a rear plate
  • The font is prescribed as Charles Wright 2001 and only this font can be used so italics are not permitted
  • Characters must be 79mm high and 50mm wide
  • The stroke width or dimension of the letter or number is 14mm
  • The space between the characters in each group should be 11mm
  • Emblems or badges are permitted from a pre-defined list, mostly the flags of the Union excluding Northern Ireland and also the EU flag although that may change after Brexit
  • The British Standard number should appear in micro script on the plate along with the identity of the platemaker and their postcode

So, not a lot of wriggle room then! 

For committed petrol heads, cars have always been about flashing the appearance and number plates are not the only fruit on the tree.  There are lots of design modifications which can make a car stand out from the crowd and personalise it to make it unique to the owner.  It’s all about look and image, no detail is overlooked right down to the registration plate.

One of the most obvious ways to make a statement is with a personalised plate but you don’t have to break the bank, why not trade your standard registration for a super cool gel number plate?

What is a gel number plate?

A gel number plate is an ordinary registration plate in either white or yellow reflective acrylic but finished in a different way.  The characters – letters and numbers – are sheet cut and then covered in a polyurethane gel resin.  This creates a domed, three-dimensional effect which is complemented by the super shiny black finish which is referred to as ‘high gloss piano black’.  This really makes the number plate stand out and turns it into a real feature rather than an afterthought.

How are gel number plates made?

  • Black characters to the correct legal specification are printed onto a sheet and then cut out
  • Polyurethane gel resin is applied to the numbers and letters before they are baked in a special oven to seal the resin and harden it whilst ensuring that there is also no blistering or bubbles
  • The characters are removed from the oven and left to cool and solidify
  • When ready, the adhesive back is removed and they are affixed to the plate following the legal requirements for spacing
  • Finally, the gel plate is put through a roller to make sure the finish is completely smooth.  The effect is really three dimensional and very striking

Tough and hard-wearing

The resin gel is designed to withstand all the usual rigours of motoring so it is scratchproof and resilient against stones and branches and other debris from the road surface.  It is also weatherproof so durable against the fading effect of UV light, water from the road surface and the contraction and expansion of frosts and icy temperatures.  Gel plates can also survive standard car washes although you might want to exercise caution with a jet wash.

Gel plates are legal

Providing your number plate is compliant with all the standard specifications then the fact it is a gel plate will not contravene the law.  You cannot change the font or the size of the characters or the spacing between them but your shiny 3D registration plate is not illegal and should not evoke the interest of a passing Road Traffic Officer or result in an MOT fail.

Gel plates make a personalised registration extra special

If you have bought a private or personalised registration plate then why not have it made up with a gel resin finish? It is the ultimate finish on something very special and showcases the plate to perfection.

Are gel plates also show plates?

A gel resin finish on a number plate is definitely designed to be showy but refers only to the way the number plate is made and finished whereas a show plate is deliberately designed to go off-piste from standard UK registration plate regulations and so show plates are not usually road legal.  Show plates can also be treated with a gel resin finish to make them even more special but it won’t make them legal if they (intentionally) have been designed to circumvent the law.

What is the cost?

The cost for a set of gel number plates is pretty reasonable and you can usually find a reputable manufacturer to supply a set for under £50.