Preserving An Award Certificate

Certificates are given out for many things. They can be given to mark the completion of a class or series of classes. They can also be given out to honor exceptional performance. Certificates are popular through school to represent good grades, attendance, or the completion of a degree in college or other kind of schooling. There are a few classy ways to preserve certificates so you can display your achievements.

The first option is to frame the certificate. Usually, you’ll want to mat the certificate so it isn’t just held in the frame. Without the matting, it won’t catch the attention it deserves. Matting a certificate consists of using a thicker piece of paper as a border to make the photo, or in this case a certificate, stand out within the frame. Most professional framing places will mat whatever you’re having framed, but it is something that can be done at home, too!

Example of a matted certificate in a frame courtesy of

Another great way to preserve a certificate is to turn it into a plaque. There are three variations on this method. Plaques can come in a number of sizes, so if for some reason your certificate is an odd size, this is probably the best way to go. Otherwise, a standard 8.5×11 certificate fits really nicely on a 10.5×13 plaque. Plaques also come in a few different colors and finishes so you can pick which one looks best for wherever the certificate is going to be displayed. The most basic way of mounting a certificate is to put it on the plaque, and nail a piece of acrylic down on top of it. The nails can have rosettes on them to add some detail to the mounting even though it is still very basic. 

Another super simple way of displaying a certificate is by sliding it into a photo holder that is adhered to a plaque. The frames are adhered on three sides with the fourth open to allow the paper to be removed at any time. This is a more temporary way of holding a certificate in case you wanted to update the award that is on display, or just wanted to have access to the original certificate at any point. 

The last version of putting it on a plaque is less common, but probably my favorite of the three. We can take a high quality scan of the certificate and make a plate that is either sublimated or UV color printed with the certificate on it. This allows the original award to stay in its original folder put away in the top of the closet, and if something gets spilled on your display piece, it won’t ruin your certificate. The biggest drawback to this version is that if there is a seal on the certificate, we can’t make the copy holographic, and even at that, there are some seals that aren’t holographic in the first place.

Some certificates are only 6×4 inches and these make better desk pieces than wall decoration. Embedding a smaller certificate might be the way to go if you’re looking to have something to sit on a table instead of hang up. This would encase the certificate in a piece of acrylic that could stand on its own, but would ensure that the paper stays preserved for a long time to come. It could also be printed on the back of a piece of acrylic.

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