The 10 most expensive private number plates ever sold in the UK

Acrylic number plates may come across as a confusing term for someone who has no knowledge on the facts around number plates in the UK. Although it can seem quite daunting, it is especially helpful to know this information in case you ever need to replace your number plate, or choose to upgrade it.

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘Are acrylic number plates legal?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, and regular / Electric Vehicle Plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a Private Plate, Gel Plate, Standard Registration Plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

Are number plates assigned to me or my vehicle?

Gel Plates vs Acrylic Plates

A number plate is the identification for your vehicle. A number plate is not assigned to you. When purchasing a vehicle, or obtaining insurance for a vehicle you want to drive, you assign the number plate of that vehicle to the insurance. This results in you being allowed to drive the vehicle with the number plate you assigned.

This means that ANPR systems, or indeed the authorities, can see that you are legally able to drive the vehicle. If you drive a vehicle you are not insured to drive, you will face legal consequences which can include…

  • Arrest
  • Fines
  • Points on your licence
  • Towing of the vehicle

And more.

The reason number plates are assigned to vehicles and not legally certified drivers, is simply because vehicles exchange ownership between people all over the nation.

So having a plate number assigned to a specific vehicle, rather than a person, makes more sense. It also gives the vehicle a ‘paper trail’ of its history that would be relevant to current and future owners.

What’s an acrylic number plate?

What’s an acrylic number plate?

An acrylic number plate, is essentially a regular number plate. Acrylic is a substance made from plastic. It has been used on vehicles number plates in the UK as standard since 1975.

The need for acrylic could be explained due to the fact it is cheaper to manufacture, doesn’t naturally degrade by a noticeable degree if it is maintained, and has a respectable level of durability, whilst being unaffected by weather.

What’s the difference between an acrylic and gel number plate?

A standard acrylic number plate will be flat, whereas a gel number plate will have raised characters on the plate, giving a three-dimensional effect. These raised characters are generally added separately and are made from polyurethane, or acrylic sheets depending on if you choose 3D or 4D plates respectively.

Additionally, 3D or 4D gel plates do have a nominal level of additional durability simply due to the polyurethane gel that is added over the plate’s characters.

Aside from the nominal increase in durability, and the aesthetic appeal granted by gel plates, there are not any other distinct differences between the two. Gel plates can be picked up by ANPR systems as well as a standard acrylic number plate can.

What’s the downside to an acrylic number plate?

Essentially, there are no real downsides to acrylic number plates as long as your plate has been made by a qualified expert with industry standard materials.

However, if your plate is made with poor quality components, or a poor lamination process, it can result in the plate in tunnelling. Tunnelling is where the reflective material separates from the acrylic of the number plate through bending or warping in the hotter summer months.

This results in an entryway for dirt and other contaminants to enter the plate, and causing a dark stain which can interfere with the readability of your plate.

Are acrylic number plates legal?

Yes. Acrylic number plates are legal. A number plate made of acrylic follows the stipulations which include that the plate must be durable, and made from a reflective material.

The only instance that a number plate made from acrylic would be illegal, is if the plate is a show plate being used on a public road. Or, if the number plate has been made by a platemaker who hasn’t followed the stipulations set out by the DVLA.

The stipulations of the number plate rulings are as follows

The number plates on your vehicle must:

  • Be made from a reflective material.
  • Display black characters on a white background (front plate).
  • Display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate).
  • Not have a background pattern
  • Be marked to show who supplied the number plate
  • Be marked with a British Standard number — this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021

The characters must not be removable or reflective. If your number plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black.

Please be mindful that regulations can change gradually or immediately, always be sure to check the latest guidance regarding number plating if you are going to invest in a new one.

Are 3D/4D plates legal?

Yes, the legal requirements specified by the DVLA allow for number plates with raised characters to be permissible. The unique selling points of 3D and 4D gel plates are their raised characters.

As long as your 3D or 4D plate does not differ from the rules presented by the DVLA, your number plate is totally legal.

Are private plates made from acrylic?

Yes. Although private plates don’t follow the general system that is used to add characters (via location identifiers etc). Private plates have to be approved before they can be made, this means that a private plate generally can’t be made from other materials.

How to order acrylic number plates

How to order acrylic number plates

Bespoke Plates makes the hassle of getting yourself a brand-new number plate easy and efficient. Here is the process.

By following these steps, you will also have the option to see the plate before making a decision.

Visualising how your plate can look in real-time, with the characters from your actual registration plate, saves time and makes it easy for you to know what you want before you get it. Let us walk you through the process of choosing your plate through us.

  1. Head to the Bespoke Plates website
  2. Select the plate style you want under the “Build Your Plate” tab. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
  3. Enter your registration (You can press ‘preview’ to see your registration with all the modification options you have selected.)
  4. When selecting your chosen plate, you can opt for 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Decide if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.

Installing through Bespoke Plates ensures the best service & secure installation for your number plate, along with guidance for any questions you may have.

Purchase an acrylic number plate today

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and the information you need in order to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle. We aim to answered to have answered the question, ‘Are acrylic number plates legal?’

We hope that we have provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

Bespoke Plates has all the options you can ask for, as an approved registration vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of the members of our team by:


Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,


M8 8NN

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