Over ten times stronger than glass and available in a range of different colours and finishes, acrylic plastic is the ideal material for fabricating bar tops and bar shelves. Acrylic is an easy material to work with and can can be cut to size using common household tools, not to mention it can be installed on to a number of substrates – either horizontally or vertically – using a variety of different fixing methods.
Building a drinks bar with acrylic is incredibly simple, and the process can also be used to create other display fixtures in both private homes and other public areas. But before you start building anything you will need to choose the material. As we’ve already mentioned, acrylic is available in a number of colours, and there are 16 different coloured acrylic sheets currently offered on Cut Plastic Sheeting – including silver, gold, fluorescent green and magenta, as well as the standard colours you’d expect.
Most of these colours are available with either a matte finish or a glossy one, so that you can choose which ever one would suit you most. We also offer clear Perspex sheets and mirrored acrylic sheets, and needless to say the latter has proven itself to be an incredibly popular choice when it comes to building a drinks bar; particularly in professional establishments.
Measuring Your Acrylic Drinks Bar
Once you have chosen the colour and finish, you can begin building your bar, and the first step is to work out how much material you are going to need. If you’re planning on using the material to create back-bar shelves, you should measure the wall that you intend to fix it to and decide how far from the wall you want the shelf to protrude (we’d recommend the length of a Malibu bottle base plus a half).
There are two different ways to make acrylic bar shelves, and depending on which you may need more material. The instructions above are for a standard shelf held up by a bracket, but you can also create a box shelf, which is made up of a front panel that supports the shelf at a right angle and holds it against the wall. These are the kinds of acrylic drink shelves that you will typically see in bars and to make them you simply need another piece of acrylic that is the same length as your shelf and between 50mm and 80mm in height.
The other thing you can use acrylic sheets for is to create bar tops that will protect the surface of your bar and make cleaning up at the end of the night a whole lot easier! Measuring out acrylic bar tops is incredibly easy as all they are going to do is sit on top of the surface that is already there. If you are planning on working the material yourself then you will want to order a little bit more material than you will actually need as an allowance for cutting and sanding, or you can send the exact measurements you require to us and we will deliver your acrylic cut-to-size.
Installing Your Acrylic Drinks Bar
To create a drink shelf supported by a bracket, once you have your material, mark on the wall where you want your brackets to be and mark out on the protective film that covers your acrylic sheet where the holes you need to drill in the acrylic will be. Drilling acrylic is very straight forward, and if you need a hand you can always refer to our guide on how to drill acrylic. Once the holes are drilled into the acrylic, screw them onto the brackets, and screw the brackets into the wall. Make sure that you use a spirit level to ensure that your new shelf is straight before you attach the brackets to the wall, as you do not want bottles sliding everywhere.
If you have chosen to build a box shelf, you will need to use acrylic cement to attach the top of the front panel to the bottom of the shelf. Acrylic cement will create a very strong bond between the materials so we strongly suggest that you use our gluing acrylic guide to ensure that you get it right first time. Once the two sheets are firmly fixed at a right angle, sand down the two edges that will be fixed to the wall and the counter top and then use an epoxy adhesive to install them securely. Give them at least 24 hours to dry.
Lastly, if you want to create acrylic bar top panels, once you have the material, you can either screw them onto the bar surface or glue them on with an epoxy adhesive. Either one can be done using the two processes laid out above, and once installed you will have a drinks bar that can be quickly cleaned and will comfortably withstand damage from the occasional broken glass or ill-advised attempt at flaring.