Create Steel Mold
A steel mold, or die, is created to match the desired shape of the frames. The die has sharp edges and acts like a cookie cutter for blank frames.
Sheets of Plastic
Plastic material called cellulose-acetate is produced into thin sheets slightly wider than the frames.
Punch Blank Frames
The sheets of plastic are heated in an oven until they become malleable and then punched with the die to create blank frames.
Remove Excess Plastic
The blank frames are removed from the sheet, and the lens portions are removed and scrapped.
Carve Groove for Lens
The frames are held by an aluminum holding fixture and grooves for the lenses are cut using a router blade.
The frames are smoothed to remove rough edges using two machines. The first smooths the part that rests on the cheek, the second gets the area around the nose.
Sunglass frames come in a wide variety of styles that are designed for fashion, protection, or sports. It is important to have a well-made frame to ensure the durability, fit, and comfort of your sunglasses. In addition to different styles, frames are also made from several different materials. If you’ve found a pair of sunglasses that look great but don’t fit properly, you can always adjust them!
Plastic is the most popular and most cost-effective material for sunglass frames. The most common type of plastic is called zylonite, which can be easily adjusted for the perfect fit.
Higher-end sunglasses will have metal frames because they are durable and lightweight. Metal frames can be made from nickel, stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium.
Planks of wood can be cut with a laser to make sunglass frames that are non-toxic and typically allergy-free. Wood is also an eco-friendly material.
Durable and great for kids, rubber sunglasses are more flexible than wood, metal, or plastic. Rubber comes in a variety of colors and can provide excellent comfort.
Depending on what you plan to use your sunglasses for, you should consider choosing a material that fits your lifestyle best. If you’re heading to the beach, take a pair of durable rubber sunglasses so you won’t have to worry about them breaking in your bag. If you have sensitive skin, consider a pair of wood sunglasses to prevent irritation. There isn’t one frame material that is better than others, but rather materials that are better suited for different uses.
Plastic material called cellulose-acetate is melted down into thin sheets in an oven. This can be the same material or complimentary material to the frames.
Punch Blank Temples
Another steel die punches blank temples from the sheets.
Insert Core Wire
The blank temples are heated, and a strip of steel called a core wire is inserted in the center of the softened plastic as reinforcement.
Cut Hinge Slots
Slots are cut into the upper corners of the temples for hinges.
Hinges are placed and secured using heat to melt the hinge to the frame.
After the temples have been secured to the frames, the pair of sunglasses is almost complete! The final step is crafting and installing the lenses.
Colorant is added in one of two ways, by adding color to molten lens material, or by chemically coating finished lenses.
Create Lens Shape
Molten plastic is cast into a mold to create a general lens shape such as round, square, or cat eye.
The lens is put in a curve generator that grinds out the back of the lens.
An edge grinder is used to shave the lenses into the shape of the frames.
Lenses are coated with anti-reflective material using a vacuum.
Insert Lenses into Frames
Finished lenses are snapped into the grooves of the frames.
Lenses are the most important part of sunglasses because they protect your eyes from UV rays. Made in different colors and shapes, sunglass lenses play a vital role in preventing long and short term damage to your eyes from sunlight.
The Bottom Line
You probably never thought much about how your sunglasses are made. There are several steps that go into creating the perfect pair of shades from raw material to the finished product. Sunglasses are an item we utilize nearly every day, so next time you put a pair on before heading outside, appreciate the work that went into creating them!
Bedinghaus, T. (2018, September 4). Sunglasses Frame Materials and Styles. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from
Heiting, G. (2018, August 20). How to Choose the Best Lenses for Your Glasses. May 13, 2019, from
How Products are Made (2019). Eyeglass Frame. Retrieved May 13, 2019, from
How Products are Made (2019). Sunglasses. Retrieved May 15, 2019, from
are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!