How To Make Enamel Pins
If you like enamel pins, then you must have wondered how they are actually made. The making of enamel pins is an extensive process, but it doesn’t involve anything you can’t do on your own. Moreover, it doesn’t take a very long amount of time, so you can easily undertake this project with your everyday routine.
Enamel pins can be used for various purposes, such as commemoration of a special event in history, or for showing your support to a certain group, community, organization, or cause. Normally, you can find enamel pins for every occasion, but if there is something special that you need them for, you can get them custom made from an enamel pin factory.
Keep in mind that you will have to design your enamel pin on your own, which isn’t actually difficult and can be done if you do it with enthusiasm and interest. The end product will be a beautiful, customized and quality enamel pin that will look really wonderful on you. This article covers everything you need to know about enamel pins, so sit back and read carefully.
The Design Process
The creation of a custom enamel pin begins with the designing phase, in which you will have to provide the design work to the factory or manufacturer. Let’s have a look at the step-by-step procedure for this process.
The first step is to consider the design that you want to have. If you are simply looking for a flag or an emblem for your university or any other organization, you can easily download it and customize it to fit into an enamel pin. However, if you are looking for a unique or new design, then you may have to put your creativity to use.
When designing the enamel pin, there are certain guidelines and limitations that you have to bear in mind. It is much different from painting, sketching, or designing anything else, since enamel pins are made from a specially constructed mold.
The design has to be given to the manufacturer in PDF format, so you can go about it in two ways. The first and easy one is to the draw the design on paper and scan it. Then you will be able to save it as PDF. The other method is to use a designing tool on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or even your smartphone. If you aren’t well versed with the use of a mouse for drawing, you can consider getting a graphic tablet for this purpose, or a stylus for your smartphone.
The digital design method will allow you to get a high-resolution output, whereas the other method will give you a low-quality design that will also produce a less attractive enamel pin.
When drawing for an enamel pin, make sure to keep the design as simple as possible. This means using as few lines, because the small and compact size of the enamel pin won’t really show each line separated like in your design. Eventually, the lines will start merging into each other and you won’t get the desired result.
Moreover, you should focus on using stronger colors and lines for the enamel pin, because it helps the design and colors really pop out and become prominent on the smaller canvas. Another thing you should keep in mind is that when it comes to creating enamel pins, the manufacturers consider black lines to be used for segments or partitions inside the design, so that the production process works on it in a similar fashion.
Since the lines have to be more defined and bright, it is also wise that you don’t shade anything inside your design. Once the design is final and the PDF file is exported, you can move on to choosing the material from which your enamel pin would be made.
If you think that designing and drawing isn’t your thing but you have an idea of what you need to be designed, then you can hire a designer from websites like Etsy or Upwork to do the work for you. Otherwise you can have a look at tutorials that teach you how to design enamel pins, like this one.
Choose the Material
There are a wide variety of materials from which you can get enamel pins made, and the type of material you choose influences the overall look, texture, and durability of the pin. Generally, the materials can be divided into two categories: hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins.
Hard Enamel Pins
Hard enamel pins are made from die-struck iron and heated to a high temperature. Once this done, the material is then polished to give it the refined and smooth texture that you see in enamel pins. Hard enamel pins have a much more durable finish and a high-quality appearance, and they are also more long-lasting as compared to the other option.
Soft Enamel Pins
Soft Enamel Pins have a textured surface and allow for more attention to detail as compared to the former. They are also made from die-struck iron, but they go through electroplating and epoxy coating, which gives them a glossy appearance and a thinner profile.
Both materials are high-quality and durable, so it is up to you to decide which one will be more suitable for the pin that you need to make. The choice depends on two major factors: purpose and budget. If you want an enamel pin that can be easily attached to your backpack to beautify it, then you can easily make do with a soft enamel pin. Not only are they cheaper, but they have much more flexibility in terms of the design, and they also have more options available for you.
On the other hand, if you are looking to design an enamel pin for your company, organization, or a cause, then you should opt for hard enamel pins, since they are much more durable and have a high-quality appearance that would look very good, even from a distance. Plus, they are also longer lasting as compared to soft enamel pins.
Choose an Enamel Pin Manufacturer
The next thing you need to do is to choose an enamel pin manufacturer who can turn your designs into an enamel pin. If you are thinking of undertaking this step yourself, it would be very difficult for you to do so, because you would need to purchase special equipment and also acquire the skills needed to operate it properly, which would require a lot of time and money. Plus, it is also not feasible if you need just a handful of custom enamel pins. However, if you are looking to get into the business of making enamel pins, then you may just give it a go.
There are several companies who make custom enamel pins, but most of them require a minimum order size of 100 units, and they might charge you heavily for anything less than that. Therefore, you will also need to decide whether the cost of making custom enamel pins is even worth it or not. If you are certain that you require more pins, you can start with an initial order of 100 pins, and once you like the result, you can proceed with new orders as well.
Some manufacturers have also set up websites where they allow you to design a custom enamel pin by using their online designing tool, and they will also print it for you. However, they may be a little more expensive than other manufacturers.
Generally, all enamel pin manufacturers have the same process for manufacturing enamel pins, and they have separate methods for soft and hard enamel pins. The process begins with constructing a stamping mold, which is made using CNC technology on industrial steel. The design is engraved in an inverted manner onto the mold.
The next step involves a tool and die, where the mold is stamped onto a strip of metal. The die is used to separate the excess metal from the pin. Then, the stamping mold is fitted inside a stamping press and zinc metal is placed on top of it. The press applies a high amount of pressure onto the metal, which causes it to take the shape of the design. Once all the strips of zinc are pressed with the design, the trim press removes excess metal around the pins.
Last but not least, electroplating is used to color the pins with dyed metal, which holds on well to the pins and doesn’t come off easily. Next, they are dipped into a chemical bath, which finally helps the color settle properly. Then, manufacturers use color mixed with liquid epoxy and layer it on the metal pins, which are heated for maximum coating.
Once the pins dry and cool down, the thick enamel coating is buffed from their surface until the paint is level with the pin. Lastly, the pinback or post is welded or glued at the back of the pin, and the pins are individually packed into poly bags. As you can see, the process is quite time-consuming and detailed, which makes it practically impossible for you to do it on your own.
Choose the Size
The size of the enamel pin that you want also plays a major role in the production process, and it also influences how well your design will be shown on the pin. Generally, smaller pins have a size ranging from 0.75” to 1.25”, which makes them quite compact and portable. On the other hand, large enamel pins are around 1.25” or higher, and provide you with more space to display your design properly.
However, enamel pins that are larger than 2” are considered to be quite big and they are unlikely to be worn by people on their jacket or shirt. Also, it is better if you have locked in the size before you start designing the enamel pin. This way, you will have a brief idea of how constrained or free-flowing the design can be.
The size of the pin also impacts its price, so if you are on a budget and need a large number of enamel pins, you may want to opt for smaller enamel pins.
Decide on the Quantity
Once everything is finalized, you just need to decide how many enamel pins you want to get made. Last but not least, you also have to choose the number of pinbacks you want at the back of your enamel pin. Most pins have just one pinback, but it is better if you get two, so that the pin doesn’t keep rotating or tilting. Nobody likes an enamel pin that keeps going clockwise and counter-clockwise, so while two pinbacks might cost slightly more, they will prevent this from happening.
Get Beautiful Custom Enamel Pins from My Enamel Pins
If you are looking to design custom enamel pins for a special event or occasion, there is no better solution than My Enamel Pins, which has a wide range of predesigned and custom options, and also makes of the best materials and techniques to design high-quality and attractive enamel pins.