Soft Enamel Pins vs. Hard Enamel: What’s the Difference?
A common question when designing a custom lapel pin is what’s the difference between soft enamel pins and hard enamel? The answer is in the details of the pin.
Have you been noticing all of these cool lapel pins and might want to get some for yourself? Wondering how you get started and what you need to know? You’ve come to the right place.
With lapel pins making a comeback, you have a lot of options that you can choose from to customize and make the pin everything you imagined it to be.
One of the decisions you have to make is between soft enamel pins and hard enamel pins. What does that mean? For someone that hasn’t gotten lapel pins before, those terms probably don’t mean much.
If you’d like to find out more about lapel pins and what you need to consider when you are creating them, keep reading to learn the difference between soft enamel and hard enamel pins.
How to Create a Soft Enamel Pin
Soft enamel is a very popular type of pin. It gives the pin a raised texture look which also feels a little different than hard enamel pins when they are finished.
The image you want gets stamped into the metal and then cut down to the right size. This can be anywhere from a small pin, such as 0.5″, to a large 4″ pin.
The soft enamel metal plating process, such as with gold or nickel, has to happen before the enamel gets filled. Because of this, only some of the metal finishes that you may like can actually be done with soft enamel.
For a pin to become plated with a colorful metal, such as black or another custom color, you can only use soft enamel. The enamel gets added in after the plating process to the recessed areas.
When finished and the enamel is dry, you may notice that the enamel has a soft and bumpy feel to it. If you would like, epoxy resin can coat the soft enamel if desired. This helps to flatten the enamel a little more and also give it more protection.
How to Make Hard Enamel Pins
These types of pins are more durable and sturdy than soft enamel pins. A lot of people will choose this pin instead because it has a very clean look.
Hard enamel pins become filled with the color enamel after the image is stamped in and cut out. Each color is cured in the oven one at a time, which can add to the expense of this pin because it takes a lot more time.
The pin is then polished down to be smooth and flat with the metal die lines. Because the grinding process is crucial, not all metal finishes work with the hard enamel pins. Gold or silver metal plating are some common options that you may use with a hard enamel pin.
After the colors are added and the pin has been polished, it is electroplated and polished one more time. This completes the pin.
The polishing process is done multiple times and it makes it a little harder to get specific detail in hard enamel, such as thin lines or small engravings.
Hard vs. Soft Enamel Pins: Which is Better?
The truth is that most designs that you may want, whether it is an image or a drawing, can likely be done with either option. A big part of the decision will come from your own preference on which you like better.
The way that both of these types of pins look are way different from each other. Hard enamel is much more refined and smooth while soft enamel is a little more quirky and unique. Another difference is that soft enamel can really get all of those minute details onto the pin while hard enamel is going to look a little bit more specific each time.
A big part of the decision may be the price. Soft enamel is notoriously cheaper than hard enamel because it does not involve such an intense process to make. Hard enamel pins have to be polished and cured several times to achieve their look.
You may decide that one type is better for certain occasions while the other type is more suitable for other occasions. For example, military lapel pins can be made from hard enamel because it may look more professional and classic.
The great news is that you can easily make custom lapel pins that work with either soft enamel or hard enamel. If you have an event coming up or just want to make some pins for fun, you may want to experiment with both options to see which you like better.
One of the great things about being able to make these types of pins is that you can be creative! The sky is the limit and you can make pins that showcase exactly what you were hoping for.
Choosing the Best Lapel Pin for You
When you are deciding between soft enamel pins and hard enamel pins, it comes down to what you like the best and what you plan to do with the pin.
Remember that hard enamel pins are more durable, but they also cost a little more to make. A soft enamel pin is a little less scratch-resistant, but it can have a unique look about it that is hard to find elsewhere.
If you want to get some information about our lapel pins and how you can order them, check out our website to learn more. We have plenty of options to choose from!