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enamel pins

Enamel Pins 101: What Are They and How to Make Them

Enamel pins offer a variety of options when it comes to design and manufacturing. Like many other pin types, they can be made into a wide array of shapes, sizes, finishes, and designs. They are also popular among trading pins since they are relatively easy to make and can yield premium results in the hands of good manufacturers and designers. If you are interested in getting your own enamel pins, there is a lot you should know before making your final decision. Here is everything that you need to know about enamel pins and how they are made.

What Are Enamel Pins?

Enamel pins are a specific type of lapel pin that utilizes enamel to create colors and images in a manner that is different from other lapel pin manufacturing techniques. This is done by applying a layer of enamel over another layer of metal to create contrasting colors that display a level of depth. Enamel pins were originally created for jewelry and decorative pins. They were later adopted for lapel pins and badges and are now used in different types of products and industries. Enamel lapel pins can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are usually made with two layers with the top layer being translucent enamel and the bottom layer being metal.

Enamel Pins have a variety of uses and designs.

How Are Enamel Pins Made?

Enamel pins share manufacturing processes with many other types of pins. The key difference is in the coloring process where the enamel is added. Every manufacturer can use a slightly different process as well to achieve a different quality result. However, the overall process is consistent among manufacturers and the differences come down to the quality of each step as well as the materials used. Here is a more detailed look at the manufacturing process that we use to make enamel pins.

Completing the Design

Before any manufacturing can begin, the design team works with the client to finalize the design. They not only verify that the design is possible, but they also help with artwork and setting up the systems needed to make the pins. Once the final proof is finished, it becomes the template to make the dye that is used to make all of the pins of a specific design.

Dye Making and Stamping

The first step in the manufacturing process is to create a dye, which is a stamp made from a hard metal. This dye is placed in a high-powered press and used to stamp designs into other, slightly weaker pieces of metal.

The design, however, is not exactly the same as the design. Rather, it is the reverse (or negative) of the design. The dye is used to push in all of the areas where the enamel paint is added later. So, a design that consists of outlines will be reversed to create a dye that has no raised outlines. Instead, the outlines will be indented in the dye so that they are unaffected during the stamping process.

Once completed, the same dye is used repeatedly to make all of the pins of a particular design. Most dyes can last for hundreds, if not thousands of uses. However, the pins that are stamped as well as the dye are checked to make sure that they are accurate, consistent, and undamaged as a part of the quality control process. 

The dye is used to stamp the design into either metal sheets or metal disks, depending on the design. Larger designs are often stamped onto sheets and then cut from that sheet while medium and smaller designs are stamped directly on metal discs called blanks. The blanks are removed, deburred (any sharp edges or burrs are removed), and inspected for quality before moving on.

Color Filling

The color filling process is where the type of enamel pin is decided. It can either be a hard enamel pin or a soft enamel pin. Both are made using a similar process with a slightly different process. 

Both are filled with enamel paint according to the design. Enamel paint comes in a wide variety of color options, and custom colors can be created as well. Making the pins with a dye method makes it much easier to create fine details that the enamel paint can fill. 

Soft enamel pins are filled to about 99% depth so that any outlines in the design are raised about the paint’s surface. Hard enamel pins are filled to 100% depth. Both are then heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to cure, making the paint hard and durable.

Hard enamel pins are polished so that they are flush with the metal surfaces outlined on the coin. This also gives it a harder feel and glossy finish, leading to more vibrant colors and a higher-quality finish. If you want an enamel pin but you want to upgrade it a bit, try switching from soft enamel to hard enamel. 

Quality Inspection

At the end of the manufacturing process, all pins are checked for quality issues. Each pin is picked up and inspected for flaws, sharp edges, or other potential problems. If everything checks out, they are individually packaged and prepared for shipping. 

Enamel Pin Design Options

One of the reasons why enamel pins are widely popular is because there are relatively few limits on your designs. As enamel pins are made with a metal base, they are available in a wide variety of finishes that can make your pin stand out. Here are a few basic options to think about during the design process. 

Size

Enamel pins can be made to nearly any size. The final size of the design is limited by the size of the dye and the matching blanks. Most pins are between one and three inches in size, although other options are possible. Changing the size of a pin design is an easy way to make it stand out from other options. 

Shape

Since enamel pins are made of metals, they can be cut into nearly any shape. As long as your bins are not made small enough or thin enough to be flexible, the design is possible. With a creative design, you can use the overall shape of the pin as an important feature to differentiate it from others. 

This also includes cutouts, or removed sections within the design of your pin. As long as the pin is designed to be structurally sound, parts can be cut out to give it a more dimensional presentation. 

Metal Plating and Coatings

While the pins are stamped from aluminum blanks, they can be metal plated or coated to look like just about any other type of metal. Nickel, brass, and gold are common plating options, while spray black is a common coating option. Each coating or plating option has a unique set of features that you can use to enhance your pins overall design. 

Paint Colors

Enamel paint comes in a wide variety of color options. This gives you the ability to use color to your advantage. Most other pin options have limit color options, giving you a very small palette to make your designs work. Enamel pins have a lot of options to choose from, giving you numerous ways to make your pins unique. Many customers often order several designs with different color schemes so that they have more variation in their options. 

Pros of Enamel Pins

Enamel pins are one of the most popular pin options because of their advantages over other styles. Here are a few of the reasons why enamel pins are popular. 

Customizability

They can be designed with a wide array of colors, patterns, and designs and can be made into almost any shape. They can be made in both simple and complex designs and in small and large quantities. 

Durability

Enamel pins are durable and can be made with materials that are resistant to corrosion, scratching, and bending. They can be made in a wide variety of metals and can be plated with other materials to increase their durability. 

Affordability

Enamel pins are relatively affordable and can be made in small batches or large quantities. They are also easy to design and can be made with a variety of different materials.

Upgrade With Hard Enamel Pins

The enamel can be applied in different thicknesses to create different effects. Thin enamel will create a subtle effect while thick enamel will be more noticeable. 

Get Your Enamel Pins From an Industry Leader

The company that you choose to make your pins plays an important part in their quality. For the best quality pins, work with an industry leader that has years of experience making pins for sports teams, individuals, businesses, and government agencies. Call us at 877-312-9794 to start your next pin order today. 

6 Hot Tips to Design Distinctive Sports Club Enamel Pins

Enamel pins for your sports club are a great way to build team loyalty and spirit. Pin them to lapels, kit bags, even hats! Here’s how to design your pins.

Enamel pins adorn the lapels of sports fans everywhere.

These iconic collectibles have boomed in popularity in recent years. However, they’ve gone hand in hand with sports for decades.

Indeed, Olympic pins have been around for 123 years! They’ve been purchased, sported and traded by avid fans and collectors around the world since 1896.

All sports teams benefit from having branded enamel pins designed and manufactured. They create a sense of solidarity among teammates and fans alike.

The best pins are a badge of honor. They provide an inconspicuous means of celebrating and supporting your team, no matter the situation.

But first, you have to design something people will be proud to wear! Want to learn how to do it?

Read on for 6 top tips for designing epic enamel pins for your sports club.

1. Start With a Sketch

All good design work begins with a preliminary concept.

This is a basic idea of how you want your final pin to look. Think of it as a blueprint. You need to establish an initial draft of the end product.

Putting pencil to paper and sketching out your ideas is the best way to do it.

Don’t try and be perfect from the get-go! All great design goes through iterations. Your first sketches will inevitably be edited over time. First, though, you need to brainstorm a selection of different options and pick the best of them.

Look for inspiration anywhere.

Of course, you have a distinct advantage if your sports team already has a logo. You can simply take that logo (or elements of it) and transform it into a pin design.

Alternatively, think about the name, mascot and ‘personality’ of the team. For example, are you known as ‘the ravens’, ‘the lions’, or ‘the wolves’, etc? Then work those animals into the design.

2. Remember Practicalities

Okay, you’ve settled on a design that you and your teammates like.

It’s time to look at it with a critical eye.

Designing a lapel pin demands a focus on practicality as well. Unlike a mere logo, this design will be made into a physical product for people to wear. Through constraints of the manufacturing process, you can’t necessarily do everything you want!

Gaps between parts of the drawing mean holes need cutting, patterns demand complex processes, and so on.

That extra detail may look awesome in your drawing. But it might translate to a messy final product.

Equally, as a rule of thumb, simpler designs are cheaper designs. More work for the manufacturer means more money for you to pay them.

Simplify your design by removing unnecessary detail and avoiding complex shapes and styles.

3. Consider the Size

The size of your enamel pin is another key consideration.

Again, it has practical and aesthetic implications.

Think about the shape and size of your design. Most pins are approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in length. However, you find pins as small as 0.5 inches and as large as 2 inches.

Smaller pins may be easier to sport and display. However, they also reduce the level of detail you can get away with. Likewise, they can be fiddly and easier to lose.

Larger pins can be cumbersome and sit awkwardly on the lapel, bag, display board, and so on. Multiple pin posts may be required on the back to help anchor it.

Draw out scale versions of your pin design in different sizes. This will give you a better idea of how the final product will look, fit and feel.

4. Make a Digital Copy

Your sketch will need transferring to digital form.

A digital copy is helpful in multiple ways. First and foremost, pin manufacturers normally require it! Now, we always send customers a digital copy, prior to manufacture, for them to sign off.

However, not all manufacturers do – some offer to create a digital file for you, but it’s likely to come at a cost. Some people opt to do it themselves as a result.

‘Vector files’ of your design will support the manufacturing process. This means the size of the design can be altered on-screen without impacting its quality.

Many different pieces of design software are available to carry out the task. Photoshop, of course, is the most common and comprehensive. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive! Adobe Illustrator is another example.

Thankfully, there are free-to-use options too. GIMP and Inkscape are both free to download, with a bit of practice, totally fit for purpose. This guide should help you find the best program for you.

5. Decide the Finish

This penultimate step has two major implications:

Price and aesthetics.

It’s time to decide the craft/finish of your enamel pin.

Generally speaking, there are two primary options to decide between: soft and hard enamel. The one you choose will affect the cost and appearance of your pin.

Soft enamel is cheaper. However, it’s also less durable in nature, which makes pins susceptible to scratches in the absence of an epoxy coating.

This enamel has a concave appearance, where metal lines rise above the enamel. It’s less smooth to touch.

Hard enamel is your premium product! You pay more for what’s a high-quality, long-lasting and durable material. The finish is hard, flat, smooth to touch, and polished in nature.

The best choice for you will depend on your budget.

6. Decide the Backing

The back for your enamel pin is just as important as the front.

You need to decide how your pin will actually function! There are all sorts of backings to choose between. As you might expect, factors of price, durability, and style come into play again.

Everything from a classic safety pin design to a butterfly clutch and basic stick pin is possible.

It depends entirely on your wants and needs. This post on how to wear a lapel pin might help you choose.

Finally, all that’s left to do is send your design to a pin manufacturer, like us, to bring your design to fruition!

Time to Design Your Enamel Pins

There you have it: 6 top tips for designing a distinctive enamel pin for your sports team.

Recent years have seen an explosion in pin popularity. However, enamel pins have been enjoyed by sports teams and fans for decades.

They’re the perfect way to show support and create a sense of togetherness around the team.

Hopefully, this post has provided the information you need to design the best pin possible.

Want to make your pin idea a reality? Click here to get a free quote for its manufacture.

Promotional Fundraising Products: 5 Reasons to Use Lapel Pins

Promotional fundraising products are the best way to launch your program or offer commemorative souvenirs and what better way than with custom lapel pins!

Spreading awareness for your charity or fundraiser can be hard work.

It’s necessary work, however. If you can’t find the proper support for your cause, then it’ll be incredibly difficult to maintain your funds, let alone increase them.

That’s why you need fundraising products. Something that someone can take home, wear, and use to tell other people about your cause. Lapel pins are a great example of how fundraising products can start conversations and spread awareness.

Lapel pins have been used to spread awareness dating all the way back to the mid 19th century. At that time, they were used mostly to campaign for political candidates, but as the years have gone on, the uses for pins like these have multiplied.

In this post, we’re going to give you 5 great reasons to use lapel pins for your fundraiser. The best way to appeal and spread a positive message to people is by using…you guessed it, other people. Let’s talk lapel pins.

Why Fundraising Products Work

The hardest thing for fundraisers to do is actually generate interest in the cause that they’re raising funds for. Unless a person is specifically affected by a certain cause, it can be hard to get someone to really care enough to donate.

Fundraising products allow non-profit and charity organizations to create incentive around giving donations. Instead of quietly donating their money to your cause, the person gets a token of their donation and your appreciation. It’s a nice way to commemorate a truly good deed.

There’s a lot more to it though. Most people are far more likely to donate to a charity or fundraiser when they’ve received a gift. You can also take it one step farther and sell your fundraising products to ensure that you get a return on them.

The advertising benefits are also obvious. If you give away or sell a wearable fundraising product, then you’re creating a walking advertising campaign, allowing more people to become aware of your fundraiser and increasing the likelihood of donations.

This is why lapel pins are so effective. Next, we’re going look at why lapel pins make the perfect wearable fundraising product for your charity fundraiser.

5 Reasons to Use Lapel Pins

Lapel pins first popped up in the form of campaign pins in the mid 19th century. One of the oldest examples of the campaign pin was with Abe Lincoln’s campaign in the 1860s. Even since then, these pins have been widely used to display devotion and spread support for presidential candidates.

Needless to say, this form of support has spread to other areas, including charitable fundraising and the non-profit sector. So, what makes a good lapel pin?

It has to look good, for one. But, it also needs to convey the underlying message of the fundraising campaign in a concise way. The best lapel pins will build awareness around the branding of the fundraiser. This is how you get people of all demographics to pay attention.

1. Cheap Way to Spread Awareness

Politicians used to call their campaign pins “walking billboards” and while that kind of bluntness may dehumanize your donors, it’s not untrue. Giving away lapel pins for people to put on their jackets or shirts allows your message to spread in a silent but effective way.

A well-designed lapel pin will start conversations and lead to more awareness around your fundraiser. Whether it’s a school fundraiser or you’re raising funds for a charitable donation to a cause, building awareness is always the name of the game.

2. They Can Lead to Donations

Giving away your fundraiser’s lapel pins builds awareness, but it can also lead directly to donations. Young people are the most likely to make charitable donations and they’re even more likely to do so after they’ve been given a gift. In short, your investment in lapel pins will pay off quickly.

You don’t have to give them away, though. You can sell your lapel pins and turn an immediate profit so that you don’t have to rely on “donation.” With a good company at the helm, they’ll be cheap to make, so you can earn good money by selling your lapel pins for even $5.

3. Build Your Brand to Achieve Long Term Goals

Brand building is the best way to create long-term waves in the fundraising world. Campaigns like Livestrong, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Project Life Jacket show us how branding can take off and bring fundraising to a completely new level.

Even on a local level, you can make branding with your lapel pins a priority. Accompany your pins with a great social media campaign and you’ll be off to the races. Campaigns with great branding go viral quickly these days.

4. They’re Collectable

Pins are collectible items. Surely you’ve seen jean-jacket wearing kids walking down the street with their denim covered in pins. There are other people that keep their pin collections at home, on a corkboard, or in safekeeping.

Give these people an attractive new pin to add to their collection. It’ll be a wonderful reminder of the donation that they once made to your fundraiser.

5. You Can Always Keep It Fresh

Since lapel pins are cheap to make and act as a small token of a donation, you can keep designing new ones and giving them away. You can keep the fundraiser alive with new branding and a fresh marketing campaign.

If you’re doing a yearly fundraiser, you can make a new pin design each year and give them to your donors so they can start a collection. You could even create a marketing campaign centered around your pins to drum up awareness around the fundraiser when you notice donations decline.

Get Your Lapel Pins Made Today

The value of fundraising products cannot be understated. If you want your fundraiser to be legit, then make sure you’re offering these products to your donors.

To get your lapel pins made, visit us at Metalpromo today. We offer custom soft and hard lapel pins that work great for fundraisers, educational purposes, and military service. While you’re there, check out our blog for more information on the value of a great pin.

Lapel Pin Etiquette: A Guide for Cleaning Your Lapel Pins

Lapel Pin Etiquette: A Guide for Cleaning Your Lapel Pins

Although lapel pins have a history that stretches back to the Civil War, they’ve made a huge comeback. Cute, quirky, and unique designs became a huge trend in the fashion scene around 2014 and have since become must-have accessories.

No matter if it’s a pin with professional significance, the perfect accessory for your carefully cultivated look, or just a way to add class to your outfit, you know lapel pins have many benefits.

What happens if you love your pins a little too much and they need some TLC? Read this guide to lapel pin etiquette and learn how to clean them so they’re looking like new again!

What Kinds of Pins are You Working With?

There’s more than one kind of lapel pin. Knowing what kind you’re dealing with will determine the best way to clean them.

Most people are familiar with the classic clutch back or safety pin badge. There are many other stylish kinds of lapel pins that have their own unique qualities.

Which ones do you have?

Clutch Back

Also known as a butterfly clutch, these are usually small and efficient. The pin back has a point that fits into the clutch.

The clutch releases when you give it a squeeze. No complicated parts to mess with.

Stick Pin

The stick pin is a truly classic design. The pin sits on top of a long needle that pierces your lapel.

Pop the metal keeper (or a piece of cork if you’ve lost the keeper) on the end and you’re good to go. This is a fantastic way to bring a bit of vintage style to your outfit.

Screw Back

Just as the name suggests, you screw a nut onto the point on the pin back. This is one of the most secure types of pins out there.

Floral and Boutonnieres

One of the oldest styles, floral and boutonniere pins have sat on many a gentleman’s suit lapel over the years. While both involve flowers, floral is typically made of fabric while boutonnieres feature the real thing pinned on the lapel.

Out of all of them, the boutonniere is the most low-maintenance. No need to polish and shine a real flower — just pop on a fresh one and go!

Long Stem

If you’re looking to make a statement, you need to add a long stem pin to your wardrobe. This modern twist on the classic stick pin is meant to be noticed.

Long stem pins come in a wide variety of designs. Oftentimes, they’re made out of high-end metals like gold and silver, so you’ll need to be extra careful when cleaning them.

Magnetic

Worried about piercing a favorite outfit? The magnetic clasp pin is for you.

These are perfect for keeping the integrity of a delicate cashmere sweater or fancy dress. The only problem is that eventually, the magnets wear out and your pin might fall off.

Collar Pin

This is a unique pin. Most of the other pins that we’ve talked about go directly on a lapel or are worn like a brooch.

The collar pin clips to a typical button up collar. This is a sophisticated style for a man and a daring fashion addition for a woman.

What You Need to Clean Your Pins

There’s a basic cleaning kit that any lapel pin enthusiast needs. The two things you need are a polishing cloth and a polishing agent.

Before you run to the store, know that not all polishing cloths and agents are made equal.

When working with tarnish on silver pins, use a soft cotton cloth and silver polish. You might even be able to find special cloths that already have the silver polish in them.

Jeweler’s cloths work well for polishing pins. Jewelry polish is great to start with but if you want to splurge, go for the jewelry polish cream.

No matter what you use, look for something non-abrasive and gentle.

Cleaning Your Pins

Before you start, remove the back or keeper from your pin. Be careful not to stick yourself.

It’s always a good idea to test the polish you intend to use in an inconspicuous area. Swipe the back of the pin with a cotton bud before you use it on the rest of the pin.

The most basic way to clean the pin is to dab it with your polish and gently rub it with a cloth. Usually, your tarnish will easily come off.

Some metals tarnish faster than others. Copper tarnishes before silver which tarnishes before gold.

Make sure you use a good quality polishing cloth and cream on pins made out of these metals.

Extra Tips and Tricks

Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are a few other tips and tricks to keep in mind.

  • Never use vinegar or anything citrus to clean your pins. It will damage the metal and any enamel.
  • Don’t use polish on a soft enamel pin; rub it gently with a soft cloth so that the paint doesn’t come off
  • Don’t use harsh abrasives on a hard enamel pin; you risk damaging the design
  • No polish? You can try using toothpaste, but test it on the back of the pin to make sure it won’t hurt the pin
  • Never put your pins in a polishing machine; it’ll be too hard on your delicate pins
  • Household cleaners will also hurt pins; stick to jewelry polishes

The key is to be gentle with your pins. This is the best way to extend the life of your collection.

Practice Proper Lapel Pin Etiquette

It’s not hard to practice proper lapel pin etiquette. It’s important to remember that you should always test the back and be careful when polishing your pins.

If it’s been a while since your pins have had a good shine, take them out this weekend and polish them up. Nipping tarnish in the bud before it gets too dark prevents you from scrubbing too hard or using stronger polishes that can damage the metal.

If you love lapel pins, why not make a custom one for your special event or celebration? Reach out to us today for a free quote!


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