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Lapel Pins

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!

How to Design and Make Custom Lapel Pins

How to Make Custom Lapel Pins

You have the perfect design for a custom lapel pin all planned out in your head. You’re ready to get started. So… what do you do next? How do you make a lapel pin? You may be thinking that it is a complex process, but it actually doesn’t have to be. It is easy to make a lapel pin or even a set of lapel pins for a group of people.

If you’d like to learn more about making custom lapel pins and how you can do it in the future, keep reading! You may find something you didn’t know before.

What Is a Custom Lapel Pin?

A custom lapel pin is something that you can create to pin onto your clothing (or your lapel!) to show off something specific. They have a lot of purposes and can be used in a variety of settings.

For example, some businesses like to use lapel pins when they want to reinforce their brand with clients or want to increase their exposure at a shopping center. These are just two examples of many purposes that lapel pins can serve.

Custom lapel pins may help people feel more a part of a community. When everyone is wearing something that matches, it creates a feeling of commonality and helps create feelings of acceptance.

When to Use Lapel Pins

As stated previously, lapel pins have a lot of different purposes. They can do so much! You might find a use for lapel pins within your specific field of work or when you are preparing for a special occasion.

Education Pins

Part of the appeal to have a custom lapel pin for people that work in education is to show pride in the work that is being done.

It can be hard in this field when there is so much to do and so little support in many areas, but the reason that people stick it out is for the students! It is rewarding to be able to make a change in a person’s life, no matter how big or small they may be.

Education lapel pins help employees show off the love for their school, love for their job, or love for their students. The pin could be a mascot or a favorite inspirational phrase.

Military Pins

A great thing about the military is the disciplined camaraderie. There is a bond among military members that is unparalleled anywhere else.

Showing off a military lapel pin can be a professional, meaningful, and important point of pride. A lapel pin with the branch of military the person was in or the title they achieved may be a great gift.

Special Event Pins

Have you ever been to a bachelorette party? Have you attended a baby shower? How about a family reunion?

There are a lot of occasions that may be perfect for a custom lapel pin. You could design something that showcases what you want people to remember, such as names, dates, photos, or phrases.

Getting one for everyone involved is an excellent way to create a lasting memory that they can take home with them.

How to Make a Lapel Pin

The first step is to make sure that you have the design you want ready to go. It is easiest if you already have it in a PDF format to send to the factory.

If you can use less detail and fewer lines on your design, you will likely have a cleaner looking pin. Remember that most pins are not very large, so you don’t want to have a design that is too complex!

The second step in this process is to choose between soft or hard enamel pins. Soft enamel has a textured surface and is a little less expensive due to the lightweight feel. Hard enamel is smooth and polished, but does cost more for the extra durability.

The third step is to choose the size of the pin. Pins can come in a wide variety of sizes, so it is important to consider your design when choosing your pin size. You don’t want to go too small or too large.

The fourth step is to decide how many you are going to make. Are you making one pin or are you making 400 pins? You may be required to purchase a certain amount of pins, especially if it is your first time buying, but consider your audience.

The fifth step is determining how many pin-backs you need. A pin-back is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the back part of the pin that can fasten it to the lapel.

Two pin-backs will make it more secure while one pin-back is less expensive. You need to choose based on the size of your pin and whether or not a little wiggle room on the lapel is acceptable.

Once you have done all of these things, you can contact the factory to produce the pins and talk about your plans. They may have questions or need extra information, so anticipate this and know what you are looking for exactly before getting in touch.

Ready to Make the Perfect Pin?

Now that you know more about what a custom lapel pin is and how it can be used, you might be interested in making one. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make that happen!

When you are ready to get started, contact us about getting a quote for the perfect lapel pin. We would love to help you with the entire process and make your perfect custom lapel pin! We make the process easy. And don’t forget we offer free shipping and free designs! Give us a try today 877-312-9794 or clicking here.

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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