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A Quick Guide On Custom Pin Materials

One of the more unique ways organizations can associate with their customer base is with custom pins. Unlike many promotional items, pins are portable and affordable, making them a more cost-effective gift item for employees and customers. 

Also, pins are more fashionable and less obtrusive. When your employees or customers wear them, it won’t look like a form of advertising, and from a style and design viewpoint, these pins can be customizable in endless ways. 

There are various types of material (soft or hard), finishes, sizes, and pin backing. You can also choose to have many colors and different packaging options.

That said, if you want to get a pin made, you need to know the various pin materials and the ideal designs used for each one. Let’s get right into it…

Copper and Brass

Copper and brass are one of the most used base metals for making custom pins – all thanks to its ability to highlight little details. With a copper base, we can articulate the details on 3D pins and other beautiful custom pin designs.

Also, custom pins made with copper and brass materials are smooth and of the highest quality.  Some common pin designs made with copper and brass include:

Hard Enamel and Cloisonne Pins

custom hard enamel pin

These pins are pretty much the same type. However, the hard enamel is an improved version of a cloisonné pin. Cloisonné pin designs aren’t used for any lapel pin type; they are reserved for fancy-looking pins and pins with unique effects.

Need some uniform or logo pins? Cloisonne and hard enamel will be just perfect.

Photo Etched

This photo-etched design is the ideal balance between jewelry-like aesthetics and quality. To make photo-etched pins, the pin design gotten from a photo of your design is engraved on the base metal using an acid.

The etching offers a 3D textured effect that looks like enamel pins while remaining exquisite. They can also come out in bright colors with smooth finishes in resins, blinkers, and sliders. The result is a beautiful pin that looks gorgeous alongside any personal style. Since these pins are inexpensive, they’re ideal for companies who want a stylish pin without breaking the bank.

Get started with your design today!

Why wait? Select your options, share your artwork, and we’ll get you started on your custom products.

Zinc Alloy

Zinc Alloy is used more for custom coins and medals than custom pins. However, for die cast pins, zinc Alloy is the best base material. And that’s because zinc alloy is strong, durable, and lightweight.

One of the key advantages of Zinc is that it has a low boiling point and can be melted and reused for other pins.

Other metals are added to Zinc to form zinc alloys. And the common ones include aluminum, lead, titanium, cadmium, copper, and more.  You can also use Zinc alloy to produce custom die cast pins and other products.

Die-Cast Pins

As the name implies, this pin design is made using molds and the casting technique. To create die-cast pins, the first several molds of the design is created. Next, molten zinc Alloy is poured into the mold and allowed to dry.

Although the die-cast design is particularly good for large orders because of its low production cost, it isn’t always the best. Pins with fine details don’t always come out well with this method.


custom aluminum pin

Aluminum is ideal for hiking staff medallions or dog tags. For custom pins, aluminum is often used together with Zinc to form a zinc alloy. The resultant zinc-aluminum alloy is strong, light, and resistant to tarnish and rust.

Certain custom pin designs demand a zinc-aluminum alloy for the best results. A prime example of such custom pins is a medallion.

Like Zinc alloy, the method of producing pins from aluminum is the same – the die-cast method. All it requires is a mold and the melted metal alloy. 

Hiking medallions

Hiking medallions are often made of aluminum or brass material. These medallions are created with logos of preservation, an outdoor cause, or an affiliation group. You will often see them strapped to the head of a hiking or walking stick.

Stainless Steel and Bronze

Stainless feel and Bronze are some of the top materials used for making custom pins. Stainless steel has a shiny, mirror-esque finish. However, it is not for every pin design. Bronze is not as shiny as stainless steel, but both make good custom pin materials.

Typically, stainless steel is only used as a raw material for custom pins after considering factors like strength, temperature.

These materials are used to produce photo-etched pins, printed pins, custom die struck pins, and photo dome pins. If you are ever wondering which material to choose, note that bronze pins are cheaper than stainless steel pins.

Die Struck Pins

For something classic and artistic, a die struck pin is the way to go. The preferred metal is struck with the pin design, pressing specific metal areas to form the edges. 

No additional color distracts from the die struck pin design. It depends on the radiance,  shadows, and indentations of the metal to give a stunning design. What you get is a stunning pin that doesn’t require colors to make a statement. 

The fascinating thing about this pin style is that you have many metals to choose from, including gold. This gives you a durable pin that looks both timeless and beautiful.

Digital Print

If you’ve always wanted to turn a picture into a wearable pin, you can do so with the digital print method. This process prints your digital picture onto the metal. 

An epoxy coat is then applied to cover, protect, and give it a bit of additional shine. If you need a pin with detailed designs and many colors, digital print is a great choice!

There you have it! These are the various custom pin materials and ideal designs. Whether you have a finished or rough design idea, The/Studio’s production team will help you finalize your custom pins designs. 



Get started with your design today!

Why wait? Select your options, share your artwork, and we’ll get you started on your custom products.


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