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Different Types of Materials for Your Enamel Pins

June 22, 2021

Different Types of Materials for Your Enamel Pins

Creating enamel pins involves a lot more decision-making than you might expect.

Nowadays, it’s easy (and surprisingly affordable!) to leave the production concerns up to the experts. As long as you have an internet connection and an idea, you can partner with a top manufacturer to bring your enamel pin vision to life. (And as long as you partner with the RIGHT manufacturer, you won’t have to order thousands of pins or shell out thousands of dollars to do it!)

But the beauty of creating custom pins is just that: they’re completely custom. That means you have the freedom to personalize the type of pin you create, the design you incorporate into your pin, the backing that goes on your pin, and even the very materials used to create your pin.

The materials you use won’t just affect the overall look of your pin but also the colors, cost, and perceived quality of your pin. Choose the right materials and your pin could be durable, stylish, and an instant bestseller – choose the wrong materials and your pin could be flimsy, cheap-looking, and really difficult to move.

Here at The/Studio, we offer a wide selection of materials you can choose from for your pin.

You’re not just choosing between silver or gold – with 14 metal color and finish options, you’ve got to really consider which is the best choice. 

But beyond that, you’ll also have to determine what type of enamel to use to create your enamel pin and the materials you’d like to use for your pin backing.

We’ll go over all of the different types of materials we offer here at The/Studio so you can create an attractive, high-quality custom pin.

 

Enamel Options

Enamel pins are made out of metal and enamel paint. Enamel paint is solvent-based paint that dries to a hard, opaque, usually glossy finish. It’s a popular choice for pins since it is strong, long-lasting, and extremely vibrant.

When choosing materials for your enamel pin, you’ll have two types to choose from: hard enamel and soft enamel. While these pins are actually made out of the same type of enamel, their production processes result in a slightly different look and feel.

Soft enamel pins are the most traditional type of pins. In creating a soft enamel pin, liquid enamel paint is poured into the grooves of die-struck metal before it is baked and hardened. The pouring process forms valleys, resulting in a glossy, textured finish. Soft enamel pins aren’t soft to the touch – once baked, they are hard and durable, though slightly less so than hard enamel pins. They’re a great choice for more detailed designs. Soft enamel pins are the most affordable type of enamel pins.

Hard enamel pins are created by adding individual pieces of colored enamel to a die-struck metal mold, baking the pin, then polishing and grinding the pin, resulting in a smooth, flat surface. Hard enamel pins are typically thicker and more durable than soft enamel pins, but they’re unable to support as high of a level of detail as soft enamel pins are. Due to their higher quality and more involved production process, hard enamel pins cost slightly more than soft enamel pins.

Learn more about the difference between hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins here.

At The/Studio, we offer 21+ different colors of both hard and soft enamel to choose from. You can incorporate up to five different colors on the same pin for free, or as many as 21+ for an extra charge. 

Of course, you can also choose to create a pin that doesn’t include any enamel at all! At The/Studio, we also offer monochromatic metallic pins such as die-struck or 3D mold pins as well as printed pins such as offset printed pins with thin epoxy coating. Learn more about the different types of pins available here.

Which Type of Enamel Is Best for My Pins?

The best type of enamel to choose for your enamel pin depends on your pin design, budget, and general preferences. 

If your pin design is rather detailed, a soft enamel pin might be a better fit. But if you’re going for more of a color-blocked style and you prefer a smooth finish, a hard enamel pin is definitely the way to go. 

If you’re on a tight budget, a custom soft enamel pin will typically cost less than a custom hard enamel pin. But if you’re looking for the absolute highest quality and you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks in order to get it, go with a custom hard enamel pin.

Metal Options

If you create a 3D mold pin or a die-struck pin, the type of metal you choose will determine the look and feel of your entire pin. But even if you have your heart set on creating an enamel pin, you’ll still have to choose which type of metal you’d like for your enamel pin’s base and outline. The/Studio offers 14 different types of metal and finish options you can choose for your pin:

  • Shiny gold – shiny gold pins have a metallic gold finish with a polished surface.
  • Shiny gunmetal – shiny gunmetal pins have a metallic dark gray finish with a polished surface.
  • Shiny silver – shiny silver pins have a classic silver finish with a polished surface. 
  • Black paint – black paint pins have a metal base coated in black paint for a full matte effect.
  • Shiny nickel – shiny nickel pins have a silver-colored finish with a polished surface.
  • Antique gold – antique gold pins have a gold finish with a distressed surface for an aged effect.
  • Antique silver – antique silver pins have a silver finish with a distressed surface for an aged effect.
  • Shiny rose gold – shiny rose gold pins have a rose gold finish with a polished surface.
  • Shiny brass – shiny brass pins have a brass finish with a polished surface.
  • Antique brass – antique brass pins have a brass finish with a distressed surface for an aged effect.
  • Antique nickel – antique nickel pins have a silver-colored finish with a distressed surface to add an aged effect.
  • Shiny copper – shiny copper pins have a copper finish with a polished surface.
  • Antique copper – antique copper pins have a copper finish with a distressed surface for an aged effect.
  • Brushed brass – brushed brass pins have a brass finish with a brushed surface for a rough, aged look. 

Which Type of Metal Is Best for My Pins?

The type of metal and finish that is best for your pins depends on your intended design, aesthetic, and color palette. Since enamel pins typically involve multiple bright colors, you’ll want to consider how different metal color options fit in with the rest of your design. That being said, all available metals and finishes are high-quality options – this material decision is primarily a matter of taste.

Due to the grinding and polishing process involved, some metal/finish options are incompatible with hard enamel pins. If you’re planning on creating a hard enamel pin, you won’t be able to choose a metal with an antique finish or black paint coating. Soft enamel pins are compatible with all metal/finish options.  

Note that all of the above metal and finish customization options are available for no additional charge, with the exception of shiny silver and antique silver.

 

Combining Materials in Your Enamel Pins

Can’t decide between two different metal or finish colors? No need! The/Studio offers the option to mix two metal colors of the same finish to create a multi-tonal base. This means you can choose any two metal colors, such as gold, silver, brass, or rose gold, to combine in one pin, as long as they are in the same finish, such as shiny or antique. For example, you could choose to combine antique silver and antique gold, but not shiny brass and antique nickel.

You might notice the contrast that comes from combining two different colors of metal more in a die-struck or 3D mold pin, but it’s also an option for hard or soft enamel pins.

Note that all enamel pins essentially combine two types of materials into one pin – metal and enamel.

 

Enamel Pin Backing Attachments

Your enamel pin backing attachments may not have much influence on how your pin looks on a jacket or backpack, but they can have a major impact on the functionality and perceived quality of your pin. After all, your customers aren’t just looking for a pin that has an eye-catching design – they also want to be confident that their pins won’t fall off or fall apart.

At The/Studio, we offer 8 different options for enamel pin backing attachments:

  • Butterfly clutch backing – a butterfly clutch is the most traditional type of pin backing. It’s lightweight, durable, and easy to attach and remove. Traditional butterfly clutches are metallic.
  • Black rubber clutch backing – this type of pin backing is similar in shape and function to a butterfly clutch, but the pin backing is secured with a circular black rubber closure.
  • Yellow rubber clutch backing – this type of pin backing is similar to a black rubber clutch, only the backing is a vibrant yellow, making it easier to spot.
  • Deluxe clutch backing – a deluxe clutch is a higher-quality version of a traditional butterfly clutch. A deluxe clutch has a brushed metal texture for a more upscale look.
  • 2-piece magnet backing – this pin backing involves two pieces – a magnetic backing permanently affixed to the pin, and a small circular magnet used to hold the pin in place.
  • Bar magnet backing – similar to 2-piece magnet backing, this pin backing uses a larger bar magnet for a sturdier hold.
  • Safety pin – this pin backing uses a traditional, gold-colored safety pin backing to hold the pin in place.
  • Bent legs – this pin backing’s bendable metallic legs allow the pin to be attached directly to buttons.

 

Which type of backing attachment is best for my pins?

All of the above backing attachment options are durable and easy to both attach and remove. The best type of backing attachment for your pin will depend on its design and intended purpose. 

For example, a magnet backing may be better suited for a nametag that has to be taken on and off often, a traditional clutch pin backing might be better for more permanent pins, and a bent leg backing might be best if your pin will be worn on a button-up shirt. Be sure to consider the size of your pin as well – some larger pin backings such as safety pin or bar magnet backing might not be suitable for very small pins.

All pin backing options are compatible with all pin types, including both hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins.

Note that while a butterfly clutch or rubber clutch backing attachment is customizable free of charge, other pin backing options do come at an additional cost. (Good to remember if you’re on a tight budget!)

 

Other pin material options

But wait, that’s not all! Once you’ve settled on the type of enamel, metal, and backing attachment you’d like to use for your pin, you can add on optional materials if you’d like, including:

  • Glitter, glow-in-the-dark, or translucent enamel
  • Extra backing attachments for stability
  • Protective coating
  • Rhinestones
  • Aluminum core metal to decrease your pin’s weight

You’ll also have the option to add on embossing, engraving, sand-blasting, or debossing to change the look of your pin. 

Note that most of these optional upgrades will come at an additional cost.

Now that you have a better feel for the different enamel pin materials available to you, you’re one step closer to creating your ideal pin. Ready to begin? Start the process here.

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