How to Make Enamel Pins? – [ The Ultimate Guide ]

by | Mar 14, 2019 | product 101 | 0 comments

Introduction

If you are looking for an outlet for your creativity, one great way is to learn how to make enamel pins. Not only is it fun, it is also very trendy. This guide will help you turn your designs into eye-catching enamel pins. You can use them to accessorize your clothes, bags, or hats. You can even sell your work online.

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Why Make Enamel Pins as An Outlet for Your Art?

Contrary to what many people think, turning artwork into something that can be functional is not hard. A lot of artists are no longer limited to putting their art on canvass. Many have started to put their art on postcards, stickers, acrylic charms, rubber stamps, tote bags, and more. By turning your art into something you can use, more people will be able to appreciate it.

Recently, artists started turning their artworks into enamel pins because these things last longer than paper products. Plus, they are really fun to wear. You can wear your enamel pin on your clothes.

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You can pin a number of them on the pocket of your jean jacket or on the lapel of your shirt. You can also customize your bag and cap by pinning a few of these on. You can even pin a few on your canvass shoes. Choosing the right group of enamel pins to put on your clothing can also be a form of expression.

Finally, there is a growing community of art enthusiasts that is always on the lookout for new designs to buy. If you design your enamel pins just right, you just might catch the attention of these individuals. Not only do you get to show more people your art, but you can also earn a few extra dollars.

The next part will teach you how to make your design so you can use it to make enamel pins.

The Step-By-Step Process of Designing an Enamel Pin

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Most artists keep an inspiration notebook with them. They do this so they can do a quick sketch of an artwork whenever a concept hits them. This is something that you can do too. Once you’ve filled up a few pages, you can start picking out some ideas you can turn into a pin. Don’t fret, once you start making enamel pins, the ideas will come faster, and usually at random times. If you don’t keep a notebook handy, you might forget them.

1. Look for your inspiration.

It can be a cartoon character, a geometric pattern, or a milk carton. You can customize this design based on your style. 

2. After choosing a design, you will need to refine it.

You can draw your design directly on your phone or tablet. You can also sketch it on paper and just take a picture of it afterward. Load that design onto graphic design software. You can use something like Sketchbook for your mobile device. This software will let you edit the line art and add in colors on your design.

3.Take size into consideration.

The smaller the pin, the more portable it is. However, the small size can affect the number of colors and details that you can include. If you make your pin bigger, you can include more details, but the price will go up.

Additionally, not very many people would want to pin giant enamel things on their shirts. You have to find the right balance between these two.

The size of the pin will also determine the number of pin-backs to use. For very small pins, one pin-back will do. If you have a bigger budget, go for at least two. This will prevent your custom enamel pins from jiggling around and eventually falling off.

4. After you finish your design, it is now time to make enamel pin Your design is fit to be sent to the manufacturer.

However, before you contact any enamel pin maker, it’s crucial that you decide what type of enamel to use for pins.

  • Hard enamel –The pins are made from iron metal that has been die struck. The manufacturer adds the enamel before the actual plating is done. This is polished flat to make a smooth surface. Because each color must be added separately, the hard enamel pin tends to be pricier but is more durable. The multiple polishing processes do not allow for highly-detailed designs.
  • Soft enamel –Your design is stamped onto the iron metal. It is then cut to size. Afterward, the badges are attached to the metal plating. The enamel is then added onto the recessed spaces. The pins are baked to harden the enamel. Soft enamel pins have bumpy surfaces unless an epoxy coating is applied to it. It allows for more details to be included in your design. It tends to be cheaper too.

5. If you are happy with your design, you can submit this to an enamel pin manufacturer for production.

We will talk more about choosing the right one later.

More Tips to Consider in Creating Your Enamel Pin Design

Just because an image looks great on paper doesn’t mean it will translate well as a pin design. Here are some more things to remember when it comes to designing your enamel pins:

 

  • Make sure that the linework is crisp and connected. These lines are going to be what separates the colors. These colors are manually poured onto the pin so having thick enough and crisp lines are essential.

 

  • Make sure that the design is simple enough. Working on something that is 1 to 2 inches in size is hard enough. Having too many lines can make it hard to pour in the colors. Trust me, you don’t want to waste weeks going back and forth with the pin manufacturer doing edits. The simpler the design, the faster they can finish your pins.

 

  • Do not use small texts. This will not be readable particularly on a pin that is 1 inch small.

 

  • Try to use bold lines and colors if possible. As mentioned, the pins are quite small. Seeing the details from afar is almost impossible if you use thin lines. Muted colors are also less visually appealing. Unless you are working with pastel items, the bolder the colors the better.

 

  • Speaking of colors, make sure that you use the Pantone color matching system. In order to communicate what colors, you want for your custom enamel pins. Most manufacturers use this system to get the right colors. You don’t want 50 copies of a pin that doesn’t match your original design, right?

 

  • Do not use shading on your design. It cannot be captured properly on a pin. You will just be wasting your time because the manufacturer will have you remove those eventually. They will not make enamel pins that are not designed according to their specifications. The same goes for transparent colors and gradients. Just stick to solid colors.

Select the Right Manufacturer That Can Make Enamel Pins Based on Your Design

Automated Coloring to improve productivity

Once you have your design ready to be sent to the manufacturer, the next step is to find the right manufacturer. The first thing that you would want to do is look for one in your area. You might find the right pin maker online or thru the yellow pages. This way, you don’t have to pay a hefty price on shipping.

Below are some of the questions that you can ask the vendor:

  • Do they produce the type of pin you want (hard or soft enamel)?

  • What materials do they use to produce the custom lapel pins? What material do they use for the clasp (rubber, metal, plastic)?

  • Do they customize how the pins are packed?

Some manufacturers who make enamel pins offer to include custom cards to serve as backing for your pins. You can have them create this, but it will definitely add to the cost. If you are on a tight budget, just have them ship the pins to you in one bag. You can do the sorting and branding afterward.

  • What is the minimum number of pins that you can order from them?

  • To meet the minimum, can you send in various designs or does the minimum apply to only one design? Most vendors impose a 100-pin per design minimum. That is why it is important to choose the right manufacturer from the beginning. You don’t want to be stuck with 100 pieces of wonky-looking pins that you won’t be able to sell.

  • How long will it take to get the pins made and shipped?

A lot of vendors promise delivery in 4 weeks. Usually, it takes any time between 4 up to 6 weeks for a manufacturer to finish one project. Put this into consideration if you are hoping to sell your pins at a fair. Or planning to use it for an event.

If possible, ask to see some actual samples of their work. Some pins might look great on a photo but not in real life. Nothing beats having the actual product in your hand to really check out its quality. Check if the vendor was able to copy the exact color of the submitted design. Remove the clutch to see how the weld holds up. Is the clutch easy to remove? If it is, the pin might fall off easily.

Take into consideration also how fast the manufacturer responds to your queries. Do they answer your call immediately? Do they respond to emails within the day? The faster their response, the higher you can put them on the list of manufacturers to consider.

Finally, look up the manufacturers that are on your list. Check out their social media accounts and read the reviews left on their page by their clients. A few 1-star reviews are normal, one company cannot please all of their customers. But multiple bad reviews should alert you to remove the supplier from your list.

Prepare for Selling Your Enamel Pins Online by Creating Social Media Accounts

After picking out the perfect vendor, you will have about a month to get everything set to sell the products. If you want to truly reach lots of potential buyers, you should create accounts on various social media platforms.

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Image Source: Unsplash.com
You can market your products on Facebook or Instagram. The more followers you have on those accounts, the more people will see your awesome enamel pins. How do you reach those followers? Here are some tips:

  • Find groups that are interested in your type of art. For example, if you made a unicorn pin, look for groups that love unicorn. And post your pin prototype on their page. Make sure you put a link to your social media accounts on your post. So, these people can find you.
  • Chances are, you are already a member of a group that likes your art. Tap that pool and market your enamel pins there. The good thing about this artsy community is that you won’t need to make enamel pins sound cool. They already know that and are probably already looking for the next pin to buy.

Think About How Much You Will Sell Each Pin

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Before you can make a sale, you need to determine how much your pins are going to be. You have to find a balance between making a profit and making the pins affordable. Here are the factors that will affect the price of your:

  • The more colors you use on the pin, the costlier it gets to make enamel pin You have to sell those pins for a higher price.
  • The intricateness of the design will also jack up the price. The simpler the design, the lower the price.
  • The size of the enamel pin will also push up the price.
  • Some manufacturers give discounts for bulk order. So, the larger your order, the lower you can price your pin. Additionally, the vendor usually charges more for an initial order. This is because they spend a lot in making the initial mold. So, for every re-order you make, you get charged lower.

 

Take Good Pictures of Your Finished Products

After beefing up your followers and deciding the pricing, next step would be to take amazing photos of your products. This is what’s going to allow you to sell your products online. Your customers will see the pins that you are selling and would want to have them for themselves.

These are the tools that you will need:

  • A camera (you can use your smartphone)
  • A tripod (optional)
  • A good background (preferably white)

You will need to find a flat surface where you will place your custom lapel pins. It can be a table or the floor. Make sure there is sufficient natural light where you plan to take pictures. So, you don’t have to use lights yet. Make sure that you capture a shot that showcases the design of each pin really well. Take a few pictures of the pins “in action”. You can attach a few on a jean jacket to give your followers an idea of how to wear them.

Post your pictures on your social media account and tell your followers to send you their orders. Work out your payment system. Once you have built a customer base and a solid following, you might consider opening an online store on Shopify. This will allow you more options like accepting payments through different channels and shipping your customer’s orders.

Special Points: 

The more visually pleasing your product photos are, the better your chances of selling your pins online. That is why it is important to take good photos of your pins. If needed, go over other articles that tackle taking product photos. Check out other Instagram accounts and online stores that sell similar products. See which pictures appealed to you the most and try to replicate its elements.

Conclusion

If you know how to make enamel pins based on your designs, you hit so many birds with that one proverbial stone. You get to express yourself artistically. You get to show more people your art, and you get to earn money too.

So, what are you waiting for? Now that you know how easy it is to make your design into a product, there’s no stopping you. Just let your creative juices lead you to a great design and start making those fun and stylish accessories.

Post samples of your finished products on the comment section. We’d love to see what designs you’ve come up. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post them too.

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Our answers, advice and solutions to creating unique custom enamel pins that fit your specific needs are strictly customers focused. We will not waste your time and provide you with 100% satisfied visual image in 12 hours. Furthermore, we have free design service for your custom pins project. 

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