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How To Make Enamel Pins - 5 practical tips (do’s and don’ts included)

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March 18, 2024

Want to make enamel pins for your personal project or business venture?

Great news - you don’t need an art degree ! Use your imagination, and let's turn your artwork into wearable pins with this easy yet detailed guide.

Prepare your artwork

Create your design

Enamel pin manufacturers usually need your designs in printable vector, JPG, or PNG files.

If you are a sketch artist or watercolor artist, you can hire someone to convert your handmade sketch into the necessary format.

Alternatively, you can draw your sketch directly in graphic designing software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. These are advanced paid tools, so they require some knowledge and practice.

Not sure about buying them? You can use free tools like sumopaint, gimp, and Vectr

 

Good news!

At Vivipins, we can design it for you. Just send us a picture of what you have drawn. Our designers will convert it into digital format and send it for your approval.

Don’t have a sketch? No sweat!

Just write down your thoughts, and we will draw them out digitally.

Now, let's dive into the basics of your sketch. 

 

Size

You can make enamel pins in several sizes, ranging from 0.5” to 2”.

Do you have a simple design with minimal details? A smaller size, like 0.5” or 0.75”, should be good. They are perfect for self-expression. For example, a crescent moon with silver enamel and gold borders is a simple yet charming design.

This is an example of a small pin with a simple design.

dog pins

Image source: https://vivipins.com/dog-pin/  

 

 

We recommend going bigger for complex designs - around 1.75” to 2” size. Larger enamel pins are frequently used for branding and collectibles.

This is an example of a custom wedding pin. It needs to be medium or large so the design can show up clearly.

love pins

Image source: https://vivipins.com/wedding-pins/ 

 

 

Color

Your enamel pin will be much smaller than your sketch. Using too many colors might give it a cluttered look.

Stick to a limited color variation. For smaller pins, we suggest two or three colors. You can use four or more colors for larger ones, but remember that more colors mean higher manufacturing costs.

 

How do you ensure that the manufacturer chooses the exact color you want?

Let’s guide you through this.

Take, for instance, light pink. Now, it's a very generic, broad color. It has several variations, like pastel pink, coral, bubblegum, and more.

How do you specify the exact tone and shade?

 

There where the Pantone color matching system can help. It has thousands of colors organized into dozens of palettes.

 

 

Just pick the exact color you want and give us its code.

Still not sure?

Select the ‘decide it for me’ option when ordering your pins. Our experts will pick the colors that best complement your design and share them for your approval.

 

Cut-outs or no cut-outs?

cutout pins

Image source: https://www.enamelpins.com/Custom-3d-or-cutout-pins

 

This is a cut-out pin. It has areas where there is no metal.

They look fancier but cut-outs increase the manufacturing costs of the enamel pins.

Plus, if the holes (and pin size) are tiny, manufacturing them could be pretty tricky.

We suggest you go for solid designs that do not require cut-outs, like the below image -

lion pins

Image source: https://vivipins.com/custom-enamel-pins/ 

 

 

But hey, we get it.

Sometimes cut-outs are unavoidable, especially for logos. If your design requires a cut-out, feel free to contact us. We will come up with a solution.

Things to keep in mind while designing your enamel pin

  • Make sure to make over-complicated designs.

Intricate designs are challenging to produce, especially for pin sizes between 0.5” and 2”.

 

  • Avoid color gradients.

Enamel pins are made by a stamping process, making color gradients or shading challenging. Use solid colors and separate each of them using raised metal lines.

Need gradient design anyway?

No worries!

Our offset-printed enamel pins can accurately reproduce gradients, shading, and other details. But it comes at an additional cost.

This is an example of an offset enamel pin with a gradient color.

pins

 

  • Do not forget about the line thickness in your sketch.

While making enamel pins, the colors/sections must be separated by a raised metal line, at least 0.2mm.

Each color area or section should have at least 0.3mm of space. The fonts should be no smaller than 5pt. 

Tada! The sketch is ready!

Now, let's dive into the manufacturing process.

 

Choose between hard enamel versus soft enamel

hard enamel versus soft enamel

Image Source: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0067/9195/4493/files/EnamelPinFactory.jpg?v=1551959438

If you still have questions, watch this video or talk to our experts. They are experts in this field and can help you decide the best option based on your design and budget.

 

Decide the plating options

Design, color, and enamel are sorted.

Now, it's time to figure out the plating options.

Most enamel pin manufacturers, including us, offer classic options like black, gold, silver, copper, brass, and nickel.

And, then there are special finishes like antique gold, antique silver, antique brass, and antique nickel.

plating options

Image source: https://vivipins.com/order/pins

 

But, here’s the thing: you can’t pick a plating option randomly.

The right plating color can accentuate the overall design of your enamel pin, whereas the wrong one might tone it down.

The color of the plating should harmonize with the enamel colors.

Typically, gold, silver, and nickel team up well with darker colors. Black goes best with lighter shades. Antique plating is perfect for vintage-themed detailed enamel pins.

 

But hey, your pin's theme plays a role, too.

Play around with several plating options to find the ideal match.

Take this is a light-colored enamel pin, for instance. It has golden plating because black or nickel would have dulled its attractiveness.

enamel pins

Image source: https://www.olguioo.com/how-to-enamel-pins/

Feeling overwhelmed? Leave it to our experts. :) 

 

Choose the proper backing option.

The popular backing options are:

  • Butterfly clutches: Classic and secure. Best suited for uniforms and everyday wear.
  • Rubber clutches: Easy to put on and take off, making them a good choice for kids. Recommended for everyday use.
  • Deluxe clutches: High-end, long-lasting option for expensive enamel pins.
  • Jewelry clutch: Highly secure backing option. Recommended for thick fabrics and where the wearer has to undergo a lot of movement.
  • Magnetic clutch: Recommended for thinner fabrics as the pin won’t pierce through the fabric.
  • Safety pin: Conventional but highly secure option. No need to worry about losing detachable parts. 

 

Select packing

We are almost done making enamel pins.

While ordering, you need to specify how you want your pins to be packed.

At Vivipins, we offer several options at no extra cost. Choose from velour boxes, plastic boxes, backing cards, drawstring bags, and polybags.

 

Factors that affect the price of enamel pins

  • The larger the pin, the more it will cost.
  • Hard enamel pins are pricier than soft enamel ones.
  • Some manufacturers may charge you extra for complex designs with tiny details.
  • The more color you need, the more you may have to pay.
  • Features like glow-in-the-dark and glitter may cost you extra.

Pro tip: Bulk orders are wallet-friendly because they reduce the manufacturing cost.

 

Have questions? Call us

Our team has years of experience designing and manufacturing custom enamel pins, patches, coins, gaiters, markers, clips, and more.

Even if you don’t have a digital design, just send a rough drawing or write down your thoughts. We will design it for you and send it to you for approval.

Get started today and make enamel pins that scream your thoughts, ideas, personality, or message!

 

Reference links:

  1. All about pins
  2. Shopify
  3. Wikihow
  4. Marisa Mohi 
  5. Patricia Pedroso

 

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Article written by

Simon Davis

I’m Simon Davis. I head the custom socks department at Vivipins, thanks to my extensive expertise in design and my knack for sourcing the highest quality sock material. Together with the sock department team, we ensure your feet are in the best socks because the brand label reads Vivipins. We’ve built a 7-year history of the best quality socks for any occasion or need because we have the right resources to create any sock type, size, and design your brand or fashion whims will make you dream of.

  • Variety in exclusive designs: You only need to visit our sock product page to see how spoilt you are for choice: Crew, logo, face, athletic, holiday, special occasion, you name it! Even then, we make them exclusively yours with your custom details.

  • Material every foot will love: We don’t just make socks, we make top-quality cotton, merino wool, bamboo, and cotton-spandex blends you, your team, your brand customers, or your employees’ feet will find irresistible.

  • The healthy foot guarantee: Vivipins socks take the award for all the qualities that brand an apparel of comfort: Breathability, moisture-wicking, snugness, and durability. If you are a Vivipins sock customer, you say goodbye to blisters and bacteria.

  • Seasons and time matter: Do you want your socks now, before the biting cold season knocks, or right now, before that brand promotion and marketing event kicks off? Vivipins has the magic sock wand to get those socks at your door right on time and at no extra cost.

Talk to us and become a Vivipins sock customer today. Your walking, running, and playing will never be the same again in those feet-loving comfy socks.

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