How to Make Enamel Pins? A Step by Step Guide You Should Know

In this article, you will be provided with the important details about enamel pins, particularly when it comes to making one and selling on the market. Surely enough, you will be guided accordingly by the steps below. So, read on!

In today’s modern world, the popularity of enamel pins has reached its peak, and so more and more individuals are rushing into the idea of making their own enamel pins. Why? Well, aside from making one could be simple and easy if appropriately guided, there is also an assurance of high sales in the market today. In fact, selling them online is the hottest trend nowadays! So, if you also want to engage in such a cool kind of business, you should also learn how to make enamel pins.

But first, what is enamel?

Enamel is referred to as an opaque finish which is applied to glass, metal or pottery in order to achieve a protected and glossy seal. In making enamel, powdered glass is considered first. The said powder will be melted and will be applied to the pins in achieving a stained-glass effect. And this powder will solidify and will protect the details and the colors of the pin from wear and damage.

On the other hand, enamel pin or also coined as a lapel pin is a small pin being worn on clothing, like on a lapel of the jacket, displayed on the piece of fabric or being attached to a bag. It could also be ornamental or might show wearer’s affiliation with a cause or organization.

Also, these tiny metal pins are then highly customizable and could feature any design such as branded logos, offbeat illustrations, and more of your choice. Enamel pins also act as an extension of individuals’ personalities and offer a chance to accessorize and customize jackets, hats, backpacks and more.

Soft Enamel Pins vs. Hard Enamel Pins

You should also be aware that lapel pins could be categorized into two different styles, and these are the hard enamel pins and the soft enamel pins. So, what’s the difference between these two?

Soft enamel is considered to be the most popular option in creating pins and also a favorite for the beginners. It has a lot more color choices having more vibrant and richer colors available. With this, it would allow you to get more texture detail into the design, like the edges and borders. Nevertheless, soft enamel pins can be much less durable and could be scratched easily.

When it comes to hard enamel, it is much more durable and rugged, though a bit more expensive and has more restrictions on coloring. These hard enamel pins could appear less vivid and subdued compared to soft enamel pins.

In addition, hard enamel pins utilize a clear coat of resin on top creating a textureless and flat surface. Indeed, hard enamel is an excellent choice once you want the pin to withstand the elements and if durability, in the long run, matters a lot to you.

Steps on Making Your Enamel Pins

In most cases, people assumed that making enamel pins by themselves is a long and complicated process. But actually, it’s not! In fact, it’s just so simple and easy, and it actually doesn’t require longer than 2-4 weeks to have the pins.

So, how can you do one? Well, all you need to do is to follow the steps below:

Step 1. Prepare the artwork file.

Of course, in order to begin with the production of the enamel pins, the first thing to consider and is required by a pin factory is the PDF file of the design you want to be produced.

So, you have to draw and color a sketch of your idea on a white piece of bond paper, and just scan it as a PDF file. Or, you can also consider some graphic design software options and send them the digital file of the art you like to be made into the pin.

To give you some tips with regards to your design, consider the following:

  • Simplify. Since pins are a small canvas to work on which clock in at around an inch or two in size, it would be better to have fewer details and lines used to convey an image to achieve the clean and clear design.
  • Strong Colors and Bold Lines. Knowing that enamel pins are small, muted colors and thin lines might not stand out once looking the pin at a distance. So, better use strong colors and bold lines instead.
  • Avoid Shading. The colors with the enamel pin are delimited by the lines, so this means that any kind of shading within the color isn’t possible. Better save yourself as well as the factory some time by not including any shading in the pin design.

These are some of the things that you should bear in mind once creating your design for the enamel pins. So, let’s proceed to the next step!

Step 2. Decide the material to be used.

Yes, pins might be made from various kinds of materials, there are two traditional formats that most pin-makers would stick to. And these are the soft enamel and hard enamel pins. So, what’s the difference between the two?

Hard enamel pins have its defining characteristic as thin metal lines separating the color and a solid, smooth enamel finish. These pins are made of die-struck iron metal and are formed by heating into a high temperature. They are polished to create a smooth surface giving them a durable and high-quality feel.

On the other hand, soft enamel pins offer textured pin surface having an allowance for more detail as well as lower in cost. These pins are made of die-struck iron metal, optional epoxy coating and electroplated as well giving them a thinner feel than the hard enamel pins.

Nevertheless, both are true and tried materials, so whichever one you pick could make a great pin. Better go with whatever style could best communicate with your design!

Step 3. Decide on the size you want.

After having the artwork from step one and the pin material prepared on step two, the next step is to pick the size of the pins.

For smaller pins, they usually measure between .75 to 1.25 inches long or wide. And this makes them a lot more portable and easier to fit on any surface at the same time lower in cost since they use less material.

However, smaller pins usually don’t allow much for detail when it comes to your design.

On the other hand, larger pins allow much for more detailed design because you are working with a bigger canvas, but the size limits the places where they could be pinned too. Obviously, you might not always see people with a pin of two inches on the lapel, right?

So, if you are working with only a limited or tight budget, and you just have a simple design as well, the smaller pins seem to be an excellent choice. Take note as well that pin price is determined by the size, so smaller pins could be a lot cheaper. And if you want to make a very detailed pin, and you aren’t worried about the high price, larger pins could be the right choice for you.

Step 4. How many enamel pins to produce?

Now, you already have the artwork, material and the pin size with you, what would be the next thing to do? Well, this is the time to choose the number of pins you want to produce. Anyway, this step is pretty easy, indeed!

Just bear in mind that all factories offer a minimum of 100 units for the first order. And it is highly recommended to stick with this minimum no and just re-order more if it does well. However, in most cases, it could be hard to predict how well the pin would be received and its best to play it safe instead of ordering large quantities of the pin no one is purchasing.

Step 5. How many pin-backs do you want to have?

The fifth step requires you to answer this question. Well, a pin-back is the needle-like mechanism that is usually in the rear section of the pin, which is used to fasten it to the surface temporarily.

So, with regards to pin-backs, one thing you need to know is always to put two pin-backs on all the pins. Why is this so? Simply because using only a pin-back would allow the pin to wobble around wherever you put it, and it would be a lot more likely to fall off and eventually get lost.

You wouldn’t want to lose your beloved pin just because of a faulty pin-back, right? So, don’t make such a mistake!

Step 6. Finally, look for a factory to produce your enamel pins.

This time, you are now going to find the right factory that will produce your enamel pins. You could simply find a list of manufacturers as well as the contact details. You might as well search in Alibaba or Google, typing enamel pin factory, and you’ll get dozens of suitable producers out there.

In deciding who to work with, you can send them an email with a low-resolution jpg of your artwork and not the final PDF to avoid borrowing the design along with the material you picked, the size, the numbers and the number of pin-backs you like then ask them specific questions such as:

  • What would it cost me to produce 100 pins?
  • What is the turn-around time if the artwork is approved?
  • Could you send a photo of the produced pin before shipping it out?
  • Do you accept 50% payment upfront and another 50% if the photo of the produced pin is approved?

Try asking them these questions as your basis to decide whether the factory or manufacturer fits your needs.

How to Sell Your Enamel Pins?

So, after making your own enamel pins, you want to sell them now. How will you do it? Here are some things to consider when planning to sell your enamel pins:

Promote The Enamel Pins

Of course, if you want to sell something, buyers must be aware that you are selling it. Why not try social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? If you have decent numbers of followers, use them to promote the pins or simply create your second account for your designs exclusively.

Just bear in mind to use the right hashtags as it could get the right people as well. You can also try working on your own hashtags for your brand or name. There is a need to post photos that clearly show your pin and its design.

Set Up a Shop

There could be a number of options for possible online shops. Some include Etsy, Shopify, Bigcartel and more. But, whatever site you pick, keep the store clean and simple. It is all about the visual presentation of the pins, so having good and high-quality photos matter a lot.

Subscriptions and Pre-Sales

To keep people intrigued and informed about the pin designs you can give them a heads-up. Simply announce your upcoming pins which are yet to go on sale and let people to pre-order them. With this, people get excited at the same time helps you know the pins that would be popular ahead of time.

A Patreon page can also be considered to enlist contributors and subscribers to fund your upcoming projects particularly if you plan to create new pins regularly.

Indeed, the popularity of enamel pins is inevitable these days. And so, making one on your own can be considered, and you can also sell them to earn money. You only need to be knowledgeable about enamel pins, the steps on making these pins and the right way on how to sell them!

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