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37 Custom Enamel Pin Questions Answered

Posted May 25, 2020

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37 Custom Enamel Pin Questions Answered

37 Custom Enamel Pin Questions Answered | Cheappins

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Get your answers here, everything custom enamel pins.  The questions you wanted to ask, the question you have already asked, and the questions you never thought to ask.  Custom enamel pins might seem complicated, we try to make them simple.

Where can I get custom enamel pins?

A simple search of the internet for “custom enamel pins” will result in many online custom pin companies, most will be based in America.  However, the majority of these pin companies manufacture their pins in China.  They have spent years vetting china suppliers and have established good relationships.  This is good for you as they take away all the uncertainty.  They will speak English, understand the American culture, generate better artwork, communicate effectively and timely, guarantee their work, all adding an increased level of trust and ease in getting your custom enamel pins made.  

Are enamel pins popular?

Yes.  Enamel pins have been around for over a hundred years, and a staple of the promotional productions industry. They are an effective way to promote people, places, causes, organizations, clubs, teams, events and have great staying power.  Think of them as mini billboards that travel.  In the past 5 years, the millennial generation has added a whole new dimension of popularity using lapel pins as statement makers.  Just look around and odds are you will see someone wearing a custom enamel pin.

How do I sell my enamel pins?

The best place to sell your enamel pins is on the internet via a website or social media.  It is easy to target people using Facebook and create distribution lists to reach people that are interested in pins.  It really is easy.  1.  Create a unique design.  2.  Get the pins made.  3.  Establish a good price.  4.  Display and promote the pins.  5.  Take and fulfill orders.  6.  Repeat.  As you go along learn what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.  There is no step by step process, it is a trial and error.  Just remember getting people to know about your pin is the most important step.  If people don’t know the pin exists they will never buy it, regardless how cool it is.

What are enamel pins used for?

Enamel pins are used for everything from promotion, to recognition, to building unity, to raising funds, to raising awareness, to making a statement, to saying thanks.  Enamel pins are probably one of the most universal promotional products that cross all marketing segments.  You will see them in the board room, the school, the church, the community, the stores, the family, the baseball field and even space (think NASA).

How much do custom enamel pins cost?

Enamel pins vary in cost based on type of pin, quantity, and size.  Hard enamel pins are more expensive than soft enamel pins.  The more quantity you buy the lower the price.  The bigger size you buy the higher the price.  The most common custom enamel pin order would be 100 quantity, 1-inch soft enamel pins.  A typical price for these specifications is about $2.90 cents per pin but can vary up or down depending on the pin company you choose.

Can you make money selling enamel pins?

Yes, you can make money selling enamel pins.  But you have to do your homework.  Its easy to design what you think is a cool pin, but selling it is the harder part.  You have to purchase custom pins in bulk so your upfront costs are close to $300.  To make money you have to price your pins at a fair price while covering your costs and then sell enough to cover your upfront cost and any shipping costs incurred.  A typical enamel pin could sell anywhere from $5 to $30 just depending on the perceived value.  Let’s say you sold your pins for $5 plus actual shipping costs.  In order to cover your $300 investment, you would have to sell 60 pins (60 * $5 = $300 cost).  Based on this example you will begin making money once you sell more than 60 pins.

How do you keep enamel pins from falling off?

The sure way to keep pins from falling off is to use a locking pin back or a deluxe clutch.  Both of these options have locking mechanisms to keep them attached to the pin post.  The negative to the locking pin back is this is a more permanent type attachment and is not good if you are putting the pin on and off.  The deluxe clutch is better if the pins is removed frequently.  Another option is putting 2 posts on the back of the pin, this provides additional security as both clutches would have to fall off for the pin fall off.  The negative is you get two holes in the clothing.

What do you put enamel pins on?

Enamel pins can go on anything and everything, backpacks, vests, coats, jackets, shirts, hats, lanyards, towels, pin bags, purses, belts, shoes.  Basically, if a nail can be poked through an item a pin can be attached.  Pins don’t even have to be attached to anything, they can just sit on a desk, a car dash, etc.  Pins are for promotion and display so put them on anything.

Why are enamel pins so popular?

Enamel pins are so popular because they are small, inexpensive yet powerful tools to help tell a story or make a statement.  They are universal in application.  They are great conversation starters.  They raise awareness.  They are always promoting.  Enamel pins are the best bang for you buck if you have something to say.  Most advertising is used once then thrown in the garbage.  An enamel pin lasts forever.

Do pins damage clothes?

Well yes and no.  Generally, if you poke a hole in something you now have a hole in that something.  But many fabrics will quickly close the hole once the enamel pin is removed.  The other thing to consider is whether it really matter if a hole exists if you wear the pin all the time as the hole will never be seen.  There are some instances of pins damaging clothing due to rust but these are rare as many pins don’t rust because the metal used does not rust.

How do enamel pins work?

In terms of mechanical operation, enamel pins are great as there are no moving parts.  Just pin it on and you are good to go.  The clutch is the most complicated part of the pin and yet it is still not complicated.  

In terms of how enamel pins are produced this is a little more complicated.  Enamel pins are made from a small thin piece of metal.  A design is carved out of a chunk of steel creating a mold or die.  The die is then placed on top of a thin piece of metal and then under great pressure the design is stamped into the thin piece of metal using a press.  This leaves raised and recessed areas.  Paint or enamel is then put into the recessed areas creating color.  The pin is then plated with gold or silver to give it a finished look.

What are enamel pins made of?

Enamel pins are made of metal.  There are several types of metal used to create different types of pins.  The most common metal used is brass, copper or iron.  Stainless steel and zinc alloy are 2 additional metals that are used for offset printed pins and diecast pins respectively.  Pins are plated to cover the raw base metal so generally you are only seeing the gold or silver.  It is difficult to know what the based metal is once the pin is finished.

What do I do with my pins?

Well to be frank, that is a personal question.  You will receive as many answers as peope you ask.  Everyone has a different purpose.  It is important to know what you are going to do with the pins be you make the pins as the purpose helps determine the type, quantity and size.

Pins are used for so many different things.  You might collect your pins.  You might display your pins.  You might trade your pins.  You might wear your pins.  You might give away your pins.  You might sell your pins.

Taking another line of thought, pins are used for promotion, making statements, recognizing hard work, displaying creativity, trading, saying thank you, selling and more.  The beautiful thing about pins is they can be used for anything.

Can you wear enamel pins as earrings?

If you want to take an existing pin and push the nail through a hole in your ear, the answer is NO.  This would not be advisable.  Regular pin posts are not made of material that would be good to wear as an earring.  It may cause irritation or even infection besides the fact the nail is much thicker than a normal earring attachment.  

However, earrings really are just pins with a different type of attachment.  If you want to create an earring from a pin design then make specific earrings rather than trying to adapt a pin.  The process is the same.  Take your pin design, remove the nail, add a loop at the top of the design, then add a standard earring attachment.  The pin manufacturer will handle all of this and produce beautiful and safe earrings that you can wear.

What is the difference between soft enamel and hard enamel?

The difference between soft and hard enamel is how they treat the enamel.  Both type of pins use the exact same enamel (paint), but on hard enamel pins the enamel is hardened by heat and then polished smooth.  On soft enamel pins the enamel is air dried.  Based on these different treatments, hard enamel has a completely smooth surface.  Soft enamel has a nonsmoothed surface because during the air-drying process the enamel settles ever so slightly leaving the metal borders between the colors raised.  So, soft enamel has a sort of 3-dimensional look and hard enamel is flat and smooth.

One other difference that most people do not understand is how the colors are affected.  Because heat is introduced to the hard enamel pin, the colors often darken and dull slightly.  Keep this in mind if color is really important for the finished product.

Do enamel pins rust?

Some enamel pins can rust, some will not.  Enamel pins are made of 5 different types of metal:  brass, copper, iron, stainless steel, and zinc alloy.  Of these 5 metals the only metal that will rust is IRON.  That said, most pins are plated with either gold or silver.  This plating does two things, it makes the pin shiny and more jewelry like hiding the raw base metal.  Second it protects the base metal from moisture which is what causes iron to rust.  Generally rusting is not a big problem, but it is good to be aware and watch as rust can ruin fabric.  Once the pins are plated the only way to know if iron was used for your pin is to try to attach a magnet.  Iron is the only magnetic material so if a magnet is attracted it is iron base metal.

How many lapel pins should I wear?

As many as you want.  It really depends on the clothing you are wearing and the event or places you may be going.  It you are just out and about wearing a Levi jacket then fill it up.  If you are wearing a suit coat going to a corporate event, probably keep it to one lapel pin.  These are just 2 extreme examples, there are many other examples that might say 2 pins or 3 pins.  You will know best based on your audience and message you want to send.

What is soft enamel?

Soft enamel is the most popular style of pin because it is the least expensive enamel pin but still a great quality pin.  Soft enamel uses the same enamel as hard enamel, the difference is soft enamel is air dried and hard enamel is heat dried.  As the enamel dries on soft enamel pins it settles ever so slightly leaving the metal ridges separating the colors raised.  This effect gives it character or a 3D effect.  Some people like it, others prefer the smoothness of the hard enamel finish.

How do you make enamel pins in Illustrator?

It is very difficult to give a tutorial on Illustrator, a very powerful program, in a short space.  What is important to understand is that pin artwork must be vectorized.  A vector is a line, so vectorized artwork is a design made up of a bunch of lines.  The lines represent raised metal for a custom enamel pin.  The vector lines are what the machine uses to know how to create the pin mold.  The other aspect of the lines is that it separates colors.  Enamel pins cannot have blended colors.  Each color must have its own space separated by you guessed it a line.  There are many talented artists, but enamel pin artwork is unique, the line concept is the hardest aspect to grasp.  Illustrator is the program of choice as it is a vector (line) program.

How much does an enamel pin weigh?

There is no exact answer for this question.  The bigger the pin, the heavier the weight.  But as a pin manufacturer, our general guide is .16 ounce for a 1-inch enamel pin.  If you were to multiply this out, 100 – 1-inch enamel pins would weigh 1 pound.  You can typically start with this and assume if you have a 2-inch enamel pin it would way double what a 1-inch enamel pin weighs so it would be.32 ounce or 2 pounds for 100 pins.

How do I start an enamel pin business?

The best way to start any business is to have an idea, a plan, and at least a customer or two.  Most businesses start small and grow.  Enamel pins are best sold on the internet.  Having a cool pin is great, but if no one knows about it you won’t sell a single pin.  You get the point. Having a way to market and promote your pin is probably the most important part of a business plan.  Social media is a great place to start.  Post pictures of your designs, create a following and sales will come.  The next step could be a website that displays all your designs in one place and helps promote your business.  Just remember that promotion often costs money, if you spend more than you bring in your business will not last long.

Are pins considered jewelry?

Yes.  Lapel pins absolutely are considered jewelry and worn as accents to other jewelry items.  Lapel pins have a shine and flair that is considered jewelry.  But there is a difference between true jewelry and lapel pins.  Most lapel pins are what one might call costume jewelry versus fine jewelry.  The difference is in the use of precious metal (gold, silver).  Fine jewelry will often be made of solid precious metal, meaning gold all the way through, and be much more expensive.  Costume jewelry is made with a cheaper base metal like brass, copper, iron and is only plated gold or silver.  Plated means a thin layer of gold electroplated onto the base metal.  There is some higher end jewelry that is plated but it is much thicker than costume jewelry.  As an example, costume jewelry may have 10 mil of plating versus fine jewelry will have 100 mil of plating.  The thinner the plating, the easier it is to rub off.  Lapel pins typically are not worn against the skin so rubbing off is not an issue so they can handle a thinner plating.

What are the backs of pins called?

There are two parts to the back of a pin.  The nail or post and the clutch.  The nail or post is what pokes through the clothing to attach.  The clutch is what goes behind the clothing to secure it from falling off.  The clutch is attached onto the post.  There are many different clutches:  butterfly clutch, rubber clutch, or deluxe clutch.

How long do enamel pins last?

Enamel pins should last forever.  There is nothing on a lapel pin that will spoil or wear out if the pin is used under normal conditions.  However, there are things that can happen.  If a pin is made of iron and the plating wears off, it can rust which if not treated could ruin the pin.  If a pin is put on a backpack and the pin is constantly banged, smashed, or scraped it could damage the look of the pin.  Basically, you have to really work to destroy a lapel pin.  The good news is if you wear a lapel pin every day and take care of it, it should last your lifetime.

How do you get button pins to stay on?

Button pins have a different attachment mechanism than an enamel pin.  Typically, it is a thin safety pin style with a loop.  The pin is not very strong and can slip off from the loop.  If the button pin will be placed in a permanent position, then position the button pin in its spot, then take a needle and thread and stitch it to the clothing by looping the thread through the safety pin loop and the clothing – similar to attaching a regular button.

How do you make a pin with a magnet?

You make a pin with a magnet the same way you make a pin with a clutch.  Magnet attachments are often preferred by those you don’t want holes put in their clothing.  Magnets are more expensive but a good option for protecting the fabric.  Two magnets are used on a magnet pin.  The first one is securely glued to the back of the pin, the second one is loose and is used to put behind the clothing to attach to the other magnet on the back of the pin.

Where do you put Disney pins?

Disney pins are some of the most sought-after collectible pins.  If you invested in a Disney pin you want to take care of it.  Many people will attach Disney pins to a lanyard.  This allows them to easily display them, trade them, and protect them.  Other people store them in a pin bag.  Specially made pin bags are built with 4-6 fabric pages designed to pin lots of pins and safely store them.  The pin bag is a good solution if you are moving them from place to place as you can zip the pin bag closed.

How do men wear enamel pins?

Miss manners may have an exact approach for men wearing enamel pins, but the answer is it’s up to you.  Most men that wear an enamel pin on a suit lapel will wear them on the left lapel making sure it is above the pocket.  Or if your suit lapel has a slit in it, you could put it in that position.

What is hard enamel?

Hard enamel is considered the highest quality of lapel pins.  It is also the most expensive.  Hard enamel uses the exact same enamel (paint) as soft enamel, but the difference is how the enamel is treated.  On hard enamel the enamel is hardened by heat and then polished leaving a very smooth surfaced pin.  This is different from soft enamel which is air dried and settles leaving the metal ridges raised.  Because hard enamel has heat introduced into the process the colors can darken and dull some.  This is a little unknown fact most people are not aware of.

Can you wash enamel pins?

Yes, but it is best to just use plain water and make sure the pin is completely dried once you finish washing.  For most enamel pins you can use a dry soft cloth to rub any tarnishing or dirt that may be on the pin.  Other than tarnishing, pins should remain pretty clean under normal wear and tear.

What is an enamel badge?

Enamel badge refers to a regular enamel pin that is worn on a suit lapel.  Pins are known by many names but they all refer to the same thing.  Sometimes people in different countries call enamel pins, enamel badges.  Typically, in America the terminology is lapel pins, custom pins, enamel pins, hard enamel pins, soft enamel pins.  In other countries outside of America you typically hear lapel badge, enamel badge, custom badge.  All of these terms are the same thing.

How do I ship enamel pins internationally?

No matter where you ship pins, it can be tricky because you don’t want them to break, get smashed, or have the post break off.  Shipping internationally is the same as anywhere with one exception, you have to declare a customs/duty form as to what you are shipping and the value.  You can use USPS, FEDEX, UPS or DHL.  Often DHL is the best method for shipping internationally because they have a bigger presence outside America.  This makes the shipping cheaper and more reliable.  Anytime you ship to a different country you have to declare value, and pay duties and taxes imposed by the respective government.  The fee varies depending on the country.  Duties and taxes are based on a harmonized code that defines the product and defines the tax percent.  Enamel pins harmonized code is 7117 0000.  Shipping into America comes with an 11% tax.  Often this tax is waived on small packages.  Customs typically only assesses taxes on larger shipments, anything under $150 would probably come duty free.

Is there a difference between a brooch and a pin?

Yes, there is a difference between a brooch and a pin.  A brooch is only worn by a woman, pins are worn by both men and women.  A brooch is a higher end jewelry item whereas a pin is a costume jewelry item of lesser materials.  A brooch is typically larger than a pin, is 3 dimensional and much thicker than a pin.  A brooch would have a safety pin style attachment rather than a nail and clutch of a pin.

What are the different types of custom pins?

There are many terms describing types of pins, but in reality, there are 3 styles of pins and then variations within those 3 styles.  The 3 styles of custom pins are Die struck pins, Die cast pins, and Printed pins.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages.  Die Struck pins are the most preferred and the most common.  Die struck and die cast pins can both have enamel added to the pin.  Printed pins do not use enamel but are literally a print that is applied to a metal base.  Here is a list that might visually help:

Die struck – no enamel
Die struck – hard enamel
Die struck – soft enamel

Die cast – no enamel
Die cast – hard enamel
Die cast – soft enamel

Printed – offset printing
Printed – silkscreen
Printed - photo dome

Can you wear pins on a plane?

It is recommended that you not wear lapel pins when going through an airport.  First due to the metallic nature of the pin you would most likely get stopped by TSA.  It is best to place them in your checked luggage and then resume wearing them at your destination.

Are enamel pins magnetic?

Yes and no.  Iron base enamel pins are magnetic, but all other materials like brass, copper, stainless steel and zinc alloy are not magnetic.

Should I wear a lapel pin to an interview?

The conservative answer is no.  Lapel pins are mini billboards – they make a statement.  You never know how those you will be interacting with will respond to the statement made by your lapel pin.  Even if it is an American flag, that is a statement and your interviewer may have a different viewpoint.  Once you are hired, then it is up to you.

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