One of the latest trends in the world of art and fashion are the ever unique enamel pins ! These are essentially tiny metal pins that can be customised and feature any design including illustrations, logos and anything you would want to accessorise yourself with. The market for them has exploded all around with different designs appealing to a variety of crowd , as these tiny metal pieces also reflect one’s style enabling them to accessorise their jackets, backpacks etc making a statement.
While some opt for their fashion appeal some people on the other hand are just collectors of these pins and display them on pin boards and frames. This pin community is huge worldwide, and I’m happy to be a part of it. The emerging market has given reators and designers to start and build successful online businesses by transforming unique ideas and designs into enamel pins.
It has been 7 years now that I’ve been collecting pins. Most of the pins would be from Disney world that my friends gifted me, few from subscription boxes and from few pin makers selling pins on etsy. As a collector I never realised the different kinds of pins that are available. This became much clearer to me, as I kept learning more and more each time when I got into converting my designs into pins.
A frequent query by people is to know how exactly I started or got into pin designing and was even able to create a brand around it. While it's been an eventful journey it is my pleasure to share it with my readers. As I’ve mentioned I’m a pin collector myself and apart from collecting pins I also collect Funko Pops and a few subscription boxes. Geek gear (one of the subscription boxes I purchase) had a pin design contest for the subscribers where we could design a pin for their winter wizardry box. The winning design is made into a pin and would be included in the subscription box. I participated in this and won the contest. Watching people unbox their pins and show so much love made me happy , especially realizing that they loved my designs. And this created a drive in me to make my designs into pins, make people happy with my art and create cute, worthwhile stuff for them.
It took time and research for it all and when I look back to the time when I started as a novice, to how much I’ve grown now as a person, a designer and an entrepreneur , the satisfaction of creating cute things for all of you and constantly learning is a wonderful part of the process.
When it comes to the many types of enamel pin finish that are available to choose from , it is important to decide the type of pin and design that we want to create as both these decisions go hand in hand .
Following are the few types of pins available or at least that I’ve come across till now.
Soft Enamel pins:
These are the most popular ones when it comes to pin designs that have intricate lines and details. They also have more vibrant colour options. The most noticeable difference is that they have recessed outlines which create a dimensional look. These pins can capture minute details and are cost effective. While they are cheap and good in appearance, keep in mind that soft enamel pins are also less durable. Hard enamel pins: All the pins that I’ve designed and produced for my store are hard enamel. These are the high quality pins available in the market and are durable and shiny. Of course, this variant is expensive but they are the most popular among pin collectors and community. The most noticeable difference here is that hard enamel pins have a smooth and flat surface with no recessed metal or texture. These pins are made with die-struck metal and are hand-painted or hand-filled with colour. Hard enamel pins are heated as well, then polished so the surface is smooth. If you are looking for long term durability and great quality, hard enamel pins are a good choice.
Screen Printed pins:
I personally believe screen printed pins are a brilliant option to be mixed with hard enamel. Some designs it would be difficult to make the finer details into hard enamel as there is a space width factory followed to use outline to separate the metal with enamel. So, I’ve learnt that mixing up the two types is the best, wherein you can screen print the finer details on your pin. It also gives you a vast pool of colour options and use of gradient techniques.
Who doesn’t love a good glitter pin? I personally love using iridescent glitter. It’s simple and striking. Glitter pin is done by adding actual glitter into the ink. Being that it is a sparkle powder mixed into a liquid ink, it can shift around and create a perfectly even layer. Because the glitter has multiple tones in it and is intended to reflect light in that way, it can make the colour look differently than just the pantone.
Die Struck Pins:
These pins do not have colour. They can be created in any shape or design, and there’s a huge choice of metallic finishes that include gold, silver, brass, copper and antique gold, and come in a hi-shine or textured finish. This technique is often favoured for medals and commemorative coins.
Cloisonné pins are of Jewellery quality, the finest of the fine and have a long history dating back to ancient China. Enamel powder is carefully placed into these compartments and then fired at high heat. The powder liquefies and hardens to form a hard surface with a brilliant, jewel-like intensity. cloisonné pins can be made to almost any shape or size, and there are numerous options for enhancements
Glow in the Dark:
Just like Glitter pins, Glow in the dark is a powder added into an ink and mixed in. These pins are a choice made by the pin maker as to enhance the look of the pin even in the dark. Many pin makers use it to define a different look in the dark than in the day.