hard enamel pin

How Are Enamel Pins Made

Custom enamel pins are a great way to show off your company's logo and branding. If you're not sure what options fit best for designing them, this guide will walk through how we make our custom designs using different techniques tailored specifically toward meeting all of those needs!

enamel pins

How To Make Enamel Pins

The first step in making your custom enamel pin is deciding on your logo or illustration. Work with our design team to create the perfect design. Then you’ll need to select the type of enamel and finish details to make your custom pins come to life. The first step in making them is deciding on the size and shape of your design. They can be of any size, but the production process is different for smaller and larger designs. 

The next step is to create your design and size. Sizes traditionally range between 3/4" to 1 1/4" but there is no set measurement for what’s acceptable, so use this as a guideline only. They're available with either a gold or silver metal finish. Hard enamel has a hard jewel-like surface and the color is baked on to prevent wear from exposure to the outdoors like rain, sun, snow, etc. Enameling takes place in two steps: firstly, it’s fired at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes followed by polishing and assembly of your attachment.

Request a Quote

Need a custom pin quote for your next project? Upload your sketch or logo and we'll send you one free proof. We offer non-profit discounts.

See All Custom Lapel Pin Choices

We have a wide selection of pin styles including soft enamel and hard-enamel. We offer the most popular styles in our gallery for you to choose from.

Choosing Your Pin Style

Soft enamel is a classic choice for trading pins in black nickel and will emphasize the recessed and raised areas of your logo. It is also a cost-effective way to add color to a high-quality product. This simple type of enamel will add color to your artwork while leaving lines visible making for a clear final product. You can add letters and linework to create words, shapes, or designs that complement the background. Use different vivid colors including glow-in-the-dark inks for a custom logo that pops!

multi-color pin design

What’s the Difference in Styles?

One style isn’t better than the other—it’s all about what’s best with your design. Hard enamel has a shiny, glass-like finish that is filled to the pin’s surface for a smooth look. Soft enamel is faster to make and more affordable and is filled 75 percent of the way up the surface walls.

Although these processes share many step-by-step similarities, there are two different manufacturing processes for different finishes. Hard enamel is made by filling the cavity with molten material. Then, the excess filling is then sanded down to achieve a glassy surface.
With the Monterey Company, making them is as easy as creating your design and deciding on your shape. In this guide, you will learn the differences between our production styles and the best ways to make custom lapel pins for you.

Our Most Popular Styles

hard enamel pin

Adding Enamel To A Cast Pin

Made from zinc, casting allows for tiny details and raised areas to stand out in your design, and you can also add antique finishes on raised areas to create a nice contrast. This style is also a good choice if you are ordering in bulk because they’re lighter and easier to ship. If you’re unsure what your final pin will look like, work with our team to create a three-dimensional proof to see the results before production.

Top Things To Know About Making Enamel Lapel Pins

They are a great way to show off your favorite fandom, or even just an art style you admire. The differences between the two methods of producing them are vast. One has a more durable and higher jewelry-quality finish, but also costs significantly more money to produce than its counterpart; whereas another type may be cheaper in unit price yet provides an entirely different feel due to how it's made which makes for some interesting choices when deciding what kind you want!

All-metal lapel pin pricing varies depending on the style you choose and the quantity you order. Making them from iron is the most cost-effective.

Our talented team will create a design proof to ensure your ideas are reflected in your final design. Proofs are the best way to make sure the spelling, colors, and sizes are all accurate and approved by you before production. Making a pin starts with your idea. Free artwork will be created by your pin designer, and proof will be sent to you for your review and approval.

Plating is also known as the finish comes in a few choices. Plating typically includes a nickel-free coat under your main plating. Gold and silver plating are the top finish choices for our custom designs.

plating chart

New Orders

Standard production time is normally between 10 and 14 days. Cloisonné is more time-consuming, but they provide much higher quality. If you need your order fast though we recommend using our full-color photo-print style instead!

Repeat Orders

When you order a pin, we create a mold for your specific design. That way, if you need to order more, we already have it on file. You can always update the enamel background, change colors, update text, or keep the design exactly the same the next time you need to order. If you’re new to making a new design, the Monterey Company is here to help. We’re experts at working with our customers to breathe new life into design ideas. With our years of experience, streamlined process, and design expertise, our artists can turn your concepts into unique creations that you’ll be proud to wear.

Shipping times vary depending on your location. Most bulk lapel pin orders are shipped using FedEx Air service, and shipments often are routed through many locations. Shipping delay is not common but does happen and allowing 3 to 7 days for shipping is usually a standard delivery time.

The Process

1 - Your Design Ideas

Have an idea? Send us your drawing or clipart and we work with you on your vision.

customer design sketch

Customer Supplied Art


2 - Digital Proof is Made

We design a digital proof for your approval at no charge and we include unlimited revisions.

faire-lapel-pin-design

3 - The Final Custom Products!

Production of your pin design normally takes 10 to 15 days. Note the 3D added to this design!

faire pin
pin back cards

Transparent Enameling

Transparent coloring is made with the background showing through the top layer. What makes transparent color different? It allows for the background to show through. This allows for making designs in the background that can enhance an image. Transparent coloring is one of the most popular because of the overall enhancement it offers a logo.

Transparent color can also be manufactured with many different personalization options, like unique shapes, textured finishes, and more. One of the most striking ways to incorporate transparency is to add it to your design proof. This adds transparency while still letting texture show through. It’s the perfect option for images where subtle accents can make a big difference.

hard enamel globe pin

Add Additional Printing To Your Pin Design

A unique way to enhance your custom design is to combine different processes. You can stamp the outer edges of your pin and leave the center open for a smooth, glossy printed design. You can also combine custom enamel paint and printing to make a unique dimension that blends classic styles with the crisp, modern look of a printed pin. Printed inserts can feature any image or photo, like a logo, slogan, or any other detailed design, giving you endless options to customize your creations. Adding epoxy, eye-catching gold finish, silver finish, black finish, or other eco-friendly choices is our specialty.

cloisonne pins

Cloisonne

Dating back over 2,000 years, this process is traditionally used in jewelry making and metalwork. The process starts with a copper metal design, which allows for a textured feel. From there, colored sand is used to fill the different spaces to finish the design. The process begins similarly to other enamel techniques-with a struck copper piece that has cavities and ridges. Unlike other techniques, however, cloisonné enamel filling uses colored sand as color fill. The colors used are chosen from our Pantone color charts and then put into your design.

Once the colored sand has been added, the pin is fired at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, which turns the sand into colored glass. This type of pin can't be overfilled or sanded down, so the process needs to be very precise. Once the jewelry-like pin has been filled correctly, it needs to be annealed-this involves cooling the pin slowly to ensure the glass is cured. The finished product is then polished, engraved, or plated and shipped to its final destination.

enamel lapel pins

Although these processes share many steps, there are two different manufacturing processes for different finishes. Hard enamel is made by filling the recessed areas of a pin with molten material. Then, the excess filling is then sanded down to achieve a glassy feel. Using pigmented sand to color the recessed areas of the metal. The sand is then fired and cured, which makes a gem-like finish. Because of the complexity of producing this style pin, they are some of the most high-end styles we produce. As a result, they also take longer to manufacture and involve more steps.