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Custom Pins 101: The Differences Between Soft Enamel, Hard Enamel or Die-struck Pins

Written on November 14, 2018 at 3:21 pm, by

SoftEnamel v HardEnamel v Die Struck

Not sure of the difference between soft enamel, hard enamel or die-struck pins? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. All About Pins is asked weekly about it and we’re here set the record straight so you can decide which type is best for your custom pins.

Soft Enamel Pins


While making soft enamel pins, a design’s shape is stamped and then cut from a sheet of metal before plated. The initial stamping creates raised and recessed areas (one level of metal raised over another lower level) and we fill-in the recesses with enamel paint to color your design. The raised and recessed levels give soft enamel pins a distinct “bumpy” or textured feel when running your fingers over the surface.

Between soft and hard enamel pins, soft enamel is slightly cheaper to produce and, at your request, we can add a free epoxy resin coating to protect the surface. The textured feel of a soft enamel pin allows for more line detail than hard enamel pins and full enamel paint allows for more visual variety over die struck pins.

Hard Enamel Pins

Hard Enamel

In-house, we offer a type of hard enamel pin called cloisonné pins. Making our hard enamel pins is similar to making our soft enamel pins but with the added step of filling each recess with colored resin. After the resin fill, each color on an order of pins is individually baked at a high temperature to harden and cure the enamel, before applying a polish so the final product has a hard and glossy finish with a nearly flat surface.

Hard enamel pins have a smooth jewelry-grade surface compared to the metallic ridges of soft enamel pins and the enamel becomes much more durable. We use a resin fill instead of a more traditional glass fill in order to provide the full spectrum of Pantone color options. The final polish that gives hard enamel pins their distinctive smoothness also means the metal lines in a design can become slightly less detailed but the colors will look much sharper and more vibrant than soft enamel pins.

Die-struck Pins


While we constantly get requests for colorfully illustrated designs, sometimes less is more and that’s where die struck pins come in. Stamped in metal in the same way as soft enamel pins, die struck pins forgo the addition of enamel paint and remain sheathed in the natural look of their plating for a classic metal look with the option for sandblasting the recesses for visual contrast. Die struck pins are popular with designers or organizations looking for a classic metal appearance with our standard high polish plating.

As an extra service, All About Pins can antique plate the pins to give them a rare vintage appearance. Antiqued die struck is actually our most popular type of die struck plating and the plating can have a dramatic effect on a coin’s detailed appearance. Compared to the stylized look of painted enamel pins, some clients view the simplicity of die-struck pins as more elegant and refined.

Side by Side


Placing the different types of pins side by side you can more easily tell some of the more specific differences between each pin type. If you’re still confused about their differences, think about it this way. If the surface has a textured feel with definite recesses where the enamel paint fills color, then it’s a soft enamel pin. Meanwhile, if it has an almost smooth texture with a painted enamel surface, then it’s a hard enamel pin. Should it have a textured surface but an unpainted metal surface, then what you’re holding is a die-struck pin.

Which Pin Type to Choose?

That question might be harder to answer than you might expect.

Slightly cheaper to produce and order than hard enamel, soft enamel pins are at the forefront of the enamel pin craze and can be found at gift shops, Etsy stores and corporations alike. However, the smooth finish of a hard enamel pin is more durable and the smooth finish has a much higher perceived value. Hard enamel pins have also seen a jump in popularity with recent fashion trends and are historically used for high-grade lapel pins, military pins and corporate pins. Meanwhile, die-struck pins give a uniquely vintage appearance that is especially popular with award pins or organizational pins.

As you can tell from the example above, the different textures, surfaces and colors can give each type of pin a very different look and feel. Ultimately, a choice between either of the three pin types is likely going to be decided more by your personal aesthetics and your specific design than anything else. All else fails, All About Pins offers unlimited free revisions on all our orders so you have a chance to test how pin might look under different designs before going to order.


Let All About Pins Help

Still can’t decide? Let us help! If you can’t decide which pin type would look best with your design, All About Pins has over a decade of experience working with artists, businesses, government agencies and national organizations to help you explore different options for your pin designs. Remember, after you request a free quote we send you a free art proof of your design with free revisions on any aspect of your custom pin.

Have a favorite pin? Tweet us and let us or show us on our Facebook page!

Your Guide to Ordering Custom Lapel Pins

Written on November 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm, by

Got artwork or logo you want made into a custom lapel pin? Never ordered custom pins from a company before? We’re All About Pins here and ready to help you through the process of designing and ordering custom lapel pins for your business, organization, sports team or online shop using our four-step process. This article will help guide you through our design and ordering process that takes your concepts and executes them into high-quality lapel pins.


Step One: Send Your Pin Ideas and Fill Our Online Form

The first part of getting your pins is easy, get in touch by calling, emailing us or filling our online form and send us your ideas and specifications for an order. If you’ve already got a design you want turned into a pin, simply send it to us in any file type we can view (.ai, .jpg, .gif, .png, .pdf etc.) If you have no design in mind and no idea where to start, that’s no problem. Our representatives will help individually guide you through the process of getting an original concept based on your company or organization.

At this step, the most important things are to set the basic criteria of your order such as how many pins you plan to order, how big you want those pins to be and what type of pin you want designed. Once you send us the basic criteria and an idea for your design, we’ll get back to you with a free full-color art proof of your design along with a projected price quote for your project.

Choosing a pin type

One of the important choices you’ll make at this stage is deciding what kind of pin you want. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider for each type of pin and some designs or color combinations are better suited for specific pin types.


The most popular pin types include:

  • Cloisonne pins – A type of hard enamel pin which fills the details of a stamped design with colored glass resin before being baked at high temperatures to give a durable and glossy jewel-like finish.
  • Soft enamel pins – Probably the first type of pin to come to mind when imagining enamel pins, soft enamel pins are very beginner-friendly and are best for designs with clearly separated colors.
  • Die-struck pins – Popular for awards and service pins, die-struck pins have simple metallic finishes that give their designs a classic look.


Quantity and Size

When filling out our form, you’ll be asked how many pins you want to be ordered and how big each pin will be. For most pin types, our minimum order size is 100 pins, but if you expect to sell or give out a large quantity, we recommend ordering at least 300 pins. Not only does this greatly decrease the cost per pin, but orders of 300 or more also allow you to save money on the mold setup fee.


As for size, the optimal size of a pin varies greatly on the complexity of a design and your own preferences but we recommend complex designs go to at least 1” for showing off a design’s details.

Step Two: Review, Revise and Approve

In 24 to 48 hours after receiving your information, we respond back with a full-color art proof of what your design would look like as a pin based on your specifications. At this stage, its a matter of looking over our work and deciding what works and what doesn’t.


Any aspect of the proof come out differently than you envisioned? Did you want to further customize the design? Now the fun begins! We offer free unlimited revisions to all our clients meaning you can shoot back any feedback on our work and our team of artists will make the requested changes before sending you a revised art proof of the design with the revisions. The right change can make all the difference and clients can ask us to revise anything in a pin’s design from the shape, colors, size, and paint. During this stage, it’s also an opportunity to test our other customizations including plating options, attachments, key chains or packaging.

Step Three: Complete the Order Form

Like what you see? Great! Just fill out our order form with your delivery address and payment information and once it’s processed we’ll immediately begin production which takes seven to 10 business days. We accept payment from all major credit card companies and it doesn’t matter how many revisions or changes you’ve asked us to make, the final price we quote will be the price of your order.

Step Four: Your Order Gets Shipped

This last part is really simple. After production, your pins are delivered within two to three days barring any major delivery disruption including large-scale fires, hurricanes, mudslides, apocalyptic alien invasions or the postal company loses the package.

Congratulations! Your order is now complete and we hope people love the final product.


With four simple steps, your ideas are now a physical pin you can wear with pride. If upon receiving your order, there are any problems with the pins or the final product is dramatically different from what was promised, shoot us a message immediately. All About Pins offers a satisfaction guarantee on all orders and will immediately rectify the issue by sending a new batch of pins.

School Pride

Written on September 21, 2017 at 3:17 pm, by


It’s fall, which means school is back in session. With kids back in their seats, quarters already coming to a close, and graduations to plan, there’s no better way to make your students feel appreciated than with custom lapel pins!

Every school feels proud of their accomplishments and students, and what better way to show off that pride than with a custom pin with your mascot, school logo, or anything that you feel represents your student body and faculty?

School pride lapel pins are fantastic for various events such as football games, graduations, teacher meet-and-greets, student rewards, and even more. Even better: If you choose to make your pins with us, we guarantee that your pins won’t break your budget. What’s better than quality rewards at an excellent price?

Lapel pins for your school can be any type. Colorful pins will be either soft enamel or cloisonne, and metal pins will be die struck. If you’re concerned with cost, we’re happy to work with you to find a design that’s both striking, appropriate, and fits into your school budget.

Ready to get started on a unique way to show your school pride? Go ahead and give us a call at 1-866-604-9462, or email us at Let us help you celebrate all that your school and students have accomplished!

Clearing Up Epoxy

Written on September 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm, by


When you’re creating custom lapel pins, whether as company rewards, party favors, or to get your artwork out into the world, it’s understandable to be a little concerned when doing a strictly digital transaction. Sure, the proof looks amazing (our talented designers will do nothing less for you), but how do you know that your pins will be of the same quality? How do you know that they won’t suffer damages in transit from the factory to you?

All of our pins come packaged by default in individual poly bags. This prevents the pins from running into one another and suffering from scratches and chips in the enamel. While our pins are always of the highest quality, let’s be honest: mail carriers are rough with packages in the name of efficiency. Without the protection of the small bags, there’s a very real chance that the hard metal could cause some damage to other pins in the batch.

We do offer other packaging options (to be discussed later! 🙂 ), but another way to ensure that your pins stay protected is to coat them with epoxy. This works well on several of our pin types. Epoxy coating is a type of resin that’s put over your design after it’s complete. It seals it in and gives your pin a smooth finish, not unlike cloisonne.

Due to the nature of our offset printed pins, epoxy comes on those by default. However, for our other pin types, it can be included by request. Since it’s clear, it doesn’t damage or change your design at all, and it provides you with the peace of mind that your pins are protected, regardless of what happens to your poly bags or printed cards, or how your mail carrier decides to abuse your package.

Curious if your pins would look good with epoxy? Want to add it to future designs? Feel free to contact us at 1-866-604-9462, or email us at, and we’ll be happy to discuss your options!

Make Your Pins Pop With Antiquing!

Written on September 5, 2017 at 2:41 pm, by


How are you die struck custom lapel pins looking? Shiny, right? They should, as die-struck pins have no color – they just show the metal plating!

However, we understand that sometimes, your pin just needs a little bit more. Sure, it’s great to have a piece of flair shining off of your lapel, or wherever you or your team choose to display your creations. Still, a lot of detail can get lost when you have nothing to look at but the plating. It’s suitable for some designs (such as special edition pins of another design), but sometimes, what you really need to make your pins pop is contrast.

Can we do that for you? Of course we can! All of our die struck lapel pins come with the option to be antiqued, which is exactly what it sounds like: we make your pin look older. This adds a strategic tarnish to your pin in order to capture details and add contrast and visual interest. If you have a lot of detail in your pin, this can give it an illustrative touch that will be sure to highlight and hone in on all the important features.

Antiquing also adds a level of class to your pin. If you’re getting these in a professional context, surely you expect your company to be around for the long haul, right? Think of your pins like an heirloom, passed down through generations in your company. These are rewards of the highest caliber, and your employees will be delighted to receive them.

There is a small fee for the antiquing process – just something to keep in mind. If you’d like to discuss your options for making your die struck lapel pins pop, give us a call at 1-866-604-9462, or email us at, and we’ll be happy to create a proof that dazzles you!

Pin Types: Offset Printed

Written on September 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm, by

pin158This past week, we’ve been shining some spotlight on our various pin types, and we’re almost at the end! Hopefully, all the information regarding our options is helpful, and clues you in as to which type of custom lapel pin is best for you!

Our last type is probably our least common, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a solid choice! Offset printed lapel pins give you the privilege of actually putting a photo directly on a pin. There’s no need to reimagine your concept as an illustration, which can be helpful if you’re trying to capture an exact likeness, or you aren’t quite sure how to convey what you want. A picture’s worth more words than anyone could type!

Offset printed pins go through somewhat of a different process than our other types. A piece of metal in the basic shape you want will be created, and from there, your photograph will be printed directly onto that metal. We include reference images of your photograph with your order so there are no mix-ups. Your colors and image will match perfectly to what’s provided.

After the pin is created, we coat each one with a protective epoxy coating. This is an option available on all of our pins, but we especially wouldn’t want your offset printed pin to scratch or chip. The epoxy is used to create a sealant to ensure that your photo stays vibrant and safe for years to come! It also gives your pin a smooth, jewel-like finish, unlike cloisonné.

Because of the unique process involved with offset printed pins, we do charge an additional fee for these orders. If you have any questions regarding the process (or why we need to charge that fee), go ahead and ask!

We’re always available to help you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding pin types, or you’d like to spitball and get some ideas floating around, feel free to contact us at 1-866-604-9462 or shoot us an email at!

Pin Types: Die Struck

Written on August 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm, by


Sometimes, no color is the best option for your custom lapel pins. Adding color can complicate your design and make it garish, and if you aren’t an artist, deciding on color schemes and matching colors can be a huge pain. Trust us: we understand.

If you’re looking for a strictly metal pin for your design or logo, you don’t have to worry about choosing the best option, or which of or types will best suit your company and pin. We’ve got an option just for you: die struck lapel pins.

If you think the difference between die struck lapel pins and other types is simply that die struck pins lack color, you’re absolutely right! A die struck pin includes creating your design as a mold and plating it with your metal of choice. Whether you’re into silver, gold, copper, or nickel, we’ve got you covered!

What are the benefits of choosing our die struck pins over one of our other types? Die struck pins have a certain elegance about them. They’re sleek, due to only being metal. They’re the perfect amount of accent or flair to your uniform or your suit.

If you’re an artist creating a limited run of pins, perhaps consider printing a few die struck pins! Your fans will love the chance to receive a special edition pin from you.

If you’re worried about your design being distinctive, we offer antiquing options for a small fee. Antiquing involves darkening the edges of your design, giving it an elegantly tarnished look. This adds contrast and ensures that your die struck pin will remain eye-catching!

If you have questions regarding whether your pin will work as a metal-only design, or you just want to discuss some options, give us a call at 1-866-604-9462, or email us at!

Pin Types: Cloisonné

Written on August 30, 2017 at 3:09 pm, by


If you’ve spent much time perusing our site, you’re probably aware that soft enamel pins aren’t the only type of custom lapel pins that we offer. We’ve got so many options that sometimes, they can be difficult and overwhelming to choose from! We want to make sure that the pin you create and receive is as close as possible to your original vision, but trust us – we understand the confusion.

Just as soft enamel pins aren’t the only type of custom pins we offer, they’re also not the only option for you if you’re dead-set on having a color pin. Cloisonné pins are just as versatile as soft enamel. You can take advantage of all of our extra options and features (such as glitter, gemstones, and more) while keeping the integrity and the style of your pin.

Cloisonné pins are also known as hard enamel. Just like soft enamel, the difference lies in the coloring process. Once your mold is stamped out, the enamel coloring fills all the way to the edges. This gives you a surface that’s smooth to the touch, with no ridges. It almost looks like jewelry! It’s pretty fancy and very expensive-looking – but don’t shake your head just yet! All of our pin options are affordable, and our proofs come to you without commitment. If you’re interested, don’t be afraid to ask us to mock up a cloisonné example for you!

Because of the style of cloisonné pins, they’re most appropriate for corporations, memorial events, and professional clients – or if you just want a pin that looks classy and sleek! Our cloisonné pins are stylish, and the smooth surface is resistant to scratching.

Interested in producing your own pin, but you’re a little unsure of how to do it? We’re here to help you! Give us a call at 1-866-604-9462, or email us at, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have!

Pin Types: Soft Enamel

Written on August 29, 2017 at 1:28 pm, by


We get it: we have a ton of different pin types to choose from. Even if you’re not new to the custom lapel pin business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – especially when the different types seem so similar. It’s all paint on metal, right? Why the need for so many distinctions?

Today, we’ll focus on soft enamel pins. Soft enamel lapel pins are probably our most popular type, and that’s not surprising! Soft enamel offers clients a classy, elegant lapel pin, and it costs less to produce than other types. That means you’ll receive a great-looking pin for a bargain price, and you won’t have to sacrifice a professional look to do it.

How are soft enamel pins created? For starters, all of our pins start out as molds in our factory. Our factories take your designs and create a mold. “Soft enamel” actually refers to the coloring process.

When your mold is created, the picture is created in a series of recesses and edges. The edges are the outline of your design – and also why we have to “separate” colors with what appears to be a border of metal. Soft enamel pins are colored by dropping paint into the recesses of your pin. If you’ve ever gotten a transparent “suncatcher,” or painted one yourself, the process is pretty similar!

When the pin is done, you’ll be able to feel the edges of your design. The outline will feel like ridges, and the design will not be smooth to the touch. However, that doesn’t mean that your pin will be scratched, or that the paint will be ineffective. Your pin will come out beautifully – and at a fraction of the cost for other types. This is a fantastic pin type for schools, small businesses, or any type of organization on a budget!

As always, if you have any issues with your produced pin, or you’re anxious to get started, contact us at 1-866-604-9462, or by email at! We offer free setup and molds, and we’re happy to discuss which pin type would be most effective for your design. We look forward to hearing from you!

Pin Emergency!

Written on August 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm, by


Regardless of what purpose you use your custom lapel pins for, you’re sure to run into this problem eventually: running out of pins! If you’re an artist or an illustrator running your own small (or large!) business, this is bad news. How are you going to keep your business afloat when you’ve sold out of your most popular product? If your pins are for an event, such as a school graduation or a charity, it can be a hassle to go through the design process year after year to make sure you have enough pins.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to!

Did you know that we keep comprehensive records of artwork we’ve done for our clients and that the factories we work with keep your physical molds on hand for two years after you purchase? This makes the reorder process incredibly easy.

It may seem like you need to go through the free quote form every time you want to get an order started, even if it’s a design we’ve already mocked up for you previously. However, this actually slows down our process, and we can get you that order link and confirmed reorder link to you if you just reorder from us directly. It’s a shortcut, and it means your replenished inventory will be on your doorstep that much quicker.

The next time you need to stock up on a pin you’ve ordered previously, just shoot us an email at regarding it. If you have a previous quote email on hand or an invoice, that’s just extra credit, and it can help us find your original design faster.

From there, the reorder process is the same. You’ll receive a link from us that will take you to the order form, and all you have to do is fill it out with the information that we give you. Once it’s processed, you’ll have the standard lead time until your pins arrive, just as they did the first time! It’s easy!

If you’d like to get started on a reorder of your old pins, or you have a new design you’d like to discuss with you, we’re always ready for it! Email us at the above address, or give us a call at 1-866-604-9462 and we can get started on that for you!