Pin With Style: How to Make a Custom Lapel Pin

By  //  August 15, 2022

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The right pin can say a thousand words. Supporting sports teams, leading social movements, or just promoting your rock band is as simple as snapping on a pin and wearing it proudly as you make your way through the world.

There are plenty of pins to be found in shops and online stores, but what if you want to make a custom lapel pin from scratch? Unless you’re already an experienced crafter, it might not be so intuitive. 

Let’s walk through the process to create custom lapel pins quickly without having to build your own workshop, spend thousands on equipment, or master the art of pinmaking yourself. You’ll be surprised how quick and easily you can bring your perfect pin to life.

Start with a Design

Every great pin begins with a simple yet effective design that translates well from a 2D image. There are a few parameters you must follow to make sure the design is suitable for a lapel pin format, or else your final product will fall short.

As a general rule, simplicity wins in the world of pins, especially if you choose a classic enamel production style. Keep the design minimal without too many fine lines and details, while still maintaining the essence of the shapes and shading.

The best way to create a design is to reference other pins in your collection or browse images online for inspiration. You’ll see patterns that will point you in the right direction and ensure your final design is a winner the first time around.

Choose Production Method

Modern pin production is fast, accurate, and affordable, but you’ll need to pick a format when placing your order. Working with a trusted manufacturer will give you the option to select from soft enamel, hard enamel, silk screen, die struck, or offset printed pins.

Each technique delivers slightly different results in terms of look and feel. 

For example, hard enamel pins have a smooth surface, while soft enamel has that old-school feel with recessed areas throughout. Printed pins are under a clear epoxy dome and deliver a different look and feel altogether. 

Make sure you know what these pin styles mean, predict how they will look with your chosen design, and account for factors like feel and texture as well. 

Plating and Backing

You’re already more than halfway to building your perfect pin, but there’s still a few decisions to make. Your next move is to pick a plating option which will form the foundation of your final product. This will impact the appearance of your pin, especially with soft enamel variants.

Top producers give you more than enough plating options to choose from, ranging from classics like antique silver and copper (with just the right amount of patina) to polished precious metal imitations and even shiny bright colors.

This opens up the playing field for eye-catching designs that you just could produce at home. If you have questions about how certain types of backing will impact the appearance of your pin, don’t hesitate to reach out to the producer and get the info you need.

You’ll also have the chance to choose a pin backing that matches the vibe of the pin. More formal options like butterfly or deluxe clutch will create a premium feel, while rubber backings are a more fast and affordable option.

Sizing and Packaging

As you move towards the finish line, your pin needs just a few more tweaks. One is critically important – the size. It may not sound like much, but there’s a significant difference between a one-inch diameter pin and a two inch. 

In the three inch category, you have far more surface area to work with, and certain designs won’t map as well to the bigger format. 

This isn’t to discourage you from submitting the design you want. Just know what sizes work best with particular shapes and details and choose accordingly!

From there, you’ll get to choose from a handful of packaging options depending on how you wish to present your final product. Standard plastic baggies are usually the compliemtary option, but you can upgrade to acrylic cases, velvet bags, and more, if you so choose.

Payment, Fulfillment, and More

It’s nearly time to submit your order and get the production process underway. But before you do so, be sure to run the numbers – both financially and schedule-wise – to see how much it will cost and the expected timeframe for delivery.

Every manufacturer has a different production capacity and limitations, but in general you can save money by ordering more pins at once and not rushing production. If you plan to sell or distribute these pins for a profit, find out what it will take to make your money back or how it fits into your budget.

With this guide, you can submit a perfect pin design in less than an hour! That’s how you get the pin process underway with no stress.