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What's the difference between hard and soft enamel?

One of the most common questions that we get asked about our custom enamel pins service is what the differences are between our soft and hard enamel pins. So, we thought we'd take this opportunity to clear this up once and for all and hopefully put you in a better position to decide which style is best for you.

What is an enamel pin?

Enamel pins are essentially metal pins or badges made up of two main elements. Plated metal and enamel paint.

To make an enamel pin, we take your artwork and create a die which is used to stamp your design into a sheet of high quality metal, which is then cut out around the outline of your design.

The cut out shape is then plated in a choice of finishes; gold, silver, gun metal grey and black being the most popular, before raised areas are polished to a quality finish and recesses are filled with enamel paint.

Each colour sits in its own recess with raised metal areas acting as a barrier, surrounding each colour and preventing them from mixing together.

Soft Enamel Pins

Soft enamel pins are often referred to as budget pins as they are cheaper to produce than hard enamel pins. This makes them perfect for charity fund raising events and promotional giveaways.

During the enameling process a single layer of enamel paint is applied into the recessed areas of your pin designs.

Once the paint dries it sits lower than the surrounding areas of raised metal which acts as barriers, preventing the different colours from mixing into each other.

If you rub your thumb across the surface of a soft enamel pin you will feel the raised metal ridges that separate each different coloured area.

Although hard wearing, soft enamel pins are not as durable as hard enamel pins simply due to the finishing process that the enamel goes through.

Hard Enamel Pins

Our hard enamel pins are one of the most durable quality pins available.

Multiple layers of enamel paint are applied into the recessed areas of your pins until they sit level with the surrounding areas of raised metal, which acts as a barrier, preventing the different enamel colours from mixing into each other.

If you rub your thumb across the surface of a hard enamel pin the surface will be smooth and completely flat, giving the same high quality look as cloisonné pins but with a much greater choice of colours.

The enamel colours of a hard enamel pin are set at a high temperature which makes them extremely hard wearing. Finally, the pin is polished to a lustrous finish, providing you with a quality finished product.

Click here to view our full range of enamel pins.