Posted in Tutorials by on Jun 8th, 2018

This tutorial contains everything you need to know about creating your own custom wooden pin designs using Adobe Photoshop.

1. Download our templates

To start submitting your wooden pin designs you'll need to download our design templates. Templates are available in 6 different sizes ranging from 15mm to 40mm.

Download our Photoshop templates here and open your chosen size.

Each template comes with a working area where you will import or create your designs. Please make sure that your artwork and cutline silhouette fits INSIDE of the blue borders. Bleed can run over into the blue border (see step 5b for info on bleed).

2. Understanding our layers

Opening the template, you will notice that there are 5 layers in your Layers palette. If you can't see the Layers palette, hit F7 to make it appear.

IMPORTANT - Please don't rename existing layers or create additional layers as this will confuse our systems when processing your designs.

If you have used any effects / layer styles on any of your layers you MUST flatten them before saving. To do this simply right click on the applicable layer and select 'Rasterize Layer Style' from the menu.

'Office Use Only' Layer

This layer contains the blue borders which your design and cutline silhouette MUST sit inside. This layer is locked and should not be used.

'Artwork' Layer
All pin artwork and bleed (see 5b) should be placed on this layer.

'White' Layer
Adding a base layer of white to your designs will make your colours crisper and more vivid. Use this layer to tell us exactly where you would like this layer of white to go.

Cut Area Layer
Use this layer to show us EXACTLY where you want your pin designs to be cut. We'll use this information to create a path which will then be used to create a cut line for our laser cutters.

'Fixing Template' Layer
Drag and drop the fixing template from this layer onto your artwork to show us where you would like your pin fixing to be placed. Make sure the fixing completely fits inside of your design.

3. Importing your designs

Select the 'Artwork' layer in your layers palette and either draw your design directly onto this layer or, simply copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) previously saved artwork.

4a. Adding a layer of white

To guarantee bright and crisp colours for your artwork, you will need to add a white base layer to your designs. This white layer will sit behind your artwork.

To create your white base layer simply hold down the 'CTRL' key and click on the thumbnail of your 'Artwork' layer. This will select all of the elements of your artwork layer.

Inset your selection by 2 pixels using SELECT > MODIFY > CONTRACT and enter the value of 2 in the pop up 'Contract Selection' window.

Insetting your white layer by 2 pixels will prevent any areas of white from showing around the edge of your charms.

Now go to EDIT > FILL (Shift & F5) and select the 'Color' option from the 'Content' drop down menu.

Choose 100% Cyan as your colour (C:100 M:0 Y:0 K:0)

Click 'OK' and 'OK' again. You should now have a Cyan silhouette of your original artwork, placed on your 'White' layer

Be aware that contracting your selection in this manner can have an effect on the pixels selected. Always zoom in on areas with fine details such as strands of hair or small point text and check that you are happy with the results.

You may decide to only contract your selection by 1 pixel if you have a lot of fine or intricate areas in your designs.

Please remember that we always recommend ordering samples before committing to large print runs, so that you can check that you are happy with the results. Mistakes can not be rectified once your charms have been printed.

4b. Identifying unwanted areas of coloured & white ink

Using soft brushes in Photoshop can result in unwanted, low opacity pixels causing issues around the edges of your artwork.

These pixels can be invisible to the eye but get picked up by our printers, which print ALL pixels on your white layer, no matter how low their opacity, as 100% white. This can cause unwanted areas of white ink around the edges of your finished charms as well as printed areas that you may have overlooked.

A simple way to check your artwork for low opacity pixels is to click on your white layer, select the paint bucket tool and fill the background black. Repeat these steps on your Artwork layer to check for low opacity pixels.

The paint bucket will fill all areas of the background except where there are any low opacity pixels. These can then be easily identified and removed using the selection and eraser tools.

IMPORTANT - Please remember to undo the black paint bucket fill before submitting your designs.

5a. Adding a border / cut line

Show us where you would like your wooden pins to be cut out by creating a black silhouette on your 'Cut Line' layer.

To create your cut line silhouette simply copy your artwork onto the cutline layer. Select the 'Lock Transparent Pixels' icon

Use the 'Fill' command (SHIFT+F5) or EDIT > FILL to fill the area black. This colour will not be printed, it's simply for our designers to use as a guide when creating your cut line.

5b. Adding Bleed

If your artwork goes right up to the edge of your cut line or if you would like a coloured border, you will need to add at least 1mm of bleed (colour that extends past the cutline) to your designs to prevent any unprinted edges from showing on your finished pins.

Here is an example of our design with bleed added. The red line represents our cut line.

Extending the colour of the design past the cut line will help to minimise visible unprinted edges as a result of any minor misalignments during the printing and cutting process.

Please don't rename existing layers or create additional layers as this will confuse our systems when processing your designs.

If you have used any effects / layer styles on any of your layers you MUST flatten them before saving. To do this simply right click on the applicable layer and select 'Rasterize Layer Style' from the menu.

6. Fixing Template

The fixing template is basically a 10mm circle which, when dropped over your design, will show us where you would like us to attach your metal pin, turning your artwork into a functional lapel pin.

Wherever you decide to position your pin, just make sure all of the 10mm circle sits INSIDE of your pin artwork so that it won't be visible once your pin has been constructed.

Please don't merge the fixing template with your design as we'll need to remove this before printing so that it's not visible on your finished designs.

7. Submission checklist

Congratulations, you've finished creating your custom pin designs! All you have to do now is check the following before submission...

  • Your artwork and cut silhouette fits INSIDE of the blue borders.
  • Your white base layer is 100% Cyan and located on the 'White' Layer (Step 4a.)
  • You have checked for unwanted elements using the steps at 4b.
  • The fixing template has NOT been grouped or merged with the rest of your design.
  • Bleed of at LEAST 1mm has been added where designs go right to the edge of the cut line.
  • All text has been converted to outlines.
  • Your pin template contains 1 design only. Additional designs will be sent separately.

8. Saving your designs

To save your design follow these simple steps...

File > Save As > Photoshop (*PSD;*PDD).
Please make sure your file name includes your name, order number & charm number ie. - JoeBloggs_123456_woodenpin1.psd

Email your designs along with your order number to


Subscribe to our RSS Feed or simply recommend us to friends and colleagues!


No comments yet...