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 Paint Tool SAI.

Important - Colour Management

Please note that Paint Tool SAI can only create documents in RGB colour whereas we only print in CMYK colour.

A quick search on the internet for 'the difference between RGB and CMYK' will provide you with a wealth of information on this subject, but we wanted to make you aware that the colours of your designs on screen will be different to the colours of your final printed products.

The image below shows the RGB palette on the left and the same palette converted to CMYK on the right. RGB colours appear vivid with bright blues and greens. CMYK in comparison appear flatter with slightly duller colours.

We convert all Paint Tool SAI images from RGB to CMYK before printing so do remember to bear these colour differences in mind. Always remember to order samples if you require any colour accuracy or if you are unsure or feel that you may be unhappy with these colour changes.

1. Download our templates

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

Download our Paint Tool SAI 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 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.


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

This layer contains the blue borders which your design and cutline must sit inside, our logo and a brief description of the template size that you are using. DO NOT USE THIS LAYER.

'Artwork' Layer
All pin artwork 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 charms 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
Place the hole template over your artwork to show us where you would like your hole to be placed. The dotted red line represents the recommended distance that your hole should be placed INSIDE of your design.


3. Importing your designs

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

4. Adding a layer of white

To guarantee bright and crisp colours for your artwork you'll 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.

You will now need to inset (shrink) your selection by 1 pixel to prevent any areas of white from showing around the edge of your charms once they've been printed. To do this invert your selection SELECTION > INVERT, your selection should look like the image below...

With your selection inverted, use the increment option SELECTION > INCREMENT once to inset your selection before inverting the selection again SELECTION > INVERT.

Click on the RGB slider in your colour & tool panel and create a Cyan colour (R:000 G:255 B:255)

Select the 'Bucket' tool and click inside your selection to fill the selection Cyan.

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.

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 result. mistakes can not be rectified once your charms have been printed.

5a. Adding a border / cut line - Important!

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, CTRL click on your Artwork Layer to select all of the elements of that layer. Select your 'Cut Area' layer and use the Increment function to increase your selection by the required amount.

A slightly quicker way to do this is by using the shortcut ALT+S followed immediately by the 1 key.


Using the Bucket fill the selection black. This colour will not be printed, it's simply for our designers to use as a guide when creating your cut line.

TIP - Use the Eraser tool to round off any square edges of your cutline silhouette and the Brush tool to cover any areas missed by the 'fill'command.

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 from the front once your pin has been constructed.

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

7. Submission checklist

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

  • Your artwork fits inside of the blue borders.
  • Your white base layer is Cyan and located on the 'White' Layer (Step 4a.)
  • 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 charm template contains 1 charm only. Additional charms will be sent separately.

8. Saving your designs

To save your design follow these simple steps...

File > Save As > Photoshop (.psd).
Please make sure your file name includes your name, order number & charm number ie. - 'JoeBloggs_123456_pin1'

Email your designs along with your order number to



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