When deciding the process (manufacturing method) of your custom lapel pins, please be questionable of what many claim to be the lowest cost or make the mistake of thinking the highest cost is the best. Most often this decision will greatly depend on your intended design because not every process is possible with all designs. Overall Epola hard enamel will give you the finest quality pins found anywhere! The vast majority of collectible pins such as Disney pins, Olympic pins, Pro Sports (NFL, NBA etc.)pins , Hard Rock Cafe and so many other Licensed pins are made of the Epola process.
US Pin charges the same for any of the most popular processes. If unsure of the process to utilize, send us your art for our recommendation and quote.
Cloisonné Custom Pins
Cloisonné is the original method of producing pins. For a cloisonné pin, your design is imprinted into the base metal, providing depth and creating a jewelry-like effect. The colors are separated by a fine metal line, usually in gold or silver, depending on the base metal color, which both prevents the colors from flowing together and helps to draw out the appearance of the colors. For a cloisonné pin, we would refer to our AOKI chart of approx. 150 colors to choose those that most accurately match your design. The pins have a semi-smooth finish and are exceptionally durable, making them the longest lasting pin choice. However, with cloisonné pins, there are natural flaws in the enamels. This is to be expected, and is by no means a flaw in the manufacturing process.
Epola Custom Pins
Epola, often called Imitation Hard Enamel or Imitation Cloisonné, is much like original cloisonné -and is our specialty. The base metal is raised as fine lines to separate the colors so they will not flow together and provides contrast in the design, as does the cloisonné. Also similar to cloisonné, epola has a hard, glasslike, jewelry type appearance and provides a smooth, shiny, finish. With an epola pin, there are nearly 1000 vibrant colors to choose from, making it much easier to match the colors exactly to your design. Unlike cloisonné, the colors are even and regular, without any inherent flaws in the enamel. Epola is a great choice for simple to moderately detailed designs, and will convey your design with better detail and sharpness than traditional cloisonné. Epola has become the most popular type of pin today, due to the various array of possibilities it provides in creating the perfect custom pin.
Soft Enamel pins are similar in appearance to original cloisonné pins or Epola in that they are also made by imprinting your design into a base metal. With soft enamel, there are 100’s of colors to choose from to match the specifications of your design. Rather than a flat finish, the surface of soft enamel pins can be coated in a epoxy glaze, which is a clear coating that forms a slight “dome” over the surface of the pin as a means of protecting the finish. Since the enamel colors are soft, they are more susceptible to fading and scratching, which is why the epoxy glaze is highly recommended with this type of pin. The coating will protect the colors, although it too may scratch when in contact with hard surfaces such as other pins, keys, etc, or from excessive handling.
Photo Etching Custom Pins
With a photo etched pin, your design is etched into brass and filled with soft enamel color. These are a slightly thinner pin, making them more lightweight, which is great for larger pins with very fine details. The outer shape of a photo etched pin cannot be cut quite as sharp, so they tend to be a more rounded pin. Epoxy glaze protects the finish of these pins.
Die Struck/Stamp Custom Pins
These pins are made as a medal is of just the base metal color usually of gold or silver plating. Optional is sandblasting, brushed finish or antiquing. They are produced by stamping your design into the metal, similar to embossing. With the raised areas polished and the recessed areas sandblasted a rich looking pin with great contrast is the result. Die struck/stamp is a good choice for a classy pin with few or no enamel colors.
Silkscreen Custom Pins
Silkscreen pins are not as thick nor as heavy as Cloisonné or Epola. Unlike the other methods, they are created by transferring your design onto the surface of the base metal. They also do not have lines separating the colors, and therefore can be more detailed. You may choose whether you would like an epoxy coating to protect the finish. Silkscreen is a good choice if a very thin, lightweight pin is desired.
Photo Print Custom Pins
Photo Print is an ideal process if you are looking to have a photograph or logo transformed into a pin design. Photo Print provides for blending of colors, gradients, and shading of colors, as well as complex designs. They are similar to the silkscreen pins, yet not as thin. It is a good choice for photo-type pins and those designs in which base metal lines separating the colors would not be practical. Since it is a “photograph type” pin, there is no extra charge for a large number of colors.