History of Lapel Pins Part Two – How They Are Made

by | May 13, 2022 | Custom Pins, Custom Pins and Coins

History of Lapel Pins Part Two - How They Are Made

History of Lapel Pins Part Two – How They Are Made

Today’s custom lapel pins are miniature works of art. Manufacturing advancements help producers capture and communicate the design elements that commemorate a special event, product, or brand to be cherished as a meaningful memento. At Galaxy Design Squad, we’re excited about every step of the journey and are delighted to give our clients a behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating design process of lapel pins.

Form Fits Function 

To craft the perfect custom lapel pin, it’s essential to understand that there are a variety of styles, and depending on the desired look of the finished piece or what it’s intended for, production elements can vary. For example, hard enamel pins will have a different manufacturing process than soft enamel pins, as some strategies are more suitable for one design over another. Following is a general behind-the-scenes look at how we make your vision come to life!

Create the Design 

The first step in creating a lapel pin is to perfect your artistic vision! Our experienced designers explain the different options available to make your piece even more incredible and then create a digital design for your review so you can see it come to life.

Make the Mold 

Once you’re thrilled with your design, we transfer its digital file to a CNC machine that uses an automated process to carve the image into a solid metal block using a tiny drill bit. This mold is then used for pouring or pressing the pieces.

Stamp the Design & Cut Out the Pin 

After the mold is created and checked for precision, it’s either poured with molten zinc or “stamped” into a sheet of brass, zinc, or iron – depending on the finished design. Stamped pins are cut from the metal sheets, and the edges of each pin are trimmed and polished smooth. If pins are to be hard enamel, the pin post is incorporated into the mold, with soft enamel pin posts being adhered through a separate process.

Electroplate (Soft Enamel Pins) 

Electroplating is a process that uses a chemical solution to alter the color of the metal used for the blank pins. Pins are washed and dipped into a series of solution “baths” that can change the color finish of the metal to be gold, silver, copper, or black nickel. For example, if your finished piece will be a soft enamel lapel pin, the pin blanks are dipped before any color is added.

Enamel and Bake 

Adding color pigments to a pin is a multi-step process that results in a precise image and a durable finish. First, enamel paint is applied either by hand with small syringes or by machine. Then, depending on the application (glitter color fills, for example), pins must be baked at high temperatures between colors to cure fully.

Process for Soft Enamel 

The manufacturing processes vary slightly depending on whether your design includes a soft enamel or hard enamel finish. With soft enamel lapel pins, a mold is created using your desired metal, pin blanks are cleaned and polished, metal color is applied with electroplating, and finally, enamel color is added to the piece.

Process for Hard Enamel 

When the finished pin is hard enamel, pigments are added to fill the surface of the pins after polishing, but before they are ground flush with the metal edges, creating a smooth surface.

Polish (Hard Enamel Pins) 

Hard enamel pins include an intense polishing process, where each pin is applied with pressure against a polishing wheel to buff both the enamel and metal for a gleaming, jewelry-like shine. 

Electroplate (Hard Enamel Pins) 

If your lapel pin is designed with a hard enamel finish in mind, it’s at this time that electroplating can customize the preferred color of the exposed metal. Then, a series of baths will change the metal finish to match the original design.

Screen Printing 

Silk Screen printing is a process that allows for small bits of color to be added to specific areas of the pin’s surface after it’s complete for applying extra-fine details. This color application is applied from a stamp directly onto the surface of each pin, which is then inspected for accuracy.

Quality Check 

Every pin you order is inspected for accuracy in design, color placement, enamel and metal finishes, and overall quality before being individually packaged. So, no matter the quantity of your order, you can expect perfection from the first piece to the last.

Bring Your Design to Life with Galaxy Design Squad

Helping our clients create the custom lapel pin of their dreams inspires us to bring our best to each and every order. We’re dedicated to combining years of creative experience with advancements in design and manufacturing to make sure your vision can become an even better reality. Are you interested in getting the Galaxy Design Squad Team behind your next custom pin project? Contact us today to get started!

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