What Is The Difference Between Hard And Soft Enamel Pins?

Posted by Craig Davidiuk on 1/31/19 11:15 AM

 The main difference between these two lapel pin types is that the hard enamel process fills the pin level to the surface with paint.  Soft enamel pins coat the base metal only and use lot less paint. Soft enamel costs less as well. 








Soft Enamel Pin Advantages And Limitations

The main advantage to the soft enamel pin process is the ability to dye the base metal any colour. This has been the biggest innovation in our industry in our 47 year history. For this reason a lot of artists and designers prefer this process


Use Soft Enamel When.....

If you are enamel pin designer who is seeking higher margins in your online store,  pick this process. Company logo pins and sport trading pins are also common users of the soft enamel process.


Use Hard Enamel When....

If your application is for years service programs or corporate promotion,  go for the hard enamel if you can afford it. There is defiantly a "wow" factor with the hard enamel process and it avoids any perception of being "cheap". Pins are comparatively cheap to other award products like plaques and trophies.


Both Made With Die Struck Process

Both hard and soft enamel pins are made using the "Die Struck" process. That means we stamp them out of metal. Your design is engraved into a steel mold. Then a strip of zinc alloy is placed over top of the mold and a hydraulic press applies thousands of pounds of pressure so that its rendered with crisp and clean lines. Soft and hard enamel pins are stamped the same way: The Die Struck Process. 

Die Struck Lapel Pin Manufacturing Photo


Both Coloured Using Liquid Epoxy

 Once that is done, we decorate your pins. There are two ways in which we add colour to your customized pins. A liquid epoxy paint is injected into your pins.Either hard enamel or soft enamel. They both dry quite hard but on the soft enamel version the paint is much thinner. Hard enamel pins are made with the paint level with the surface. 

Hard Enamel Being Applied to Custom Pins

Soft enamel pins are about 40% cheaper that hard enamel pins depending on the quantity you buy. They use less paint, less metal and weigh less so shipping costs are lower.
So it boils down to personal preference. Chances are the pin recipient, won't be able to tell the difference. 


Art Can Decide Process For You

Sometimes you are forced to use one process over the other because of the art.  For example, black dyed nickel (the most popular electroplate with artists) is only available in soft enamel. 

If you want to silkscreen  details over epoxy or require engraved numbers or text, you might have to use the hard enamel process.  


Our advice: don't get your heart set on one process over they other until you talk to us first. 


Free Enamel Pin Design Course And Tips




Tags: die struck pins, enamel pins, cloisonné pins, hard enamel pins, enamel pin trend, Custom Lapel Pins, DIY Enamel Pin Design


About The Author


Craig Davidiuk has been in the promotional products his entire life. His family owned and operated a pin factory until 2002 and he eventually took over the company in 2012. He also has a diploma in Media Resources from Capilano University. Today his company is one of the leading suppliers of custom pins, medals and swag in Western Canada.

He is a father of one son with his wife, Courtney. Craig enjoys skiing, mountain biking, DJing, playing saxophone and world travel.  The Davidiuk family resides in 100 Mile House, BC. 


Get a quote for enamel pins