By Craig Davidiuk - 12 August, 2020

Designing Enamel Pins: Assigning Base Metal And Painted Areas

Due to the complex nature of die-struck lapel pin...

By Craig Davidiuk - 27 July, 2020

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Electroplating

Enamel pin designers, take note. Many of you are leaving an...

By Craig Davidiuk - 23 July, 2020

Bronze, Silver, Gold and PINK? Electroplating Explained [video]

Electroplating is a complex process is used extensively in...

By Craig Davidiuk - 09 July, 2020

How To Make Enamel Pins

The Lapel Pin Manufacturing Process Explained Follow a pin...

By Craig Davidiuk - 29 June, 2020

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Pin Backs

There has never been more choices for the back of your pin....

By Craig Davidiuk - 21 May, 2020

How To Design Enamel Pins, Step By Step Guide

Our step by step guide walks you through the process to...

By Craig Davidiuk - 29 April, 2020

Custom Years Of Service Pin Program Guide

It's more important than ever to stay connected to your...

By Craig Davidiuk - 29 April, 2020

Enamel Pin Design Template

Our enamel pin template offers tips and tricks for...

By Craig Davidiuk - 21 April, 2020

Finishing Guide For Enamel Pins & Custom Medals

Whenever you buy pins or medals you'll have to select the...

By Courtney Driver - 21 April, 2020

Hard Enamel vs Soft Enamel Pins: What Is The Difference?

The main difference between these two lapel pin types is...

By Craig Davidiuk - 06 November, 2019

4 Tips For Designing Custom Puzzle Pins

The most sought after sport trading pin by any trader at...

By Craig Davidiuk - 18 October, 2019

Custom Enamel Pins .....No Minimum.

One of the top searches that helps people find our site is...

By Craig Davidiuk - 16 October, 2019

DIY Enamel Pin Design: What Size Do I Make My Enamel Pin?

The amount of text and detail on a pin usually decides the...

By Craig Davidiuk - 10 October, 2019

Powering Over Pain At World Transplant Games

Patriotic Pins Help Boost Athlete's Morale Robbie Thompson...

By Craig Davidiuk - 12 September, 2019

The Silly Season: Deadlines You Need To Know About

In our business, TIMING is everything. Please review two...

By Craig Davidiuk - 20 August, 2019

The Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Enamel Pins

After nearly 5 decades in the custom enamel pin business,...

By Craig Davidiuk - 07 June, 2019

Designing Enamel Pins Without Paint

A lot of enamel pin designers are leaving the most...

By Craig Davidiuk - 21 May, 2019

Custom Race Medals And Runs For The Cure Medals.

Take a moment to learn about our experience in creating and...

By Craig Davidiuk - 06 May, 2019

Sandblasting & Engraving Textures

Custom sport medals usually showcase a lot of exposed...

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

5 Design Tips For Custom Medals

The beautiful thing about custom medals is that you can...

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

What Size Should I Make My Medals?

How do you create medals that look and feel like the...

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

Attaching Medals To Neck Ribbons

There are two ways to attach your ribbon to the medal. With...

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

Stock Ribbon Choices For Medals

Our company offers three different ways to attach your...

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

Full Colour Ribbons For Medals

We feel the ribbon is almost as important as the medal....

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

Customized Logo Lanyards

Lanyards are one of the most versatile promotional products...

By Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

What Are My Choices for Custom Printed Lanyard Attachments?

Custom printed lanyards offer you more versatility and...

By Craig Davidiuk - 01 May, 2019

Custom Lanyard Badge Holders & ID Badges

When ordering custom printed lanyards, the lanyard is only...

By Craig Davidiuk - 01 May, 2019

Custom Printed Lanyards Buyers Guide

Recent Order By The Flash TV Show In Vancouver Trade Shows...

By Craig Davidiuk - 01 May, 2019

Customizing & Engraving Medal Backs

When purchasing custom sport medals, there are a zillion...

By Craig Davidiuk - 23 April, 2019

What Are The Different Types Of Custom Lapel Pins?

The first you need to make when purchasing custom enamel...

By Craig Davidiuk - 18 April, 2019

What is the difference between 2D and 3D Engraving?

Adding curved or three dimensional elements to your medal...

By Craig Davidiuk - 01 February, 2019

World Paranordics Medal Supplier Prince George 2019

----October 25th, 2018, For Immediate Release--- Ultimate...

By Craig Davidiuk - 31 January, 2019

7 Things To Look For When Selecting Enamel Pin Manufacturers

The word “quality” is very subjective. Using photos online...

By Craig Davidiuk - 31 January, 2019

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Silk Screen Enamel Pins

Silk screen enamel pins help you overcome the most common...

By Craig Davidiuk - 12 January, 2019

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Vectorizing Art In Adobe Illustrator

This video is for artists who want to create enamel pins...

By Craig Davidiuk - 06 November, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Before & After

In this enamel pin tutorial screencast, we dive into the...

By Craig Davidiuk - 31 October, 2018

Custom Lapel Pin Design: Cheat Sheet

Our cheat sheet offers tips and tricks. Be sure to dig into...

By Craig Davidiuk - 30 October, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Illustrator Swipe File

Direct from the desk of our design team, this illustrator...

By Craig Davidiuk - 27 September, 2018

How Do I Specify Colours On Enamel Pin Designs? [Colour Matching...

We haven't come up with a way to see the colours inside...

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 September, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Design 101: Screencast

This is the video that started it all! Three years ago we...

By Craig Davidiuk - 15 August, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Designer Master Class

To say that the enamel pin trend has had an impact on our...

By Craig Davidiuk - 15 August, 2018

Custom Employee Recognition Pins

It's more important than ever to stay connected to your...

By Craig Davidiuk - 15 August, 2018

Corporate Anniversary Pins, Years Service Pins and Volunteer Pins

It’s important to mark milestones in any organization....

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 August, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Clear Enamel

Do you want unique looking enamel pins? One of the most...

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 August, 2018

DIY Enamel Pins Design: Textures

Metal pins without paint offer a whole host of creative...

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 August, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Colour Matching

Color matching is one of the more challenging concepts that...

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 August, 2018

Understanding Logo Imprinting

Another topic that baffles our customers is the imprinting...

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 August, 2018

What Is Vector Art?

Vector art is the preferred graphics file format in the...

By Craig Davidiuk - 13 August, 2018

DIY Enamel Pin Design: Glitter

The hottest trend in Enamel Pin design is definitely...

How To Make Enamel Pins

Posted by Craig Davidiuk - 09 July, 2020

The Lapel Pin Manufacturing Process Explained

Follow a pin from concept to completion and view the 8 steps required to make enamel pins!

  • Step 1: Creating A Stamping Mold
  • Step 2: Create A Trimming Die
  • Step 3: Stamping
  • Step 4: Trimming
  • Step 5: Electroplating
  • Step 6: Enamel
  • Step 7: Buffing 
  • Step 8: Finishing




Once you learn the steps that your art goes through to become a pin, you’ll get a better sense of enamel pin design.

Pin design is VERY different from designing for print or web. We create a 3d piece of metal stamped with your art and then electroplate it and then hand paint it.  After this article,  you'll be better equipped to use the base metal in your designs and design nicer lapel pins. 


Step 1: Creating A Stamping Mold

Most enamel pins are made using the die-struck manufacturing process. This process requires a stamping mold so that your pin design is stamped into zinc metal. In most cases this process takes about 2-3 days to complete. 

how pins are made-stamping


The mold itself is made from specialized industrial steel. We use CNC manufacturing technology that engraves your design backwards in the steel. This process is time consuming and most stamping molds require around 10 hours to make. When you pay a setup fee, this is what you are paying for.  This is also the reason that 25-50pc pin orders are expensive to make. For a pin factory, it takes the same time to prepare for a 50pc order as it does 5000pc. 


Step 2:Tool and Die

A “tool and die” is required so that your pins can be trimmed after stamping the design into a metal strip.  The “tool” is the outline of your pin. And the “die” is used to remove the excess metal from the pin blank. This part of the process is time consuming and slow. Remember we have not even made a pin yet!

how pins are made: tool and die



Step 3: Stamping

Now that the mold, tool and die are made we can begin manufacturing your pin. A machine operator adds your stamping mold to a hydraulic stamping press. The operator feeds a strip of zinc metal over top of the mold and applies approximately 5 tonnes of pressure to the metal so that the pin assumes the shape of your design.

How Pins are made: stamping



Step 4: Trimming

Once your pins are stamped into zinc strips, the project moves to the trim press. The excess “flange” that surrounds your pin is chopped off. Now we can start decorating your pin!




Step 5: Electroplating

Electroplating is a very interesting process. This is that part of the process in which the metal becomes gold, silver, bronze.   [Recently we have started offering dyed metal.  Instead of electroplating, they actually spray paint the metal with the colour or your choice. ]


how pins are made: electroplating racks


In order to transform the metal from the dull grey zinc colour to bronze, silver or gold, each pin is loaded on a metal rack. Wires are wrapped around each pin blank, one at a time. 


how pins are made: electroplating dips

Once the rack is full of your pins, they are dipped in a series of chemical baths. The rack is charged with electricity and depending on which tank the pin is dipped in, the gold/nickel/bronze particles adhere to the pin, changing its colour. 


Step 6: Enamel

Once your pin is electroplated the right colour, the pins are loaded onto racks for enamel painting. The metal bases are heated up so that the enamel colour flows better. A technician uses a colour filled syringe full of liquid epoxy to inject colour into your pin.  Each colour is inlaid one at a time.

Your pin design requires areas no smaller than 2mm to hold the liquid epoxy. Designers, this is often the reason we have to change your art! We need enough space to hold enamel within any given enclosed metal shape.  (View our pin designer cheat sheet that offers you a list of specifications and best practices to follow)


how pins are made: enamel


Step 7: Buffing

If you ordered hard enamel, there is an extra step. We fill the pins with more enamel in the hard enamel process. In order to give it that finished look, we need to buff the surface until the paint is level with the metal edges. This is one of the reasons hard enamel costs more because each pin, is buffed by hand. 

how pins are made: buffing

Step 8: Finishing

Once your pins are stamped, electroplated and painted they proceed to finishing.  There are three parts to finishing:

  • Weld the post on the back. We use a specialized spot welder to apply a post to the back of your pin
  • Each pin has a clutch added to the back by hand
  • Each pin is packaged in a poly bag


Now we are ready to ship your pins! 


how pins are made: finishing

Now you know how we make enamel pins! We hope that this deep dive into pin manufacturing was useful! Once you understand this process a bit better, you’ll gain insight into how to design better enamel pins. Be sure to read our other design articles about diy design, metal finishing and more. 


How To Make Enamel Pins Photos







About The Author


linkedinCraig 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.