What's the Difference Between Hard vs.. Soft Enamel Pins?

Hoth User - Aug 26, 2019

In the fashion world, brooches are coming back. They never really left the scene, but now are making their way onto jacket lapels in the form of pins.

But a pin is just a pin, right? No. There is more to it than that.

To understand the differences between hard vs. soft enamel pins, let’s look at them more closely.

Hard vs. Soft Enamel Pins

The most basic difference is that hard enamel, or cloisonné, pins are polished flat. Soft enamel is more shiny, and is recessed. That means that the level of detail that can be expressed in them is different for each type of pin.

The Hard and Soft Of It

So, which pin is right for you? Not all pins are created equal, so you've got your choices cut out for you with which type of enamel you'd like to use.

Soft Enamel Pins

When making soft enamel pins, the image design is die struck into the metal pin. Then colored enamel is added to the recessed areas of the pin. The recesses of the metal prevent the colors from mixing, and each color is applied separately. Once the enamel is added, the pin is put in an oven to cure. That sets the enamel.

Because the pins are not polished further, you can feel the ridges in the pin. A protective coating can be applied to give the design added protection. Epoxy resin coating helps to protect the enamel and makes it smooth.

Hard Enamel (Cloisonné) Pins

The process to make hard enamel pins differs slightly from the soft enamel process. Hard enamel pins use a different, glass-like enamel material. The pins are cured at a higher temperature as well. The pins are polished flat, eliminating the ridges you can feel on soft enamel pins.

When all the colors have been applied to the pin, it's time for the pin to get electroplated. It's polished again so that the pin is complete and smooth.

When the pin is polished, it can make some of the lines from the original design slightly thicker than they were at the start of the process, which is something to consider when getting a hard enamel pin. The process of making a hard enamel pin is considered more traditional than a soft enamel pin.

Pin Perfect: Different Reasons for Getting a Pin

Pins are a great way to showcase the things that you love -- by literally wearing it on your lapel, a backpack, or a jacket. But pins can serve other purposes too. When someone is wearing a pin, people notice it.

That's why pins are great for supporting a cause. Awareness pins are a popular way to show your commitment to an organization or cause that you care about. Wearing a pin can make you feel connected to the other people who support that same cause.

Biker pins are also popular pins. Adding a pin to your leather jacket or vest can let people know what group that you belong to, and showcase your loyalties and beliefs. They also look great hanging out on your jacket or vest.

One of the most common types of lapel pin is the recognition pin. Your organization can award pins to recognize all sorts of accomplishments. Present them for a major sales achievement, to honor volunteers, or to celebrate the years of service valued employees have worked at an organization.

Recipients of recognition pins are sure to appreciate them. They’re a keepsake of an accomplishment and a note of appreciation that people wear with pride.

Pins can also denote club membership. Everyone in your club can wear the same pin style and let everyone know about the organization you belong to. It's easy, effective marketing.

Get a Free Quote

After looking at the differences between hard vs. soft enamel pins, you probably have a better idea of which style to select. The experienced artists at Lapel Pin Superstore will be happy to help you determine which style is best for your specific needs.

 If you’d like to find out more, just fill out our no-obligation Free Quote form. We’ll send you a free digital art proof of your pin design. Or you can call us at (866) 862-8842, or email us at [email protected]. We’re the dependable source for top quality custom pins of all kinds.