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Difference between Soft Enamel and Hard Enamel Pins

A common question we receive when a customer is interested in designing a metal pin is what's the difference between hard and soft enamel.

The short answer is soft enamel has recessed enamel, while hard enamel is polished flat. Both are made from the same mold and the detail achieved is the same - they simply have different looks.

Soft Enamel

When creating a soft enamel pin, the enamel is laid in the recessed areas and put through ovens to bake the enamel hard. The enamel is only added once in this process which means when dry, the enamel clings to the edges and recessed below the metal die line (that stops the enamels from mixing). This creates a dimensional look, meaning the paint is at a lower level than the metal borders surrounding each color. If you rub your thumb over your custom soft enamel pin you will feel the metal ridges.

Hard Enamel

For hard enamel pins, not only is the enamel added over several times raising the enamel higher, it is heated at a very high temperature to harden and cure the enamel. It is then polished smooth so it can be at the same level as the metal die lines. If you rub your thumb over a hard enamel lapel pin (also known as cloisonné lapel pin) it will feel smooth and you will not feel the metal borders/ridges.

If you are interested in creating a custom metal pin, please contact us today. Our sales representatives can help you decide what type of pin is best for your design.