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Hard Enamel, Soft Enamel and Die Struck, what's best for you?

Hard Enamel, Soft Enamel and Die Struck, what's best for you?

Posted by Marty Riggs on 19th Feb 2018

What's best for me and my artwork?


-Hard Enamel-

Hard enamel pins, Epola or Imitation Hard Enamel as they are known are firstly stamped using a die-struck process using iron or zinc-alloy, each colour has to be separated by a metal dye line of at least 0.2mm thickness, this creates a recess.

Each recess is filled by hand then each layer is baked before another is added.
The process is repeated usually several times before the enamel fills to the top of the dye line wall, the pin badges are then kiln fired at high temperature to harden. Once the badges have cooled they are then electroplated in your chosen plating colour before being put through a stone grinding and polishing process. The end result is a smooth & flat finish; due to the polishing process hard enamel badges cannot achieve as much detail as a soft enamel badge and you will need to account for the line spread giving to slightly thicker lines than in the original design. However hard enamel pins are beautiful and offer a real feel of high quality.

Pantone colours can be matched with hard enamel.
You can check out some examples of ones we’ve made before HERE


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-Soft Enamel-

Similar to hard enamel pins all badges start life being die-struck and cut to size. Soft enamel pins get electroplated first with your chosen plating, after this process the badges are then enamel filled by hand into the recessed areas below the metal dye line (Dye line can be as thin as 0.14mm) so the enamel does not mix however only filled once, leaving a recessed “feel” to your design when you run your fingers over it.

Once the recessed areas of the design are filled they are then kiln fired.

Soft enamel badges offer more plating options including rainbow plating, pantone matched colour and black dye plating.

People tend to sway to soft enamel if the design is very detailed as due to the production nature the pins can achieve thinner dye lines and fill areas, so, if you prefer the hard enamel look but want the detail of soft enamel we can also epoxy resin coat the design when its complete this gives the effect of a smooth and it can appear to look flat but it isn’t a hard enamel pin.


Pantone colours can be matched with soft enamel too.

You can check out some examples of ones we’ve made before HERE


Is that all you do?

No, is the short answer, there are so many choices and customisable options that’s its hard to cram everything into a little blog post.
If you have a unique idea we would be more than happy to discuss it and tailor make your design to your specifications.

We also offer die-struck badges, traditional hard enamel badges, 3D Die Cast badges, PVC badges & printed badges too.

Check out the range HERE

Photo Credit
https://www.instagram.com/darwindesigns/
https://www.instagram.com/ipdipdesign/