How to Enamel Pins

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Cold enamel your own pin at home.
Cold enamel your own pin at home. (Image: enamel butterfly image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

Enamel pins are a popular fashion item for men and women of all ages. You can design your enamel pin and have it created through commercial jewelry makers, or you can create your design at home using the cold enameling process. Cold enameling uses epoxy resin and hardener on metal surfaces to create an enamel pin with a strong, durable finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear transparent enamel
  • Enamel hardener
  • Mixing cups
  • Wooden mixing sticks
  • Plastic syringes (optional)
  • Plain metal pin finding in desired size
  • Drawing of the pattern you would like to create on the enamel pin, trimmed to size of metal pin finding
  • Enamel colors of choice, transparent or opaque
  • Sandpaper, coarse and fine

Create Your Enamel Pin

Mix the clear transparent enamel with the enamel hardener according to the instructions on the enamel bottle. Use a mixing cup and a mixing stick. Mix a large-enough quantity to coat the front surface of the pin. Spread the liquid enamel on the front of the pin with the mixing stick, coating the surface lightly and evenly, right up to the edges of the pin.

Place the drawing of your pattern on the smooth front surface of the metal pin finding carefully.

Mix the first color you have chosen for the enamel pin design. Using the mixing stick, dab it onto the pin to begin forming the design. Or, use the stick to put the liquid enamel into one of your syringes. Use the syringe to fill in the pattern on the pin.

Repeat Step 3 with each of the other colors you have chosen for your enamel pin design, until the design is complete. Work carefully with your stick or syringe to make sure the whole front of the surface of the pin is covered.

Allow the enamel pin to dry for the period stated on the hardener bottle, or overnight.

Check to make sure the enamel is completely dry. Polish the pin with sandpaper to remove any imperfections in the enamel. Coarse sandpaper will give the pin a flat or matte finish. Fine sandpaper will leave more of a shine. Sand the edges of the pin until they are smooth and free of any drawing paper.

Tips & Warnings

  • When mixing your enamel and hardener, make sure you mix it well to get rid of any lumps or graininess.
  • Some cold enameling colors come in pre-measured syringes for easy use.
  • Work and clean up quickly, using the instructions on the bottles, to prevent the enamel from hardening in the cups or on the sticks.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing in any fumes from the enamel and hardener mixture.
  • Make sure you leave enough time for the enamel to dry thoroughly before polishing.
  • Keep all cold enameling supplies out of reach of young children.
  • If you order your supplies online, be aware that some countries will need to ship them using special handling because they are deemed hazardous materials.

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