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Hard enamel pin VS soft enamel badge

Custom hard enamel pin and soft enamel pins are very common fashion accessories in our daily life. We can use it wide, such as advertising gifts, marketing, school, sports clubs and many more.

Today, let’s take lapel pins as examples to talk about the difference between hard enamel and soft enamel briefly.

First, Let’s talk about what are custom hard enamel pins and soft enamel brooches and its features separately.

1. What is a hard enamel lapel pin?

Hard Enamel pin stands for the highest quality and it can be used as jewelry and can last one hundred years. The original technique was developed by the Chinese thousands of years ago to make prestige ornaments.

Cloisonné items can be considered more as collectible jewels than simply promotional items. so if you want to design any valued products, it is acceptable in the process.

hard enamel lapel pins
  • The suitable material is Copper ONLY because it needs to be baked in around 1600℉ to stabilize enamel powder. And copper melt at 1984 ℉.
  • Hard enamel pins are in die struck process, and enamel colors are hand-craft over-filled, the excessed enamel will be polished flat to the metal lines level.
  • It is with a flat surface, scratch-resistant. Cloisonné pins have a very substantial feel and feel thicker than other pins because of the way they’re made.
  • Cloisonné pins, as jewelry quality product, it is luxury. Undoubtedly, its cost is quite high.

Nowadays, Synthetic Enamel, as a modern substitute for Cloisonné. it is accepted by more and more customers because of its much more reasonable price and a border range of colors. And its colors appear much brighter and flashy.

Unique to this process, stoning and polishing makes a flat, shiny surface. Imitation Cloisonné pins can last a lifetime. In order to avoid any confusion, in the following, we call synthetic hard enamel.

synthetic enamel lapel pins

2. What is a soft enamel lapel pin?

Soft enamel pin is another substitute for cloisonne (imitation) enamel, and probably the most widely used.

Anyway, Don’t let the name “soft enamel” fool you, there is actually nothing “soft” about custom soft enamel pins. By contrast to hard enamel pin, we call it “soft enamel lapel pins”. This name is simply an industry term to describe this kind of product.

custom soft enamel lapel pins

3. How to recognize hard enamel badges VS custom soft enamel pins

To fully get the differences between hard enamel and soft enamel medals, just consider 4 factors. They are the visual look, the feel by the finger and the cost! let’s talk about each factor separately!

3a. The look  

Hard enamel is just flat and it looks luxurious. The hard enamel and separating metal are at the same level. Don’t confuse it with a soft enamel which sometimes appears flat due to the epoxy treatment.

Soft enamel pins, You will get it very easily since it has a raised metal outline and recessed areas.

3b. The feel with finger

Touching is actually the easiest way to understand the difference. The hard enamel pin has almost no raised or recessed area. it feels really smooth since it’s even almost impossible to detect the metal line.

For a soft enamel lapel pin, textured feel, you will actually feel the raised metal outline and recessed areas and put. The Raised metal lines and recessed enamel area is actually the obvious difference that separates out the two.

3c. The cost 

The cost is also another perfect factor that will make you recognize the type of pin you are buying.

Hard enamel products are some expensive than soft enamel ones. Do not worry, it is just a little higher than soft enamel, NOT too much.


Customized hard enamel lapel pin can be applied to 2D design products ONLY. While personalized soft enamel pins suitable for both 2D and 3D designs, like belt buckles, champion rings, and so on.

3e. Durable   

Other things that will follow after you have purchased is durable. For pin collector, hard enamel hat pins are much more worth to collect because of its quality, which will actually last longer than the soft enamel ones. In the USA, Australia and European markets, personalized hard enamel pins are more and more popular.


4. What makes them different?

The leading reason that brings the difference is the process.

  • The hard enamel pin is the mark of the quality. it in turn brings about a shiny color with a very smooth surface.
  • In the hard enamel process, filling enamel comes first, then polishing. So the minimum filling enamel color is 0.4mm, and the minimum blank metal rim is 0.3mm. Or, the colors and metal rim may be polished out very easily.
  • Soft enamel colors are NOT completely filled in the recessed below the metal and the separating borders are visible.

Please see the custom hard enamel filling VS Personalized soft enamel filling.

badge fill enamel color-perfectcraftsgifts

5. How to choose soft enamel and hard enamel lapel pins?

Before order lapel pins, It’s important to know the occasion you want to use them. You can choose the pin type based on your budget, the meaning of the moment, and the usage of lapel pins.

  • Imitation hard enamel pins
  • custom soft enamel pin
  • screen-printing pins
  • photo-etched lapel pin

All of the above custom pins are popular on every occasion. For instance, brand promotional product, Promo Marketing, trophy shop, premiums souvenir, advertising gifts, unisex fashion, church religious keychains, and custom gifts. Surely, there are many more moments.

Hard enamel lapel pin, its prior quality features make it is the most suitable for awards, employee recognition, corporate gift, and campaign branding.

Personalized Soft enamel lapel pins are also the best substitutes when you really cannot afford the hard enamel lapel pins. Good gift ideas to your friend and can also be used in Student’s badges, promotional merchandise, convention trading pin, or fashion accessories.

To conclude, the decision on the best enamel lapel pin is usage and budget. Always get the best that will serve you efficiently! Don’t pick a soft enamel lapel pin for the corporate branding, instead pick the perfect hard enamel lapel pin that’s durable! It’s not that the soft one is just a bad deal, Just hard enamel pins can last longer than soft enamel.

If you have questions about designing your logo pins, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll be happy to help you to determine which custom pin style is right for your design.

You may be interested in

how to make lapel pins? 

Custom enamel pins, epoxy, or NOT?

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