Lapel pins: Manufacturing Methods

lapelpinsLapel pins have been around for centuries. They were first used during the height of the Civil War in the United States to distinguish members and officials belonging to the Union and the Confederates. It is not unlikely that lapel pins have developed and adapted newer forms of manufacturing methods over the years. With the demand to a more personalized and more price efficient and versatile design, manufacturers have adapted a number of methods that will suit every design and customization needs. This works to the advantage of every client who desires a specific look for their customized lapel pins.


This is the oldest type of manufacturing technique. The pin is cut and the design is stamped, leaving recessed and embossed parts. Then the powdered color pigment taken from a Pantone color chart will be added to each area and the pin will be baked. Usually the pin will be baked every time a color is added. Shimmer and glitters can be added to the pigment. Just like the typical manufacturing process, the pin would be filed smooth if necessary and an epoxy coating will be added to protect the color.

Soft Enamel

Just like in cloisonee, the design is stamped unto the metal then the pin is cut. Instead of applying the powdered pigment, the color is injected into the recessed areas. Unlike cloisonee, the pigment will not have any substance so the embossed and recessed areas are apparent. A clear epoxy coating can be applied to make the pin appear smooth.


The outline of the design will be first used to cut the lapel pins from the copper or brass sheets then the design image is stamped on. The image will be created initially on a die. The pin is the plated with the desired metal and then polished. This method gives an engraved look.

Offset Digital Printing or 4-color Process

This complex technique is used to capture photographic designs. Therefore, there is often a surcharge when this method is used. The images are printed on the metal’s front face and then cut. Pantone colors are not used rather, CMYK printer colors.

Photo Etched

The design of the pin is etched unto the metal face of the pin with the use of an acid solution. It is then hand-painted, baked and then polish.

Silk Screen

Screen printed lapel pins are made by applying individual blocks of color on at a time using the silk screen method similar in making t-shirts. Then they will be baked and coated with a clear epoxy resin.

Attachment Methods

At the back of every lapel pin is an attachment that is usually just a pin and hinge. Today, various attachment methods are available.

Safety Clasp

This kind of attachment resembles a safety pin but it comes with a special plate to which the pin will be attached

Butterfly/Military Clutch

This attachment is commonly used in military. It composes of a separate round stopper that attaches to the pin. The round stopper has 2 small wings that are squeezed to detach itself from the needle behind the pin.

Magnetic Clasp

Magnetic clasps have 1 to 2 magnets behind the pin that attaches the pin to a separate metal plate or another magnet. This is suitable for people who do not want pinholes on their clothes. Magnetic clasp attachments are the priciest kind of attachment.

Jewelry Clutch

Just like the butterfly clutch, the jewelry clutch has a separate stopper. Jewelry clutches resemble earring stoppers.


A threaded bolt is attached to the back of the pin. This bolt will then be attached to a small separate screw.