Whether you are a pin collector or just starting, you’ll notice that some pins are hard enamel and some are soft. If you’re looking to make your own, then you might be wondering what the difference is. The decision of either soft or hard enamel is based on the design you’re trying to achieve.
Soft Enamel Pins
Soft enamel pins are more common especially when there are multiple colours in the design. Soft enamel allows for bevels and raised creases between colours and shapes. The soft enamel metal plating process is done before the enamel, or paint, is filled in. This means the paint is at a lower level than the metal borders surrounding each colour. If you rub your thumb over a soft enamel pin you will feel the metal ridges.
Hard Enamel Pins
Hard enamel pins are the opposite in that there are no creases. The enamel is overfilled and then polished down to create a surface that’s smooth to the touch. This usually makes the pins shinier, but not always the case. Hard enamel can be a better option for text as it allows for bolder type.
Here is an image of the same pin in both hard and soft enamel.
Each type of pin has its own set of particular benefits. But it really comes down to how complicated the design is and how many colors will be used.
When creating custom pins, soft enamel pins are easy to make which means you can use basically any design. However, as soft enamel pins do not take as much time to make and are cheaper, they are also less durable. These pins will not last as long as the hard enamel pins will. If you need your pins to last a significant period of time, perhaps soft enamel won’t be for you.
So you pulled out your old jean jacket, or your old backpack, and you want to bring it to life again with some patches. Or maybe you found an awesome patch you love on shopbadge.co and you want to know how you can apply it. We’ll walk you through what materials you can use and how to do it in 4 easy steps.
Materials and backings
There are 4 different types of patches you can get. They are:
Iron-on backing: Durable, long-lasting, and best for cotton, denim, and work-out material.
Sew-on backing: Durable, long-lasting, and best for vinyl, leather, denim, and work-out material.
Velcro-backing: Durable, temporary backing, flexible, and best for polyester, nylon, spandex, vinyl, leather, and work-out material.
Adhesive: Easy to use, temporary backing, and best for cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, vinyl, leather, and work-out material.
Iron-on is the most popular and mainly what we carry on the site. The heat melts the adhesive on the back of the patch and makes it permanently stick to the material. There are better materials for this than others. Cotton and denim are the best by far, you’ll patch will last for a very long time (possibly ever). Other materials like polyester are possible however, you have to be cautious since it can easily damage the material if done wrong. The best thing to do is to check your clothing label to see if it allows ironing. Leather and silk and other delicate materials will not work. It’s best to use glue for those materials (check out E6000 glue ) or sew.
How to apply iron-on patches
Step 1: Find the place you want to put the patch. Make sure you’re happy with how it looks. If you are planning to add more patches in the future, make sure you have enough space for more. The adhesive side should be touching the material. Step 2: Lay the item flat on a heat-resistant surface, like an ironing board. Step 3: Make sure your iron is on the hottest setting and the steam option is turned off. Place a thin towel over the patch (like a tea towel) and hold the iron on top firmly for about 15-20 seconds. You may need to do this multiple times if you have a large patch. Step 4: Remove the iron and towel and see if your patch’s edges are firmly attached to the material. If not, repeat step 3 until it is.
You are definitely able to wash your garments after you’ve applied a patch, however there are some things you should consider:
Don’t wash it right away, give it a couple of days before it gets contact with liquid.
Try to wash it as little as possible as this will help keep the patch on firmly. If you do wash it, wash it inside out.
When a patch falls off a garment, this usually indicates that either it has been subjected to too much heat (in the dryer) or too frequent washing. If the adhesive is no longer sticky you’ll either need to add new adhesive or stitch the patch back on. If you’re not keen on sewing the patch back in place, the best option is to apply fusible webbing to the back of the patch (cut to size), then iron the patch back on.
Overall, you have a lot of versatility when it comes to materials that you can put patches on and they can range from shirts, jeans, jackets, backpacks, hats, luggage, and much more. Not only is it a fun way to be creative, but it also displays your passions, likings, and much more.