People are very fond of using an object without even knowing how it was created. All around the world, custom pins are worn by people to show belongingness, achievement, or simply to support a cause or be part of a fashion statement. But do you really know how custom pins are made?
Before you get to proudly wear your own custom pins—whether they were given by your company or an association you belong to—you should know that they started from scratch. Pins are first designed either by using pen and paper or using computers. All the elements or objects put into the design are carefully hand-picked based on the purpose of the pin. After finalizing the design, it is put into what they call a mechanical sheet with the specifics of the design, like the measurements, colors, and placement of elements. The mechanical sheet is what they use for the next step, which is molding. The metal is poured into the mold and left at a certain temperature to form and solidify.
After the pieces of the pin have molded into something that can be held, the next step is to cut the outline of each piece. Of course, not each piece will be molded perfectly. Some will have rough or extra edges. These unwanted edges have to be cut off or smoothened out for thoroughly made pins. Sometimes, smaller and more specific cutting molds are needed for holes or minute details.
The next step is to attach the individual pieces together using a soldering iron. Each part of a single pin must be carefully placed on where it should be because once you solder it, it would be hard to undo. When all the parts and pieces have been put together, the next thing to do is to plate it or cover it with bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and other colors for plating. The longer the pins are soaked in the plating, the thicker it will appear. Once the plating has dried, the pin is polished to remove the lumps caused by the plating. Polishing is also done to make the metal appear shinier and newer.
After the base of the pin has been finished, color is applied to it. Of course the colors are based on the design. Enamel is used for coloring so that it would appear more solid and shiny. Application of enamel has to be done carefully by hand because too much of it will cause the color to explode on the pin. One must be highly skilled in applying enamel color because exactly the right amount should be put on the right places. To finish up the coloring process, cleaning the unwanted marks on the pin is also necessary. The excess colors may be wiped out or smoothened for a better finish.
To make sure that the paint and the coating are really attached to the pin, it is also necessary to bake the pin. Baking it at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes is safe already. That would be enough to allow all the objects applied to settle. Finally, to finish up the pin, it is coated in clear epoxy to prevent the colors from fading out or to protect it from scratches. Coating, however, is optional based on the specifications of the customer.
That is the nine-step process of making a single pin. It is not anywhere near simple. The next time you wear custom pins, wear them not just for the cause you are fighting for, the award you received, or the company you are representing, but also for the hard work other people have put into making them.