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Hard vs. Soft Enamel Pins

Enamel pins have become a popular form of self-expression and a unique way to showcase one’s interests and personality. Whether you’re a collector, artist, or simply looking for a creative way to accessorize your clothing or accessories, enamel pins offer a world of possibilities. Among the various types of enamel pins available, two of the most common options are hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins. In this blog, we’ll explore the key differences between these two popular pin styles, helping you make an informed choice for your next pin purchase or design.

Manufacturing Process

One of the primary distinctions between hard and soft enamel pins lies in the manufacturing process:

  • Hard Enamel Pins: Also known as cloisonné pins, hard enamel pins are made by filling the pin’s design with colored enamel that is then fired at a high temperature. This process results in a smooth, polished, and durable surface with raised metal borders. The enamel is level with the metal, creating a flat and glossy finish.
  • Soft Enamel Pins: Soft enamel pins, on the other hand, are created by filling the recessed areas of the pin’s design with colored enamel. Afterward, the pins are baked at a lower temperature than hard enamel pins, resulting in a slightly textured, raised metal surface. This gives soft enamel pins a tactile quality and a three-dimensional appearance.
  • Texture and Feel

The difference in manufacturing processes directly impacts the texture and feel of hard and soft enamel pins:

  • Hard Enamel Pins: As the name suggests, hard enamel pins have a harder and smoother surface. When you run your fingers over a hard enamel pin, you’ll notice a flat and polished finish. They have a premium, glass-like quality to them, making them feel sturdy and luxurious.
  • Soft Enamel Pins: Soft enamel pins have a slightly textured surface due to the recessed areas filled with enamel. This texture gives them a more tactile feel. When you touch a soft enamel pin, you can feel the raised metal borders and the contours of the design, adding depth and dimension.

Color and Design

Both hard and soft enamel pins are versatile when it comes to color and design options:

  • Hard Enamel Pins: Hard enamel pins are well-suited for designs with bold, solid colors. The smooth, polished surface allows for a clean and vibrant appearance, making them ideal for designs that require precise color placement.
  • Soft Enamel Pins: Soft enamel pins are great for designs that feature gradients, shading, or intricate details. The textured surface of soft enamel pins can accentuate these elements, giving your pin a more dynamic and visually interesting look.

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Durability is an essential factor to consider when choosing between hard and soft enamel pins:

  • Hard Enamel Pins: Hard enamel pins are highly durable and resistant to scratches and fading. Their smooth surface is less prone to damage, making them suitable for pins that will see frequent use or outdoor exposure.
  • Soft Enamel Pins: While soft enamel pins are also reasonably durable, their textured surface can be more susceptible to wear and tear over time. However, with proper care and maintenance, they can still last a long time.


In summary, the choice between hard and soft enamel pins ultimately comes down to your design preferences and how you plan to use your pins. Hard enamel pins offer a polished, premium look and are ideal for designs with solid colors. On the other hand, soft enamel pins provide a textured, three-dimensional appearance and are excellent for designs with intricate details and shading. Whichever you choose, enamel pins are a fantastic way to express yourself and add a touch of personality to your clothing or accessories. So, go ahead and start pinning your style!