Enamel Pins 101: Specialty Inks - Time to get fancy
Feelin’ like your pins could use a little pizzazz? Want to really set your design off from the pack? Then let us introduce you to:
Starting with the forever fan favorite: Glitter!
Glitter comes in 14 standard colors, but can also be mixed to coordinate with whatever Pantone shades you are using. Pure black and pure white are usually best mixed with some rainbow or silver glitter or they’re very subtle (and pretty much disappear entirely in hard enamel.) When used in soft enamel, there will be a gritty texture to the ink, but if used in hard or soft with epoxy, you will not see that texture.
Not feeling so sparkly? Maybe indulge your nocturnal side with Glow-in-the-Dark!
Glow in the dark is done by sprinkling a powder over the inks before being fully cured, and can be used in soft or hard enamel pins. White glow powder glows green, and has barely any effect on the color it’s added to, so it can be added to just about any shade. If using glow in soft enamel, it will give the ink a bit of a gritty texture. In hard enamel or in soft with epoxy, you can't see the texture.
Glow in the Dark Gallery
If you use glow in multiple shades within a pin, you will notice the underlying ink tone playing a role in how it glows.
Blue glow powder, on the other hand, will add a blue tone to whatever it’s mixed into so it’s best used with white (for a pale blue result) or some shade of blue (it will intensify the color.) It’s a little trickier to work with, but it GLOWS BLUE!
Looking for something a little rarer? Maybe one of our three dark horses- metallic, pearl enamel or translucents!
Metallic ink currently comes in gold and silver. It’s not high-shine like metal, but it has a subtle shimmery twinkle to it that is just right when full-on glitter would be too much. Pearl ink is only in white and is best used in hard enamel or soft with epoxy. The extra sheen and light reflection really helps it pop.
Itching to lower your opacity? Try Translucent Inks
If you are looking for translucent inks, we have 6-8 set base tones to choose from in hard or soft enamel. Although any color can be mixed for a translucent, it can be a hard ink style to have consistency with, so we advise choosing from the stock colors. Medium to dark tones work best for translucent inks. If the color is too light and has a lot of white in the mix, it can look milky and pretty gross, so we do not suggest using light tones. It also works best if you are using a lighter toned metal such as gold or nickel because we are lowering the opacity of the ink and the darker the background tone, the darker the ink will become. A really fancy trick is to do multi-level molds and have the ink go over flat and recessed areas. You can get multiple tones from one ink.
Looking for something a bit more “mood ring”? Color change enamel might be just the stuff! Currently available in red/yellow and yellow/green.
All of these novelty enamels are surprisingly affordable, adding just $25 per 100 pins (per color) but offering a significant je-ne-sais-quoi to your finished product. Give ‘em a whirl!