The Pin Dictionary
The pin dictionary is a resource page that tracks enamel pin terminology. The dictionary is ideal for those who are new to pins or looking to learn more. If you’d like to contribute or have a suggestion/correction for this page, please contact us.
3D Die Cast
3D Die cast, “cast” or “die cast” pins have additional depth that can give a pin a more sculpted, 3-Dimensional look and feel.
Some sellers and makers will attach a pin to a backing card when shipped. The backing card may be uniquely designed to match the pin or may use special printing techniques to help create a unique and special look. Backing cards sometimes have the numbered edition of the pin printed or hand written and will come in various sizes. If you intend to make your pins look professional, a backing card is a must!
A logo or text that is molded into the die during the production process of a pin. The backstamp is generally used to attribute the pins maker or brand. Sometimes, the backstamp is used for other creative purposes.
A metal fastener that connects to the post of an enamel pin. Clutches secure the pin in place once it is pierced through material like a lapel, shirt, hat, etc.
A layer of thick, clear epoxy that is applied to an area or the entire surface of a pin.
A pin that is struck and no color is added. The raised areas of the pin are usually polished or a antique effect will be applied to give the pin a vintage look or feel.
Some manufacturers offer enamel colors that can have glitter added. This will add an extra sparkle to an area or a entire pin.
Glow in the Dark / GOTD
An enamel fill color that will glow in the dark after being exposed to light.
Hard enamel pins (or “Cloisonné” pins) have a smoother, glass like surface. Hard enamel is very durable and is less prone to scratching. When a hard enamel pin is made, the process is similar to a soft enamel pin where color is filled between the recessed areas of the pin. After this process the pin is then sanded to create the smoother finish.
If a pin is marked as a limited edition, the maker does not intend to produce additional runs of the pin after the initial run has sold. This makes the pin more rare and harder to collect. Sometimes a variant of the pin may be created to allow for additional sales while keeping the original limited.
A locking version of a clutch that contains an additional bolt that can be tightened to further secure the faster to the post with a small allen hex key. Locking fasteners are usually bigger in size, but help keep the lapel pin in place.
Plating references the type of metal that is used in the making of a die. Examples of platings are: Gold, Silver, Bronze, nickel and more. Platings can be dyed or even antiqued.
The pantone color matching system is used with most pin manufacturers. PMS colors can be chosen during the design process of a pin and the matching enamel fill color will be used during the manufacturing process.
Learn more about the Pantone Color Matching System
The post is the attachment on the back of pin that pierces material or sticks it to a board to secure the pin. Generally, smaller pins less than 1″ are single posted and larger pins come with dual posts (or more) to ensure the pin stays secure and doesn’t rotate/spin once fastened.
A rubber fastener that connects to the post of an enamel pin. Clutches secure the pin in place once it is pierced through material like a lapel, shirt, hat, etc.
Soft enamel pins are durable and have a raised and lowered effect in the areas that are filed that give them a unique look and feel.
A printing technique can be used to add finer details that may be too small to hand fill with enamel. This technique is also used to give a pin a different look and feel. Screen printing may also be used in the creation of backing cards.
Learn more about Screen Printing
A pin that attached to a mechanism that allows it to have a sliding element.
Also called “spinners”. A pin attached to a mechanism that allows it to do spin freely.
Some pins may have multiple variations with different color fills or no color at all. Each may have its own limited run. This can sometimes make the variants more rare depending on how many are made or how popular the pin sells.