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.

Facehugger Molded Pin

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.

Backing Card

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!

Enamel Pin Backstamp

Backstamp

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.

Butterfly Metal Clutch

Butterfly Clutch

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.

Epoxy Dome

A layer of thick, clear epoxy that is applied to an area or the entire surface of a pin.

Comply (Antique) Enamel Pin

Die Struck

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.

Glitter

Some manufacturers offer enamel colors that can have glitter added. This will add an extra sparkle to an area or a entire pin.

Sick Tape Enamel Pin

Glow in the Dark / GOTD

An enamel fill color that will glow in the dark after being exposed to light.

Ufo Pin

Hard Enamel

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.

Limited Edition

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.

Locking Fastener

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.

Platings

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.

Pantone Color Guide

PMS

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

Enamel Pin Post

Post

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.

Enamel Pin Rubber Clutch

Rubber Clutch

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.

Nintendo Kid 64 Enamel Pin

Soft Enamel

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.

Predator Gauntlet Hard Enamel Pin

Screen Printed

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

Slider

A pin that attached to a mechanism that allows it to have a sliding element.

Spinner

Also called “spinners”. A pin attached to a mechanism that allows it to do spin freely.

Variant

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.

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