If you want to wear your heart on your sleeve or lapel or collar, you should probably learn how to make your own pins. Pin creation can easily be done in an afternoon and either requires some drawing skills or just a decent color printer.
With just a few simple supplies and some creativity, you can design pins that are totally unique to you. Check out this tutorial to learn how to get started.
One of the most common ways to create pins is using Shrinky Dinks and pinbacks. The process makes it fairly easy to turn your sketches into fashion accessories. For this project, you'll need several sheets of Shrinky dinks, permanent markers, a pencil (for sketching) and a glue such as E6000. It's important to have a strong adhesive that won't break down or come undone while you're wearing a lapel pin or badge
Pick an Image
First, you have to decide what you want your pin to look like. This can be the toughest part of the project. Sure you want to be original, but you also want to have fun, and well, you just want it look cool, or at least cute. This should be something you want to wear proudly. In the above video, Moriah Elizabeth settles on drawing combinations of animals and food. But this also sets her on a brainstorm that takes her through several pages of sketches before she lands on her final designs.
On the other hand, you don’t have to draw anything original. You can also just pick an image you like and print a copy of it. The nice thing about a pin is that is doesn’t have to be a masterpiece to be memorable. You can go with a funny or wise saying, shout out your fave breakfast drink or just stick with a tried and true heart.
Turn the image into a Shrinky Dink
If you didn’t grow up in the ‘70s, you may not be familiar with the classic toy that fills your oven with the smell of plastic. Shrinky Dinks are sheets of semi-clear plastic plastic that can be drawn on and then baked to create small, hard pins of almost any shape. They retain their shape, but just shrink, as the name implies.
After tracing her final images onto the Shrinky Dinks (they’re see-through), Moriah uses paint pens to color in the images. You can also get away with Sharpie pens, which dry a bit faster than paint pens. But the colors on paint pens are a bit richer.
Cut the Images Out
Of course you can cut close to the image or, if you don’t want a pin with sharp edges and odd corners, you can cut the image in a circle or square. Bake it according to the instructions (it only takes a few minutes) and once out of the oven, lay a glass or metal bowl on top of the still bendable Shrinky Dink to make sure it remains flat as it hardens.
Add a Glaze
This keeps the paint looking fresh and keeps it from chipping. Moriah ends up using Mod Podge dimensional magic.
Glue on the Pinbacks
There are many different types of pinbacks that can be attached to the back of the Shrinky Dink to turn it into an image. It’s particularly important to have a strong glue. Moriah uses E6000 — which can be tough to unclog, but does the job.
If you want to make enamel pins at home, the process is quite a bit more complicated, but the end result is very impressive. In the video above, take a look at the steps Dream Workshop goes through to fabricate enamel pins. Let's be clear: This isn't the easy way to make pins at home. This is the hard way, but you should probably know about it for comparison.