What’s The Difference Between Soft And Hard Enamel?

What is soft enamel?

Soft Enamel

Soft enamel is a popular type of pin or badge that has a raised textured look and feel. The process of making a soft enamel pin or badge starts by having the enamel laid into the mold and put through an oven at a low temperature to dry this is called the baking method or paint baking. From the baking method, enamel colors are added all at once which results in fast drying. This causes the raised texture in a soft enamel pin or badges. 

Although this type of pin or badge is called “soft” enamel, they are not soft to the touch. You can obviously feel and see the recessed details and designs of the badge. The dimensional look on soft enamel badges is formed when the individual colors stop mixing below the metal ridges of the mold.  

Soft enamel allows you to have a unique finish that includes rainbow, black, or any other custom color. If you are looking to get an enamel badge with a textured finish that is durable enough to last then soft enamel is for you.

What is hard enamel?

Hard Enamel

Hard enamel is a polished smooth pin or badge finish with a level-out metal die line which is made from solid pieces of resin or glass that are cured at a high level of temperature in comparison to soft enamel. In hard enamel pin or badge production, the starting process is likely similar to soft enamel but changes as more processes are involved. 

The resin of the chosen colors is added individually to different parts of the pin and is cured one at a time, with each being polished to bring down the level of the exposed metal ridges. Finally, the pin will be electroplated before being polished again for the last time. This means that hard enamel pins or badges have that smooth finish. 

Hard enamel is more scratch resistant due to its being polished down and cured to a much higher level. If you are looking to have pins or badges in gold or silver plating, hard enamel is the best way to go since they will look fancier and of higher quality.

The finished texture is the most noticeable distinction between hard and soft enamel. Soft enamel pins have raised metal edges while hard enamel pins are flat and smooth. Both methods make use of the same metal molds and produce vibrant colors.

What’s the difference?

Which is better, soft or hard enamel pins?

Which is better, soft or hard enamel pins?

Soft and hard enamel pins have both different advantages and distinctive features. Both soft and hard enamel is attractive and appealing but when choosing between soft or hard enamel, it is important to consider the cost, detail, elegance, durability, and texture. 

  • Cost – With cost, soft enamel pins are less expensive than hard enamel since soft enamel requires less production process.
  • Detail – Soft enamel pins are able to display a clearer picture since hard enamel pins are polished multiple times so the ridges are exposed and the details are spread out.
  • Elegance – Hard enamel is more classical looking than soft enamel pins.
  • Durability – Hard enamel pins and badges are polished down multiple times to achieve that smooth and scratch resistant surface. However, soft enamel pins can be covered with an epoxy coating for that damage protection. 
  • Texture  – Soft enamel pins have that texture that results from the height difference between the painted portions and the metal ridges. Hard enamel pins are polished down after the curing process for a smoother look and feel. 

Which enamel is best?

In conclusion, the best enamel depends on what characteristics you are looking for in an enamel pin or badge. If you are eyeing something textured you can go for soft enamel and for a smooth finish you can go for hard enamel.

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