If you have the unfortunate circumstance of being my friend on Facebook or follow me on Instagram then you have no doubt noticed my new obsession with enamel pins. You guys, enamel pins are THE BEST. You can find a pin for basically anything you can imagine - from pop culture references to every day items, if you can think of it, there's a pin for it. Why do I like them so much? Well, I'm running out of room on my walls for art and this is an easy way to make art a part of my daily life and to support independent artists.
Pins really aren't a new thing, but they seem to be really taking off in a new way right now. Disney has long had collectable enamel pins, and there's massive selections of vintage pins and buttons out there.
These new, more modern pins are a real community though. Everything has a real collector mentality behind it - pins are usually released in limited editions - runs of around 100 pins are common. The community supports each other in a really wonderful way - once you start following different artists on Instagram, you will often see different artists swapping pins with each other or doing collaborations.
So how do you get in on this pin game? I've listed some of my favourite accounts on Instagram at the bottom of this post, and I think that's the best way to get going. Once you start following a couple of accounts, just pay attention to who gets tagged in other people's posts. I just keep following tags and hashtags and following new people every day - the list at the bottom isn't even everyone that I currently follow because I'm adding new ones every day. If you see someone post with a collection of pins, give it a tap to see everyone who was tagged. It's so easy to find new pins and to click through to buy them on Instagram - it's becoming quite the addiction for me!
There are various kinds, and you start to get an idea of the lingo pretty quickly. Hard enamel pins are smooth and shiny, and soft enamel pins have raised ridges with more of a 3D effect. There are different types of backs too - rubber clutches seem to be the most common, but can easily be swapped out for metal or even locking clutches to make things more secure.
Once you've got a little collection of pins going, it's just a matter of trying to decide which ones to wear! They're easy to throw on a jacket or make them a part of your outfit. It isn't typically recommended to use them on purses or other bags because it's easier to lose them that way, but if you have locking clutches you should be good to go.
They're fun just to have displayed too - I've long had a bunch of buttons in a frame on my gallery wall, and have kept an embroidery hoop in my office to hold some pins that I've had for ages. Now my bedroom also has some cork sections to hold my new ever-expanding collection.
Instagram is definitely my favourite place to shop for pins - it's almost dangerously easy. Etsy is great too - just start searching around for enamel pins, you never know what's going to pop up. Seriously I want ALL THE PINS.
You can find my Pinterest board for all things pin/patch/sticker here.
TeeFury is even getting in on the pin game. Seriously, this shit is blowing up.
Would I ever start making my own pins? Maybe, I've thought about it. If I had some extra cash for start up I would love to contact some of my favourite sellers for wholesale pins and have a table at Shock Stock or some of the upcoming local Comicons. There's so much crossover in those communities, I think it would go over really well. In a perfect world I could just make pins, buttons, t-shirts, and tote bags all the livelong day.
Here's some of the Instagram accounts I follow - and yes, it took forever to do this which is why this post has been in the works for like a month.
bandofweirdos prettynobodyco flowerchainz midlanderpress pin_lord pincommunity wizardofbarge printmafiaofficial gummivenus squid_lords pumpfakepins tattoo_dave karma.works pseudo_ludo pinoftheday truemetalworks pinpostuk pingame lapelclub demonicpinfestation scumbagsandsuperstars famtasticapparel bigbudpress thesearethings embiggenpins couch_gag why.you.little simpspins workclothingbrand cheatdeathcorp toughtimespress theaterofcreeps atavisticempire twoghoulspress donotdisturbstore blackcloudcompany lastcraftdesigns strikegentlyco infectedresintoys sickgirlsofficial nachoscratcho joeflomontana madebycooper quasivisualarts pollypatch monsteroutside sadtruthsupply stuffscruff pinpinzny nodadkids weirdoweapons pintoneco staringyeti pandemic redlipco coldtoes stuckuppins stayhomeclubofficial coldsnappress feltgoodco ragamuffpins spacewaste nothingpins spacecadetcollective bbllowwnn methsyndicate ludlowluna zombiethulu creepycompany negamidas laserkitten bornwithfangs slackandmellow worldfamousoriginal explorerspress goodgoodpins living_collective nofunpress scoutdrygoods strikegentlyco rosehoundapparel nostalgiavault blindheartco kateandcait valleycruisepress shopstrangeways tuesdaybassen pinheadcompany kolorspun rat_pins laissezflaire caittlinnn penelopegazin punkypins kreeplord robineisenberg supersecretfunclub divinespiritcreations thepinlord heartificialpins peskystuff themidnightsociety bruisedtongue jaredstorm weirdempire