DIY Enamel Pins – Tried and Tested

I got a little curious on my only day off from work and began to let my mind wander through the fabulous world of YouTube DIY channels. I stumbled on a video where a woman was teaching viewers to make those “tumblr inspired” pins with glue. Glue! No Shrinkey Dinks needed (which are currently sold out at my local Michael’s so this was not an option!) Just glue. I have lots of glue. Hot glue, Mod Podge, glue pens, you name it, I have it. So naturally, my curiosity peaked. So here we are… a new segment on my brand new blog called, “YouTube DIYs – Tried & Tested.” Let’s see what we’ve got ourselves into, shall we?

Basically, the DIY was taking an old binder divider – the plastic ones – and making a puddle of hot glue over it. Now, her method seemed a bit confusing, but I was willing to try it. These were my somewhat disastrous, yet wonderful results.

According to the video, I was to take an old, plastic divider and draw my doodle on it. Seemed simple enough, except…I haven’t been to school in years and I didn’t have a plastic sheet anywhere near me. Now, I didn’t panic; I looked through my room. I hoard crafting supplies so I had to have something viable. Somewhere.

Bingo! A brand, spankin’ new scrapbook album I have never used and probably never will use. I bought it because it was $5. Such a deal. This album had a protective plastic sheet on the cover, kind of like the one certain binders have. It had to work the same, right? CORRECT. This was my “base.” I drew on a mug with a little tea bag hanging by a thread. 

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I used a Craftsmart paint pen in black [Michael’s] to outline my very simple design. I apologize for the lack of quality in this photo. I was trying to overcome some nausea, and kinda still am. Anyway, I colored it in with a purple Sharpie paint pen [also Michael’s]. This was the oil based kind. I’m not sure YET if either using an oil based marker or a water based marker would make a difference…stay posted. Once I colored it in nicely, it was time for the puddle of glue.

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I moved my glue gun in a side-to-side/circular motion as I covered the entirety of my design. I made sure I went over the outline of it. It’s okay, you’re going to cut off the excess once it’s completely dry. I did this in case I wanted to have a different colored edge to my pin. I ended up just cutting it along the line. This was easy enough, EXCEPT…you have to make sure it’s an even, thin layer for it to work. Crazy, right? How do we do that with hot goop? With hot glue guns, it’s a little difficult to control how much comes out once you pull the trigger. So, I worked with my shitty CraftSmart glue gun [cough, cough, Michael’s]. Once it was all dry, I trimmed off the excess and made sure the edges were neatly cut. I added a coat of Mod Podge (glossy finish) to both the front and back. This is quite the timed process, seeing as you have to wait for everything to adequately dry. Once that’s all done, you take a safety pin and hot glue it to the back and you’re all done! 

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This was the finished product! Notice that some of the edges are a little harshly cut. Yeah…this glue gets pretty thick, so you can’t get a clean cut every single time. Be patient with it! I added a coat of glitter nail polish to give it a bit of pizzazz. Fancy.

My Verdict:

8/10 for this DIY!

  1. The surface of the dried hot glue is supposed to be the top part of the pin. Wrong. This is why I used the word base in quotation marks. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get your surface to be completely smooth with hot glue. It clumps up, and it can be filled with air bubbles. I need to know what kind of gun this girl used because…damn.
  2. I loved that you’re able to get your creative juices flowing. Especially if you’re like me, and your brain is on fire in the middle of the night. Ideas come flying out of nowhere and I found myself making a list of little doodles to try out. You can completely make this project yours!
  3. You can use so many things you have lying around at home. You can use plastic from takeout containers (as long as they’re easy to cut.) And you can replace some items with others; i.e: acrylic paint instead of markers, nail polish and a clear top coat in place of paint and mod podge. Anything works, really!
  4. If you’re great at drawing, this is for you. You can trace from your phone, but in my case, the plastic was a bit too thin, so my screen still sensed my finger and moved everything. It ruined a lot of my first designs.

All in all, I had a lot of fun making a bunch of little pins that I can decorate my backpack with. I used paint markers for some, acrylic paints for others, and nail polish as well. Everything worked really well! Here are my creations.

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The little tea cup on the left was my first attempt. I failed miserably, but I decided to show you anyway. I drew it free hand, which is why it looks that way. The second is a unicorn that I had made as my very last pin. I finally got the hang of the method and I’m actually surprised it came out so well. I used that same glitter nail polish from the purple mug for the unicorn horn.

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Here we have that purple mug again. You can see the glitter in all its glory. In the 2nd row, we have an emoji unicorn which I also love, but I regret making it so small. We also have a rose, which I ADORE SO MUCH. I’m going to pin this somewhere that everyone can see because I’m that proud of it. I used nail polish for this and I love how it worked out. And the 3rd row. We have a light bulb with little plants growing out of it. SO tumblr of me. *eyeroll* Who decided we had to use tumblr as an adjective? Anyway, it’s funny because I actually saw a doodle like this on tumblr. I touched it up with some gold paint and I regret painting the plants that color as well. I should’ve just let them be. And lastly, we have a cute lil cactus without thorns. Yes, I forgot to draw thorns on it. Sue me.

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this first edition of YouTube DIYs – Tried & Tested! And let me know if you try this method out. If something better works out for you, let me know. Please. Pins are really popular and some cute little ones like these run for no less than $10. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like paying $10 for a pin the size of a dime.

Happy crafting!

{To check out the video this was based on, click here.}

{Tag me in your creations on Instagram and Twitter: @heyycristel}

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