This started as a one-off experiment for my cousin's school project and ended up as a weekly family activity. Everyone designs their own pins, they get 3D printed and paint and epoxy is used to create faux enamel. Very simple, a bit messy, but definitely fun and unique.
All you need is a 3D printer, epoxy and paint.
Step 1: 3D Printed Moulds
You will need some 3D printed moulds. They are easy to make and the sky is your limit. You can create whatever you want, just make sure you don't make them too small. Fine detail will be difficult to fill in with epoxy.
You can either print your moulds in different colours (if you have a variety of PLA colours) or simply paint it whichever colour you want. I used a combination of spray paint and acrylic paint to make my moulds pop.
Just in case you wanted to use my moulds:
Step 2: What You Need
-3D printed moulds
-Paint (acrylic, leftover tester pots)
-Cheap two-part epoxy glue
-Scraps of cardboard, plastic off-cuts, disposable shot glasses for mixing the glue
-Toothpicks, mixing sticks, syringes (optional)
-Disposable plastic bags like frosting, sandwich bags
-Badge pins, pin tie tacks
Step 3: Preparation
Epoxy dries within minutes, so you will have to work as fast as possible. Decide which colour paints you want to use and put pea-size amounts on a piece of cardboard. That way you can work fast and you won't contaminate your paint tubes with epoxy.
Extrude desired amount of epoxy onto your scrap cardboard, add a dot or two of paint and mix thoroughly, but as fast as possible.
Epoxy darkens once hardened, so make sure the colour of your paint and epoxy mixture is brighter than you want it to be. When it comes to amounts- you will have to eyeball it. It's always better to have more than to run out mid-way.
You could also use plastic bags to create mini piping bags to fill the moulds with epoxy and paint mixture, but only use it when filling in large areas. Piping bag method is super useful, but can be messy.
Step 4: Application
Mix your paint and epoxy mixture. Use toothpicks to move blobs of glue to the mould and spread it around as neatly as possible.
Step 5: Fasten and Secure
Use epoxy or glue gun to attach badge pins or pin tie tacks to your 'enamel' pins.