How To Make Cute Lapel Pins

I remember using shrink plastic to make little charm bracelets as a kid. This super fun material makes it easy to create cute charms!! I found some fun designs and made these trendy and cute lapel pins. This is a super easy project and I love how everything turned out. Here’s how to make cute lapel pins at home:

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

HOW TO MAKE THESE CUTE TUMBLR PINS

1. Find some cute designs

There are tons of cute designs to get inspiration from to make your own pins. I just looked through Pinterest and on Tumblr to find some fun ideas. Once I had the designs I wanted, I removed the color through the Prisma app which made it easier for me to trace. Use a word processing program to scale your designs to the size you want.



2. Trace your design onto the plastic sheets

Trace your designs on to the shrink paper according to the directions. The shrink paper will….shrink, so you want to create or trace your design about 2.5 times larger than you want it to shrink to. I aimed to keep all my drawings around 2.5″ – 3″.  I used washi tape to hold my shrink paper in place over my design. I traced all my designs with a black Sharpie marker.

3. Color in each design

Color in your cute designs with other Sharpie/permanent marker colors. I just bought this pack of Sharpies with a ton of colors and they worked perfectly for this. I didn’t have a white color though, so I just left those places blank/clear. The colors will darken when baked in the oven, so keep that in mind if you’re already using darker colors.

It’s ok if you color outside of the lines because you will cut off the excess part anyway. I tried to do an ombre effect with four different colors — just overlapping them slightly in the transition area.

4. Cut out the design

Once everything is colored in, cut out your designs. You can cut the shapes out with a little bit of the clear plastic as a boarder or you can just cut close to the black Sharpie line. This was the hardest part for me. You might need smaller scissors to help you navigate the more intricate designs. Since it is plastic, I found that if you actually closed the full scissor down, the cut would travel even further.

This unfortunately hurt some of my designs — especially this cute little cactus. So be careful to cut the designs as smoothly as you can.

5. Bake in the oven

Bake your shrink paper according to the directions. My directions called for 1-3 minutes at 325* F. This part was so much fun to watch. Be sure to lay out your aluminum foil on a baking sheet and space the designs out pretty far apart. As the designs bake, they start to twist and curl up — don’t worry, they’ll flatten back out again. But if they are too close together, they may touch and stick together. 🙁 And you won’t be able to un-stick them.

6. Flatten out each design

Once you remove your designs from the oven, they still may be a little bent or lifted at one end. Just flatten it with the a large book or a notebook; I just used a box of envelopes I had handy. You’ll want to do this right as you remove it from the oven, while they’re still warm.

OPTIONAL, BUT AWESOME

7. Add glitter

Totally optional step, but who does’t love a little glitter in their life!? I just sprinkled on the tiniest amount of extra fine glitter onto the top of a few of the designs and then sealed it in with the Mod Podge. Make sure you protect your work space with newspaper or parchment paper to catch any fallout glitter.



8. Seal your design

To seal in the glitter, or just to give your pin a shine without adding glitter, add the Mod Podge directly to the design and spread around with a paperclip or thumb tack. Sealing the design will help keep your colors vibrant and make it look more professional. You want to apply enough Mod Podge that it’ll cover the entire design in a small dome. Make sure you drag the Mod Podge as close to the edges of your designs as possible. I started by filling the middle of the design with the Mod Podge, then just dragging some to the edges. If there are any bubbles, just drag them out with the paperclip. Don’t overflow your design; it’ll harden with all that excess and possibly stick to your surface. Set aside to dry ~3 hours.

I was working on these at night, so I just let mine dry overnight. The Mod Podge looks cloudy or opaque at first, but it will dry clear.

The next day, my little charms were dry and looking amazing. The glitter sealed in really made a difference and they all looked super professional.

SIZE COMPARISON

Here’s a look at how much the shrink plastic shrunk:

It was a lot of fun to make these and see how the detail is still retained even though the charm shrank so much. These charms are small, but big enough for me to apply the pin backing. 

Here are all of the charms I made:

FINISH UP

9. Glue on pin backings

Use a hot glue gun to apply glue onto the pin backing, then press the pin backing onto the center of your design. SO CUTE!! Let them set for ~15 minutes to cool.

10. Add pin to cardstock

As a fun gift idea, you can add a pin to a small piece of cardstock to give as a gift. Add a cute note and this looks like you could have spent $10 at Urban Outfitters.

I used my hexagon hole punch to give my cardstock a little something extra! I love how they look; these would be the cutest gift.

WEAR

11. Enjoy your awesome pins!

 

I added these pins to my denim jacket and to my Kanken backpack and they look so good. I’m really happy with how these turned out and how easy they were to make. ♥