Asking the community: How are pins painted?

A while ago, we had a discussion on our Discord server on how the pins for pinning kits are painted, as achieving the same effect at home was quite appealing. For example, to accentuating the different pins for teaching, or to make cutaways more fancy.

In this short blog, I’ll share what has been tried, and how we can use your help to solve the mystery.

A picture of a pinning kit by Nigel, Toool UK.

The first clue was from a pinning kit manufacturer, as they shared with a community member that the pins were soaked in bowls of food coloring. I’ve bought water based, and later alcohol based food coloring and tried the same. The color doesn’t really stick to the surface of the metal surface, as the metal was not clean enough. I wasn’t too scientific about improving the wetting and tried different cleaners. The paint didn’t stick to the pins, came on thick, or rubbed off with a towel.

A better attempt was to use alcohol (based) paints used for arts and crafts, as the pins are indeed painted. But the effect was fairly uneven and the paint washed off easily.

The best attempt was also the simplest, by painting the pins with permanent markers. The process isn’t complicated, simply rub the permanent marker on the pins. For a one-off cutaway, this process is quite feasible, but not for big quantities. Cleaning the pins beforehand will likely improve the results as well.

Edding 390 permanent marker for scale.

We have tried a few ideas, but this is where we are currently stuck. If you have an idea on how to paint these pins more evenly, leave the suggestions below. It would even be better if you gave the suggestions a go and shared the results with us.

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