The following is a blog post I originally wrote for a Pin Portal website that I developed and built for a group of pin designers to catalogue their pin designs. The site had to be retired but the information is still fun to have around!
Maybe you’re a pin nerd from way back or a newbie who’s just outgrown your lapel and you’re looking for new and inventive ways to display your collection.
We’ve gathered a few ideas here from our makers and around the web to inspire you.
Made popular by Disney pin traders, lanyards are a great way to wear your flair to conventions, amusement parks and trading events. Or just pop your favorites onto your work ID badge lanyard to fly your geek flag with your co-workers.
For permanent displays, cork boards are popular with collectors. They allow accessibility and the freedom to easily move your pins around into themes like color groupings, pop culture collections or more. Corkboards can be found at most office supply stores but you can also get a little craftier by jazzing up boards with fancy frames or cutting them into your favorite shapes. Check out Etsy for custom made boards as well.
3. Embroidery Hoops
Cute, easy, round and easily customizable, embroidery hoops are perfect displays for small pin compilations. You can pick out your favorite fabric looks that accent your interior and the hoops come in a range of sizes so you can use them to display as few as one pin or as many as 20-30. Bonus: embroidery hoops allow folks that aren’t so great at Do It Yourself projects to feel like they can be great at Do It Yourself projects because you just need some scissors and the ability to tighten a thumb screw. Quick Tip: use a fabric with a looser weave if you intend to change your displays around often. Tight weaves/higher thread counts are more likely to be damaged by the pins going in and out frequently.
4. Earring Displays
For fashionistas that are looking for a quick view jewelry display that keeps the pin backs and pins together for ease of use, earring trees/displays are a great option. Keep them in your bathroom or boudoir or wherever you keep your daily accessories. Keep an eye on stores like Claire’s, Icing, Urban Outfitters, and more for usable displays.
5. Lamp Shades
Woven fabric lamp shades, like burlap, are an interesting display trend we’ve seen. Using a lamp shade allows the pins to become an interior design feature rather than just an accessory. You can add some sugar and spice to a room with your favorite pin combinations or just add a dash of flavor with one or two pins. With lamp shades, though, you have to keep your collection balanced so the shade doesn’t tilt one way or another.
6. Curated collections on specific apparel
What about when you still want to wear your pins but you just have too many? Start curating your collections. Put a grouping of black and silver pins on a black leather jacket. Parade your protest pins on the brim of your pussy hat. Affix all of your favorite designs on your your designer purse straps. Put your artsy pins on your pencil case, your horror pins on your glove cuffs, your kawaii pins on your scarf, your animal pins on a dog leash, your mermaid pins on your beach totes… you get the idea. By subdividing your stockpile it’ll actually start to look like you are NOT hoarding hard enamel and soft enamel “crack.” 😉
7. Pin cushions
Guess what – pin cushions are made for PINS! So why not repurpose them for little touches of crafty enamel design around your home? You may be able to find some great vintage pin cushions in thrift shops, antique stores or in Grandma’s attic.
8. Dress forms
Another great example of thinking outside of the box (or board, as it were) that we’ve seen around Pinterest and Instagram is using a dress form for your assorted pin backed collectibles. This is another good item to look for in your local charity store, estate sales or buy one new from a tailoring or sewing centric seller.
9. Pin pennants
Pin pennants have been showing up on Etsy and are good weekend DIY projects. You’ll need some string, ribbon or twine, your favorite textile (you’ll want something with a looser weave so that pins going in and out won’t cause irreparable harm to the fabric), a wooden dowel and needle and thread. (We wouldn’t reccommend just glue and string because, remember, your pins will be heavy.) Tutorials can be found on the internet. We like these displays because they allow you to get creative with decorating and also provide a good opportunity for up cycling some old favorite fibers. (i.e. Have a favorite denim jacket that you can’t wear anymore?)