How to Use Locking Backs
We've all been there: we proudly display our new favourite pin on a jacket or sweater only to find in the later hours, days or weeks that it's fallen off. Typically we notice its absence on a Monday, after tripping over the cat and spilling coffee everywhere, when the only thing preventing us from having a complete nervous breakdown is the knowledge that the aforementioned garment will look perfect with whatever pin adorns it. Damn Murphy's Law.
If you have been using butterfly clasps this has probably happened more times than you can count as they are notoriously unreliable, perhaps you've even lost a pin or two using rubber clutches, but with locking backs this will be a thing of the past.
Here's an overview of each option, followed by a "how to" for removing the locking backs.
These are probably the most common backs offered with enamel pins and resemble the butterfly backs on earrings. Their earring counterparts are perfect because of the ease with which you can get them on and off, as well as the lightweight material they are made from which doesn't weigh your earlobe down. For enamel pins however, these features are a recipe for disaster. They are rarely strong and sturdy enough to hold the weight of the pin, which can lead to pins just falling off, and due to the material used for their construction are easily bent or otherwise damaged. Further, due to the ease with which the clasps can be removed, they can get pulled off if snagged on something.
Increasingly rubber clutches are being offered with enamel pins, and whilst they come in a variety of colours you'll most likely find them in black. They are strong and sturdy, making them almost impossible to damage in any way, and due to the snug way in which they clutch the pin post they require nothing more than a little bit of patience and wriggling to remove them. For pins that are being taken on and off on a regular basis a rubber clutch is somewhat perfect, and certainly it offers far greater pin security than the aforementioned butterfly clasps; however it still doesn't offer the perfect steadfast security that most of us want for a collectible item such as an enamel pin.
Locking Pin Backs
Locking pin backs require no tools or special skills and whilst they do require a little patience to get the hang of they keep pins safe and secure. Further, if you want to attach your pin to an accessory or bag where it will come in repeated contact with other surfaces, these are the only backs to be considering.
To put the back on, you slide it onto the pin post as you would any other clasp or clutch. To remove the locking back, however, you need to pull its two parts AWAY from each other in order to release the inner locking system. I will admit that it isn't always simple; and depending on where the pin is, how sensitive your finger tips are, and how extensive your patience is, it could become rather frustrating. However, hopefully after the first few attempts it will become a lot easier.
The locking pin back has a large flat disc (attached to the body of the locking back) which lays closest to the pin, and a smaller disc (or ball, dependent on the style of locking back) that is farthest away from the pin. The trick is to hold the large flat disc firmly against the pin whilst pulling the top part away. This releases the internal locking system - you will often hear a little noise when the lock has been released - and allows the back to slide off.
If you want to pick up additional locking backs, you can do so here.