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Want to Design a ‘Stupid’ Best-Selling Pin? Here's a Step-by-Step Guide

Photo: Courtesy of Penelope Gazin

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Want to make a lil' enamel pin that goes viral and sells out on Etsy?

Here, it's easy:

OK, "How to Make a Best Selling Stupid Lapel Pin" may be a joke. But the step-by-step guide, posted by designer Penelope Gazin, shows just how unimaginative one can be to make the pins that seem to be getting edgier and more aggressive by the day.

With the slow and steady rise of customization, the tiny little enamel buttons have become pretty pervasive, popping up in fashion chains like Urban Outfitters and Zara, not to mention their own stores. But not all pins are created equal, according to Gazin.

"Anyone can make pins, but not all pin sellers are designers, since many just drag and drop images from the internet," says Gazin, whose describes herself on Instagram as a "painter/animator/music(?) stuff/dancer." "I've just been getting annoyed with people taking other artists' work and making pins."

She says that the swindling is so real that people have stolen the artwork her brother did for an album to use on pins without giving him credit. So like any badass sister/illustrator, she decided to call it out by revealing her hilarious pin "designing guide" to the world (and her roughly 25.5k followers).

Step 1 requires a cliché base, like a middle finger or a Bart Simpson head. Step 2 involves a quote — a sexual pun, a '90s reference, or a threat of some kind. "The Simpsons is somewhat understandable, though I still think it's totally lame to just take a Simpsons image directly and turn it into a pin," said Gazin.

Gazin gave it a shot herself, posting some "stupid ideas" she created using the chart in just 60 seconds:

Gazin has been in the pin game for a little over a year , but has been selling versions of her actual art as paraphernalia on Etsy for five years. She's even in the process of launching her own website, similar to Etsy, that will only sell artists that have been invited onto the site. "It's called Witchsy and will be open to the public in about two weeks. We currently have 500 different pin designs from over 100 artists up on the site," Gazin says.

You probably won't find your stereotypical Bart pin over at Witchsy. "My partner and I have been very picky about which types of pins we will sell. So no Simpsons pins unless it's a very creative interpretation. We try to stay away from too many pop culture references and any images that strike us as cheap or pandering," says Gazin.

Today! These guys are new or back in stock in the shop right now.

A photo posted by Penelope Gazin (@penelopegazin) on

Some highlights from Gazin's own Etsy account include a cat that says "cry baby" and a blow dryer pin that reads "blow me." She has even found ways to push the medium by incorporating chains and spinning elements to her pins.

"They remind me of tattoos, because people decorate themselves with their favorite images that also tell a story about themselves, and they also make perfect gifts," says Gazin. "They are a very personal present you can give to someone, like, 'Hey, I got you this pin of a bouquet of roses in a bong because I know what a romantic stoner you are'."

Props to the real pin sellers out there. The pin game is no joke.

Life as a pin seller - rg @mikeburakoff #pingame

A photo posted by Witchsy (@shopwitchsy) on