Frequently Asked Questions

Shipping and Handling

General questions and answers about shipping and handling. For more detailed information about Shipping and Handling, please check out the Shipping and Handling Page.

Your order will ship through USPS. I ship using USPS First Class Mail with tracking for all US Domestic orders as a standard option. If you need additional shipping options such as priority, overnight, signature, etc. please get in touch with me and I will work something out to get your package to you.

I can ship before and after postal holidays. Basically, if the post office is open and running, I can get your order in their hands. I am limited by postal holidays though, and if your order happens to fall on one of those, your order will ship the day after.

Note: I'm located in Florida and severe storms may cause some delays in my ability to ship your order within the usual shipping window of 1-3 business days. I will endeavor to ship your order as soon as the storm clears out and the post office opens.

There is an Express shipping option for USA customers that will get your order to you a little faster. Note that upgraded or guaranteed shipping will cost more than the standard option. Upgraded shipping is not available for international customers due to the high cost except via special request.

Tracking numbers and tracking updates are handled by USPS. When I process an order, you may receive a tracking number that will not work until it is entered in the USPS system. This may take a couple of hours or up to a day. If your tracking number cannot be found, give it a day or two and it should work. For Domestic and Tracked international orders, you can enter your tracking numbers into USPS' Tracking Tool. For International orders with Standard Shipping, you may be able to get some information about your parcel using my Shipping Forwarder's Tracking Tool. Please note that international orders with Standard Shipping may experience their tracking code cease to work once the package leaves the USA.

Oh, dear. First thing to try is to check all the nooks and crannies in the package to ensure everything is where it should be. Sometimes I secure my items in a layer of bubble wrap to protect them in transit. Sometimes, especially with international packages, the items may have been opened by customs and placed back into the packaging in a messy way. This might make some of them a little harder to find.

If you're missing an item from your order, don't hesitate to contact me via my Contact Form. When getting in touch with me, please let me know your order number, what you're missing from your order, and confirm your address with me and I'll have a replacement sent out as soon as possible.

If your tracking number states that the order was delivered, but it's not at your door then one of these scenarios might be the cause: USPS Missing Parcels.

After verifying that your parcel has not been picked up already by a family member or roommate or it has not been accidentally delivered to a neighbor, please get in touch with me. I may ask that we wait 1-2 days for domestic orders to see if USPS will still deliver as they are sometimes running a little late. After waiting a couple of days, I will likely send out a replacement parcel for you.

You should receive your tracking code when you receive your Tracking Note email or when you receive your Order Completed email. If you didn't receive a tracking number in either notification, and you've already checked your Spam folder, send me a message on my Contact Form: Contact Me and I'll track (hah) that tracking number down for you.

Note: International customers will find that their tracking numbers are most reliable while your package is in the United States. Once it leaves the USA, your tracking numbers may appear to stop working or cease updating. Don't worry, it's still on its way to you, USPS tracking numbers do not work reliably outside of the USA unless you selected the trackable shipping upon check out.

I can fix wrong addresses so long as the order is still in my possession. Once it leaves my hands, I can't fix addresses or make any adjustments. In this case, we will have to wait until it returns to me. Please remember to double-check your address when putting together an order. If you haven't received a tracking code yet for your order, you can still send me a message using the Contact Form with the corrected address.

If the package has already been dropped off with USPS, we will have to wait until it gets returned to me. When the package returns to me, I will resend it to your correct address.

The Express shipping option sends your package through USPS' Priority Mail service. The speed and reliability of this service is entirely in USPS' hands, sometimes it takes only a day and sometimes it can take up to a week depending on multiple factors such as weather delays, holidays, your local post office's efficiency, your regional hub, etc. USPS usually has alerts posted on their website if there are any delays to their Priority service.

The only part of the Express shipping option that I can control is the speed of processing. Barring illness or natural disaster, I will try my hardest to fulfill an Express order the same day it is placed or within one day.

Yep, I can add additional items to your order and invoice for the difference provided the order has not yet been shipped. If the order has already been shipped, it is probably best to make a new order for the additional items.

International Shipping

Questions specifically related to international shipping, customs and handling.

I ship worldwide, or at least, to any country that is able to accept mail from USPS. Global shipping lanes change frequently, but I generally am able to get mail to the vast majority of countries worldwide. I may recommend some customers use a mail forwarding service to help their mail pass through customs more easily and arrive more quickly and safely. I have more details about shipping both domestically (in USA) and internationally on my shipping page: Shipping and Transit Times

Unfortunately, shipping from the USA to other countries can be very expensive. Items that are flat and do not weigh very much and can fit into an envelope or padded mailer are often able to ship for a lower cost than items that can't be squished down or are inherently heavier and must be shipped in a box. Shipping a box overseas from the USA is almost always more expensive than a mailer, the heavier the box is, the more expensive it is to ship it. Sadly, shipping costs have been increasing year-over-year across the globe.

Some international orders may be pulled by your country's customs service for inspection and have customs fees levied upon them. These fees are the responsibility of the customer and is a tax levied upon you by your country's customs service. Please make sure you are aware of importing guidelines for your country as some restrictions may apply.

Some countries delay packages for customs inspections, which may extend the period of time it takes for your package to reach you by 1-3 weeks on average. Some countries may delay packages for customs inspections by up to 12 weeks or more.

You may receive a notification from your postal authority in the mail or by phone if there is a customs fee associated with your package. This fee must be paid to the appropriate authorities before your package can be delivered to you. Ignoring this fee will result in the package being sent back to me.

I declare all outgoing packages as accurately as possible in value, type and contents as it is against the law to falsify this information and will result in fines and penalties for the seller.

Due to the unpredictable nature associated with the logistics of international shipping, your order can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks to reach your location. If your order is held for customs inspection, it may be delayed by another 1-3 weeks on average.

You may receive a tracking code for your order which will track your package while it is in the United States. Once it leaves the US, your tracking code may no longer provide up-to-date information about your package's location and cannot be relied on to determine the location of your parcel.

All packages will be marked as commercially sold goods. Unfortunately, this is non-negotiable. It is illegal to falsely mark an item as a gift if it was a commercially sold product.

International customers will be asked to wait a number of additional weeks for your parcel to arrive. The amount of time I may ask you to wait has to do with the average transit time that I've calculated based on packages I've sent out to your country or region over the years. Some countries take longer to transit packages than others, so your wait time will vary.

The vast majority of the time, international parcels that have not yet arrived are being held by customs for inspection or are just running a bit late and are in the custody of your country's postal service. If your parcel is still missing after the additional wait, please get in touch with me again.

Unfortunately, most international postal services do not work with me and many of them do not recognize USPS tracking codes. If the package is already in your country, the most effective way to find out its current status is for you to contact your country or region's postal system for more information.

If the package is still within the USA, I can reach out to USPS to get more information on its whereabouts. However, once it leaves the US, I can no longer inquire about its transit time, method of delivery, current location, or handling.

Returns and exchanges

Use this section for any descriptive text you need to fill out your pages or to add introductory headings between other blocks.

If you decide to cancel an order that has not yet been shipped, please contact me and let me know your order number. If the order has already been sent out and reached you, I will ask that you return the items with as many of the original accompanying materials (ex. backing cards, post card, etc.) as possible.

Refunds are granted for defective products, missing products, or if you change your mind about an item. In many situations, I will request that the unwanted item be returned to me for quality assurance purposes.

If you have placed an order and it has not reached you, I cannot issue a refund until you receive the package. I also can't cancel orders that are in transit to you. Once the item has reached your home, please reach out to me and we can arrange for a return and refund situation.

Refunds must be in conjunction with a return of the item. I will request that you send the item back to me with as many of its original supporting materials as possible. If you do not wish to send the item back to me, a refund will not be granted. I need items to be returned, even items with a defect, because I need to inspect them myself to ensure future manufacturing or quality assurance issues do not occur.

Refunds will not be granted in instances where the item has been rendered defective through misuse or abuse of the item. Refunds will also not be granted for items purchased over three months past their delivery date to you.

Refunds will be processed for the value of the item or order where the total value is returned via the original payment method. For example, if you paid for the order using your PayPal account, the refund will only be returned to your PayPal account. Refunds will not be processed in the form of cash, coupons, money orders, gift cards, etc.

Sure thing! If you wish to return or exchange an item, please contact me first and let me know what you'd like to do. Just like with refunds, when you are exchanging an item, it must be in its original state. In other words, new and unused with its supporting materials.

Take a photo of the damage to send to me (I need the photo to file a claim with the post office) and let me know that your items arrived damaged. You can send me a message using the Contact Form, when I reply, you can send me the photo of the damage. Then let me know which item was damaged upon arrival and I'll send out a replacement if I have the item in stock. If it's out of stock, I will send a replacement as soon as I get more stock in. If the item was recently discontinued and you purchased the last one, I can offer a refund or you can pick a pin of equal value from my shop.

Enamel pins are generally pretty sturdy, but they do go through a lot during their journey to you. If your pins have bent or crooked posts, you can use a pair of pliers to gently and slowly bend them back and straighten them.

Generally, bent pin posts can be fixed and straightened easily and do not qualify for a replacement.

Sometimes the posts on your pins may have suffered more damage than that. Rarely, a post may have fallen off a pin. If the post has fallen off your pin, take a photo of the damage and send it to me. I will try to send out a replacement. If the pin in question is out of stock, I will send a replacement as soon as I get more stock in. If the pin in question is out of stock and discontinued, I will issue a refund for the value of the pin.

Replacements are only sent out for items that were damaged during their postal journey or shortly after (30 days of delivery) from normal use. I do not offer replacements for items that have been delivered to you beyond 30 days or items that were deliberately mistreated or misused. I also do not replace freebie items that may have been included in your orders.

If your item has broken within the 30 day replacement period, please get a photo of the damage to the item and send me a message using my Contact Form.

Tarnishing is a natural occurrence for plated jewelry and pins as a result of the metal's exposure to air and moisture. Tarnish occurring on your pins over time is not considered a valid reason for replacement.

Tarnish can be removed from your pins using a polishing paste or polishing cloth. Some pin collectors have also noted some success using toothpaste and a soft microfiber cloth to polish and remove tarnish from their pins.

I also have a page with more information about polishing your pins: Polishing Your Enamel Pins

Other Product Related Questions

General questions about the products offered in the catalog.

Seconds Grade pins have defects and flaws that prevent them from being sold for full price. You can check out my Pin Grading Scale for more details about what pins qualify for Standard, Seconds, Junk and Collector Grade.

To remove a locking back clutch from a pin post - Grasp the outer lip of the clutch and push the body of the clutch down slightly. You should not need a lot of force to separate the lip and the body. When these components have been separated, gently lift the clutch off of the post, you may need to wiggle the clutch slightly. Do not yank or bend the clutch because this may rip the post off the pin face.

To place a locking pin back onto a post - Insert the pin post into the hole of the clutch. Hold the body of the clutch between your fingers and gently press the body down on the pin post. The post and clutch will lock together when you hear a small "click" sound.

All orders with locking pin backs have the pin backs tested to ensure they can be placed onto the post and removed. Sometimes one pin back may not fit or release easily when it is placed on a different post--even if that other post is on the same pin.

To remove a stuck locking pin back, you will need a steady surface such as a table and a pair of pliers (pliers with serrated jaws are recommended because they'll give you a better grip).
1) Place the front side of the pin flat on the table.
2) Carefully use two fingers to push down on the barrel of the locking pin back.
3) Using the pliers, grip the cap or top of the pin back and lift up then release the barrel the pin back from your fingers.

Most of the time, this will work to free the pin back from your pin. Sometimes, the force of the pull may loosen the cap and separate it from the locking pin back. You can still remove the pin back using your pliers by gripping the small tube protruding from the barrel. If you need additional instructions or a visual guide to removing a stuck locking pin back, this video may be helpful: Removing a Stuck Locking Pin Back

There are several ways that manufacturers attach pin posts to the back. Some of them are flat mounted, and others are held inside of a domed casing. Usually if a pin post is inside of the domed casing, the post will appear to have a bit of wiggle. This is normal and should not affect the post and is not an indicator that the post is going to fall off. This slight wiggle in a domed casing post is actually a beneficial feature that helps prevent the post from snapping in half or coming off of the back of your pin.

The style of pin post used on a pin depends on a variety of factors including size, metal type, intricacies of cut-outs and design, and more.

The following diagrams show how these domed casing style pin posts work:

I gently tug on each post that is mounted inside of a casing to ensure that they won't come undone. Long story short--the "wiggles" are totally normal when these types of posts are used, the likelihood of the post coming off of your pin is less likely with the dome style of pin post.

A lot of considerations can go into determining which pin backs are right for you. Generally speaking, locking pin backs are good if you plan to wear your pin on a coat, shirt, bag, or another article of clothing that will move around a lot. Rubber pin backs are excellent if you plan to wear your pin on a hat or a tight-fitting shirt, rubber pin backs are also ideal for collectors who display their pins more than wear them, or individuals who have a hard time using locking pin backs. It should be noted that locking pin backs put a bit more stress on your pin posts, so some of the posts will wear out faster if used with a locking pin back vs. rubber/pvc pin back.

Oopsie pins have something wrong with them that cause them to not conform to the artwork. For example, some oopsie pins might be set in the wrong enamel color, have a typo on them, they may be missing a cut out where one should be, sometimes they were made too small or too large. Seconds are pins that conform to the artwork but may have some defects such as scratches, low fill, nicks or some relatively minor plating issues, etc.

Plated metals used on pins will naturally tarnish over time from exposure to air and moisture. You definitely can remove tarnish using a variety of tarnish removing products.

Tarnish can be removed from your pins using a polishing paste or polishing cloth. Some pin collectors have also noted some success using toothpaste and a soft microfiber cloth to polish and remove tarnish from their pins. Others have also used a baking soda and water bath. I have not tested either of these methods so I cannot vouch for them. I also have a page with more information about polishing your pins: Polishing Your Enamel Pins

I always recommend, before you use any tarnish removing agent on your pin, that you test it on a small area before you begin to apply and polish. I generally recommend against polishing or removing tarnish from soft enamel pins as it may harm the enamel finish on those.

Do not use a jewelry polishing machine on your pins, it may harm the plating and enamel.

Some plating and finish types weaken the bond between the pin base and the post (the spike on the pin). The welding or epoxy used to cement the pin post to the back of your pin will also wear out over time as a natural occurrence, though the vast majority of pin posts will remain affixed for many years, different wear styles and environmental factors will have an impact on the lifespan of your pin posts. Some factors that can weaken a pin post's hold a bit sooner include...

- Being worn on a surface that gets jostled a lot.
- Heavy handling, or if a pin is moved from a place frequently.
- Using locking pin backs.
- Being exposed to frequent shifts in temperature.
- Being exposed to high humidity or moisture.

If your pin post falls off, get in touch with me if you are within the replacement period and I will send out a replacement if I have that pin in stock. You can also try to glue the post back onto your pin base using E6000 glue or JB Weld if you want a more permanent bond.

The soda can and stemless wineglass glassware in my shop is safe in the dishwasher and microwave. The tumbler glasses are not safe in either the dishwasher or the microwave. Although my soda can glasses can be placed in the dishwasher, I still highly recommend hand washing all your glassware with a soft cloth or other soft and non-abrasive material to preserve the print on them. Avoid using something abrasive to wash the exterior as well because that will scrape off the print. It is also recommend you do not pour boiling water into your glassware or expose it to a rapid shift in temperature (for example, putting ice cubes into your glassware then pouring hot water into it). Always inspect your glassware for cracks or chips before use and remember to handle all hot liquids with caution.

Washi Tape and PET Tape are decorative stationery tapes. These tapes are best used for scrapbooking or stationery decoration. They are not meant for use on surfaces that will experience significant wear and tear, they aren't meant for areas that experience frequent temperature shifts, and they will wear quickly on surfaces that are exposed to the elements.

These tapes are not permanent and have a low tack to allow them to be repositioned, this means they don't have the higher tack of tapes like strapping, packaging or duct. Washi and PET tapes are slightly below masking tape in terms of tack value. In terms of their surface durability, washi tapes are made from a rice paper and have a thin coating ontop to resist a small amount of water, they are about as fragile as paper and will rip or tear. PET tapes are a little more durable than washi but they will rip or tear as well with abrasion.

The washi and PET tape is best used as stationery and decorative tapes for low contact surfaces, in journals, notebooks, and other stationery purposes. These are not meant for industrial use or use on items that will experience a lot of wear and tear, frequent contact, or abrasion.

Yes, the handkerchiefs I carry in my shops are able to be washed in a machine and dried in a machine. The label recommends hand washing and laying flat to dry as a precaution, but they tolerate machine washing and drying quite well.

When washing your handkerchief in the machine, make sure to wash them with like colors and use the cold water setting on your washing machine. When drying, use the low temperature tumble dry. Never use bleach on your handkerchiefs and do not dry clean them.

While I do try to make my product photos as accurate as possible, there is some variation in the photos in terms of colors of the actual product.

The photos are shot in daylight or using photography lights then color-corrected. Photos you see online on your computer may also appear different than colors in real life due to screen calibration differences so some unavoidable color variations may occur from what you see in the photographs.

If color accuracy is important for a product, please get in touch with me and I can try to get some different photos of the products for you.

My general rule of thumb is that if a product qualifies as a collectible item, it will be scrutinized and graded. I grade my enamel pins, prints and charms/keychains.

If a product qualifies more as a tool then it will be checked to ensure it conforms to design standards and functions properly as it should, but it will not be graded. Examples of products that are not graded include handkerchiefs, notepads, notebooks, rulers, stickers, tapes, phone grips, stencils, magnets and more. These non-collectible products may exhibit some minor flaws such as some flecks of the wrong color in small areas on a phone grip or light, surface-level scratches on a stencil or ruler, but these minor flaws will not hinder their overall appearance and do not affect their functionality.

Shop and Artwork Questions

Inquiries about my shop and artwork including wholesale, commissions and more.

Yes! Most of my designs are available for wholesale for brick and mortar shops, mass retail distribution, specialty store stockists, subscription boxes, and some online shops.

I prefer to run my wholesale either through business email communications or using my Faire Wholesale storefront. You can find my Faire shop here: Alum and Ink on Faire. You may need to sign up for a retailer account. Once you have an account, you should be able to easily and quickly access my Faire shop where my catalog of available wholesale items is up-to-date and easily shoppable.

For more information about Wholesale, check out my wholesale page: Wholesale and Stockists.

If you have any questions about products, your order, have a situation to report to me regarding someone violating my copyrights, or suggestions for future products please reach out to me using my contact form here on my website. I typically respond within a few hours unless I'm sleeping, traveling or taking a day off from work.

The Pin Points rewards program is for customers with an active account on Alum and Ink. The rewards are explained in the Pin Points reward system, if you log in and click on "Pin Points" in the lower right side of the screen, you can see how many points you have accrued and check out some other ways to earn points to spend in the store. You must have an account here on my shop in order to participate in the Pin Points system. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to me using my contact form.

Coupon codes from the rewards program do not expire.

Coupons are not stackable in the shop. This means that only one coupon or coupon code can be used per order, even if that coupon code was generated by the Pin Points program.

Yes, there are three ongoing coupon codes/promotions available. In order to get access to these coupons:

1) Join the newsletter list. Newsletters are released once a month around the 15th of the month with a new coupon code. You can join the mailing list by going here: Sign Up for the Newsletter

2) Let me know about a situation where someone is selling counterfeits of my products/artwork that I'm not already aware of. I try my best to look out for this kind of thing myself, but I cannot catch all instances of it. Unfortunately, there are also some situations where I cannot have a counterfeit taken down because the company selling or hosting the fake is not interested in complying So, sometimes you might be reporting something to me that I've been aware of for a while.

3) Join the Pin Points program (click the icon in the lower right that looks like a price tag with a heart in it). The program lets you gain points for some coupon codes over time.

Please keep in mind that coupon codes are not stackable. For example, if you have two coupon codes, both grant 12% off, you cannot use both on a single order to get 24% off.

No, I do not offer drop shipping, am not a drop shipper, or run a drop shipping program. I own, design for, conceptualize, pack and ship everything for Alum and Ink by myself. I also keep and manage my own inventory and every order is hand-packed personally by me or a helper who is usually a friend or family member during peak busy times and sale events. Nothing in my shop is drop shipped or fulfilled by anyone who is not myself or someone closely associated with me.

At the moment, I cannot dedicate any time to doing custom artwork or commissions. However, I do happily take requests or suggestions, so if you'd like to see me do an antelope pin, for example, feel free to reach out to me and I can add it to my to do list for a possible future pin.

Generally, yes. I do not have an issue with customers or collectors reselling my pins as long as the backstamp has not been altered in any way and you are not overcharging to an unreasonable degree to resell my pins (ex. selling a pin that I'm still carrying in my shop for $10 for $50). I also do not allow reselling counterfeits of my pins. You can usually tell if one of my pins is a counterfeit if it lacks a backstamp. All of my pins will feature either an "Alum and Ink" logo backstamp or an "A+I" logo backstamp. Please be aware that I'm not able to tell if a pin a third party is selling is a standard grade or seconds grade. Pins purchased from a third party are also no longer subject to my warranty for replacement.

I would prefer that you do not incorporate my artwork into another item or medium and use the result for commercial sale. All of the items I offer are original concepts and original artwork. Many of them are deeply personal to me and it thrills me to hear that they connect with many of you as well. However, I would greatly prefer that their imagery remain in their original state and that my artwork is not repurposed then resold as a commercial item or incorporated into another product and resold, especially my original characters.

Personal use or gifting is totally OK. I'm also OK with resale of my items such as in a garage sale, thrift sale, online secondhand sales, pin trading, pin sales etc.

I'm totally open to any suggestions or requests for any of my pins or needle minders to be converted into the alternate product. I usually keep an interest list and the more requests I get for a certain design or style of design, the more likely it is that I will design the conversion. Some designs cannot be converted 1:1 from pin to needle minder or vice versa. Many pins may require a slight redesign to eliminate cut-outs or reduce complexity but most can be converted.

You can also convert pins into needle minders yourself if you feel comfortable with the process. if the pin features the flat mounted pin post style (see my answer above about wiggly posts for more info), you can use a pair of pliers and a varying degree of force to remove the posts on the back and then sand down the rough edges. When removing the posts from the back of a pin, use a pair of toothed pliers, grip as close to the base of the post as possible and apply even and steady pressure side-to-side to loosen the post. Continue applying pressure and the post should come loose. If the pin is magnetic, you can use a single neodymium magnet of your choosing to convert the design into a needle minder. If the pin is not magnetic, you will need to glue on neodymium magnet to the back of your pin, and use the second one as the magnet attachment to make the needle minder stick to your project.

Pins that have the domed casing style pin post are often welded or affixed to the back of the pin using a more robust method so removing the post for these types of pins may be more difficult.

I draw using pencil and paper in a sketchbook most of the time. The sketchbook varies depending on what I feel like using at the time or what is easily available. I also use Procreate on an iPad Pro. Some of of my sketches are finalized using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. For some of my specialized designs or products, I may use AutoCAD or Blender3D.

Please reach out to me about tattoo approvals prior to getting a tattoo using my artwork.