How Do I Create a Custom Coin? A Step-by-Step Guide

7 minute read

Published on: 27 Sep 2022

Last modified on: 29 Mar 2024

How do I Create a Custom Coin?
Table of Contents

Creating a custom challenge coin can be easy. You don’t even need to know how to use graphic design programs to create your designs, as we can help design the challenge coin for you based off your ideas. In this blog post, learn how to create a custom coin with Custom Challenge Coins.

Top Article Highlights

  • Custom Challenge Coins can assist in designing challenge coins based on your ideas, even if you lack graphic design skills, making the creation process accessible to everyone.
  • The article outlines various styles of challenge coins, including soft and hard enamel, die struck, and ceramic, each offering a distinct appearance and texture to suit different preferences.
  • Plating options play a crucial role in the final look of the coin, with choices ranging from polished and antique plating to two-tone and rainbow plating, allowing for further customization.
  • Edge design is an additional customizable feature, with multiple options like rope, chain, spur, and more, contributing to the coin's uniqueness.
  • Custom Challenge Coins offers a range of upgrades and presentation options, including custom shapes, 3D designs, protective coatings, and various packaging, to enhance the final product.

Identify the Purpose of Your Custom Challenge Coin

Challenge coins can be given for a variety of purposes and organizations. Typically, challenge coins given to those of a lower rank have less personalization, as each member of the team or unit receives the same one. Challenge coins given uprank to supervisors might be larger, with more personalization and upgrades. By identifying the purpose of your custom challenge coin, you can decide what type of coin you want and how personalized you want it to be.

Decide on the Style

One of the first important decisions you’ll make when creating a custom challenge coin is related to the coin’s appearance. The style of coin you choose will have a lot to do with how you’re able to design it.

Soft Enamel Challenge Coins

Soft enamel is the most common design style used in challenge coins. It uses raised metal to separate the enamel paint in the recessed areas. This gives the challenge coin a textured finish.

Hard Enamel Challenge Coins

Hard enamel challenge coins are similar to soft enamel challenge coins. However, with hard enamel coins, the enamel and the recessed sections of the coin are made flush with each other. This gives the coin a nice, smooth finish. 

Die Struck Challenge Coins

Die struck challenge coins do not use any enamel paint and feature the look of the metal itself. The design is displayed with the raised and recessed areas of the coin. Many people prefer the look of die struck coins. The raised sections of your design are typically polished, while the recessed areas feature a sandblasted finish. 

Ceramic Coins

Another option of coin we offer at Custom Challenge Coins is the ceramic coin. This is often referred to as a poker chip. Most poker chips are round, but we can accommodate different sizes and shapes, too. Ceramic coins have full color printing.

Choose the Plating

The plating is the layer of metal added to the outside of the coin. There are many different options to choose from. The type of plating you choose has a big impact on how your finished custom challenge coin looks. 

Challenge Coin Plating Options

Polished Platings

Polished platings are reflective and shiny. Custom Challenge Coins currently offers polished platings in gold, copper, brass, silver, nickel, and black nickel. 

Antique Platings

Antique platings are not reflective. With antique platings, your design will have a darker finish in the recessed areas. This creates a more eye-catching level of contrast. This makes it an ideal plating for designs with many intricate details. Custom Challenge Coins currently offers antique platings in gold, copper, brass, silver, or nickel.

Two-Tone Platings

If you have difficulty deciding between two platings or want to create a unique look, we also offer two-tone platings. This is where you choose two different platings to be used on the same challenge coin. 

Rainbow Platings

Rainbow plating is a unique and beautiful plating choice that shifts color when you view it from different angles.

Consider Your Coin’s Edge Design

There are different designs that you can select for the coin’s edge. This includes the standard flat, rope, chain, spur, bevel, scallop, crosscut, oblique line, and reeded. We also offer custom edges.

Challenge Coin Edging Option

Finalize the Design of Your Custom Challenge Coin

Once you have an idea of what kind of plating, style, design, and purpose you have for your custom challenge coin, you can finalize the design of your coin. This can happen in one of two ways. Some customers already have a design in mind for their coin, whether it’s a full graphic image or their company’s logo. In this case, you would submit your files to the graphics team and they would send you a proof of your image before production. 

How do I create custom challenge coins
How Do I Create Custom Challenge Coins

Sometimes, customers do not know what they want the design of their custom challenge coin to be. In these cases, our graphic design team is happy to help you. You can set up a consultation with our designers or you can work from a database of existing designs for inspiration. 

Upgrade Your Design

Challenge Coin Design Process

At Custom Challenge Coins, we offer several premium upgrades that you can consider. These include:

Choose Your Size

Challenge Coin Sizing Guide

After you have an idea of the design and upgrades, you need to choose and finalize the size of your coin. You get to choose the size and the thickness of your final coin. Just remember that more intricate designs look better on larger coins where there is more space to feature the design.

Select Presentation Options

You can opt to order different presentation items for your custom coins. These include:

  • PVC envelopes
  • Velvet bag
  • Coin capsule
  • Acrylic case
  • Plastic stand
  • Velvet box

Custom Challenge Coins offers PVC envelopes at no cost to customers. It is the default presentation option available.

Get Help Creating Your Custom Challenge Coin

Deciding what you want to do with your custom challenge coin is an important aspect of the coin’s design. Knowing what your coin’s purpose is, choosing the right type of plating, and deciding how you want to design and present your token will all impact how it looks and what it means to you. Custom Challenge Coins understands your needs and wants when building a custom challenge coin. 

At Custom Challenge Coins, we can help you create a custom challenge coin. We can turn your vision into a stunning challenge coin. If you aren't able to develop a concept on your own, contact us or chat with us to get in touch with our graphic design team. We can work together to create a custom challenge coin. 

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After retiring from the military, Jack moved to Austin, Texas, to start a new chapter in his life. He has always been passionate about storytelling and decided to become a writer and podcaster. He runs a successful podcast where he discusses military history, shares personal anecdotes, and interviews other veterans. Jack also writes often about military traditions and history.

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All Rights Reserved. All symbols, logos and slogans depicted are registered trademarks of their respective owners. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense visual information does not imply or constitute endorsement. By submitting designs to, subsidiary of MetalPromo LLC, the purchasing party warrants that he, she, or it has/had the legal right to reproduce (or have reproduced) any logos or other images associated with his/her/its order. Samples on the site are for illustrative purposes only and are not for sale.
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