How to Iron on Patches to Clothes (and Backpacks!)

Whether you’ve decided to design a patch for your team’s uniform or just a label for your line of clothing, you’re going to either have to learn how to iron on patches or sew them on.

This holds true for both embroidered patches, the kind with raised surfaces, or woven patches which are flat and have a more intricate type of design.

No matter what kind of patch or label you decide on, you have the option of an iron-on backing, which is a thin adhesive that melts into the article of clothing with the help of a good old household iron.

If you know how to iron clothes, you can learn how to iron on patches.

Here’s the best way to put an iron-on patch on your clothing, whether it’s an item of clothing like a jean jacket or another article of fabric like a backpack.

How to Iron on Patches

Iron-on labels are a quick and easy way to attach your new label or patch. However, you should never use an iron-on patch for anything made out of leather or nylon; it’ll ruin your item, and it’s also very dangerous.

The good news is that you can sew on any iron-on patch whenever you want, so if your patch gets old after a while, or comes off from a lot of active use, you can go ahead and sew it on anyway. It actually helps hold the stitching together!

1. Prep the Clothing.

Before you break out the iron or the patch, you’ll want to inspect the article of clothing or whatever it is the patch goes on.

You should make sure it’s clean and free of wrinkles. Use that iron if you have to! You need a totally smooth, dry, and clean surface.

Check the tag of the garment to make sure it can even be ironed. Think about where you want to put the patch before you turn anything on.

An insignia or emblem should go on the breast pocket or high up on one of the sleeves by the shoulder. If you already have multiple patches, try and find a place where this one will stand out.

2. Set the Temperature.

Find the right setting on your iron for your type of clothing. You want to make the iron as hot as possible for that type of fabric.

if you’re unsure, heat it to between 138 and 152 degrees Celsius (which is 280-305 degrees F). Get someone to help you if you’re not sure about this part.

3. Iron the Area.

Now that you’ve found the perfect spot for your new patch, iron that spot with a low, circular motion for 10 to 15 seconds. This will help warm up the area, making it even more conducive to melting the patch onto the fabric.

Place the patch over the heated area and cover it with a small thin piece of fabric. A hand towel is good, as is a handkerchief or a pillowcase, which you can slip over one end of your ironing board.

Make sure you’re using a flat dry surface with plenty of room!

4. Iron the Patch.

Now iron it in place, taking care not to move the patch at all. Use a slow, circular motion just like you did before. Take your time and don’t get nervous.

Do this for about 10 to 15 seconds for a woven patch, and about 30 seconds for an embroidered patch or applique. Then remove the iron.

5. Check the Patch.

Take off the cover and carefully inspect the patch on the fabric — be careful, it’s hot! The patch should stick to the fabric all the way without any ends turning up.

If not, put the piece of cloth back on top and repeat the process for about another 30 seconds. Don’t use a circular motion this time.

6. Iron the Other Side.

When the patch is on securely, turn the clothing over carefully.

Place the fabric on the back of the clothing where the patch is and repeat the process.

By doing this, you’re melting the glue from behind and ensuring that it sticks fully all the way into the clothing. About 15 seconds should do here.

7. Let It Cool.

Once again, remove the fabric and take a look at your article of clothing.

If the patch appears to be securely on, and it should, let it cool for about 60 seconds before doing anything else. Remember, it’s really hot!

If for some reason the patch is not sticking all the way on, you may need to look into sewing it on, but you shouldn’t have that problem.

If you know someone who has a commercial heat machine you can always use one of those. Make sure a professional does it! They should only need to hold it in that press about half as long.

8. Test it Out!

When your garment or backpack comes back down to room temperature, go ahead and try it on as you would in your everyday life. See how well the patch holds up when you engage in a little physical activity.

If this is a sports uniform that’s going to be seeing a lot of motion, you may want to sew it in around the edges. Be sure to use a thread that’s the same color as the patch if you do.

If it’s an article of clothing that gets a lot of use and has to be cleaned often, keep an eye out for signs of the patch coming loose and sew it where necessary.

Usually, this isn’t a problem with well-made patches, but every article of clothing is different and has a different use, so it’s best to keep an eye on it.

Now Enjoy Your New Patch (Or Label)!

Learning how to iron on patches is simple, but it’s a process. If this is your first patch, trial and error will allow you to learn how to iron on patches or labels easier in the future.

Since you can custom design anything you want here, the sky’s the limit! Let your imagination run wild and create an article of clothing that’s uniquely yours.


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