How to Iron On a Patch

Patches are a great way to add a little life to a garment or accessory. Your backpack or jacket may need something to display your views on life, show off your new achievement at camp, or honor your Army/Navy heritage. Many patches today come with a special type of backing that allows you to apply a patch to a surface using just a little heat and a good eye. There are a few ways to adhere iron on patches and we are going to explore those in this blog post.

Step 1: Preparation for Ironing on a patch

The first step is to ensure that your patch has the correct type of backing. When choosing a patch to iron, turn it over and ensure the backing is a plastic like film. It should have a slick hand feel and look like a thin plastic coating which during the application heats up and bonds to the surface of the material. If the patch has this type of backing, you are golden!

When choosing the item to adhere the patch to, it is important to remember a simple rule of thumb. The garment or accessory should have a fabric weigh equal to or greater than the patch you will be ironing on. You do not want to apply a thick patch to a thin garment. This rule also applies to embroidery.

Next prepare the garment or accessory for the patch application. Wash the garment and ensure it is dry and free from any lint or artifacts, and if the receiving item is an accessory such as a backpack then clean the surface thoroughly with a light soap to remove any oils and rinse well. Again make sure the item is dry.

Now we are ready for the actual ironing!

Step 2: Iron on the patch

Ensure the jacket, uniform, vest, or backpack surface to which you are applying the patch is on a stable heat resistant surface. An ironing board is a good example. Also ensure the item is free of wrinkles by ironing the garment first.

Next position the patch on the surface of the item artistically where you want it to be. Remember this is a fairly permanent process, and the plastic is extremely difficult to remove, so measure twice and iron once!

[quote]Remember this is a fairly permanent process, and the plastic is extremely difficult to remove, so measure twice and iron once![/quote]

Now turn on your iron to the highest setting your garment can handle and remove any water from the iron that is used for steaming. (We do not want steam while ironing the patch.) Once the iron is heating up, place a thin towel or heat resistant silicon sheet over your patch to protect the garment and patch being careful not to move the position. After the iron is heated to the setting you chose, place the iron over the patch and press down firmly keeping pressure and heat on the patch for 15-20 seconds so that the plastic melts and bonds to the garment.

Remove the iron and allow the patch and surface of the receiving garment or accessory to cool. Once cool, check the edges of the patch by gently lifting up to see if any portion did not adhere properly. If you notice any edges lifting from the patch, reapply the iron over the towel for another 10 seconds ensuring pressure once again and being mindful of the particular area needing attachment. Once again let the patch cool and check again, repeating the process until the patch is attached. Turn off the iron!

Congratulations you have successfully applied an iron on patch!

Step 3: Care for your patch

When considering long term application for your patch, please also consider sewing on your patch for extra support. This will ensure a long lasting patch for years and years.

Also when washing your garment, take extra care as the item will be raised and can snag easily. Because of this, we do not recommend you wash your garment in a standard washing machine, but rather consider washing the item by hand and laying flat to dry. Don’t wash the item more than necessary as repeated wear can cause undue stress to the bond between the patch and the garment.


3 thoughts on “How to Iron On a Patch

    1. We would not recommend ironing a patch onto a leather surface. We have found that in some cases, the leather can be damaged by the heat from pressing it on. If you would like to put an iron-on patch onto leather apparel, we would recommend sewing it on.

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