[Complete Guide] How to Iron on Patches? Update 06/2022

Do you recall pleading with your mother to have your new Girl Scout or Boy Scout badges pressed onto your sash or uniform before an important outing? Nowadays, iron-on patches are used for a wide range of purposes, much beyond the simple merit badges you remember from your youth! There are many ways to incorporate patches into clothing, such as ironing them on or sewing them onto a piece of clothing.

The best way to apply an iron-on patch is to use an iron set to high heat and a pressing cloth to protect the fabric. Iron-on patches can be applied to a wide range of textiles, including cotton and polyester, but nylon, which is very heat-sensitive, is not one of them. Measurement tape or sewing pins can also assist attach the patch in the right place before ironing.

How To Iron On Patches

Can You Just Iron On Patches?

Using a high-heat iron and a pressing cloth is the ideal approach to apply an iron-on patch. When it comes to iron-on patches, nylon is a no-go since it’s too sensitive to heat. It is also helpful to secure the patch in the correct position before ironing by using a measuring tape or sewing pins to do so.

Embroidered patches, such as military ranks or Girl Scout or Boy Scout badges, were stitched by hand a long time ago. Now you can quickly and simply manufacture patches with almost any design because to digital embroidery machines. A fancy embroidery machine can digitize an image so you can sew it on a garment!

An embroidered emblem can be customized with virtually any image you can think of. Patches with pizza emojis are available for purchase for those who enjoy the food. Wearing a jacket or backpack with the band logo sewn on is a great way to show your support for your favorite band.

The process of making embroidered badges, although though it involves a lot of intricate computer design, is actually fairly straightforward. The computer transmits the design file to an embroidery machine, which creates numerous layers of stitching onto a cloth backing. The stitching on the reverse of the cloth is secured by a thin layer of plastic, which is then coated with an adhesive layer.

Before you begin, you’ll want to figure out how much heat you’ll need. Patches embroidered with thread have a thicker thread layer and that thin plastic layer sitting on top of adhesive, hence heat is required to melt glue in these patches! To avoid damaging your garment or ruining your patch, avoid overheating the thread or melting the plastic backing.

Patches should be applied at 270°F. If you’re looking for an iron with digital temperature controls, you’ll have to go elsewhere. Using a frying pan thermometer, you can determine the iron’s temperature. Alternatively, you can consult the iron’s owner’s manual, which will tell you just how high the settings can go.

As an example, most irons include a “cotton” setting that may reach 275°F.

If you have a heat press or a computerized temperature reading hair straightener, you may want to use those instead!

Check the heat sensitivity of the cloth in your outfit before you begin sewing. This information is normally found on the label attached to the product by the manufacturer.

In general, cotton-based fabrics, such as denim or jersey knit, can withstand a 270°F heat. However, nylon, high-performance athletic materials, or leather will melt or scorch at this high of a temperature!

For how long should you hold the iron on the patch? The time it takes to obtain this information varies based on the size and thickness of each badge, but in general, you should receive it when you purchase the patch. To ensure that your iron is securely in place, you should press it down for at least 30 seconds.

However, in the next part, you’ll discover some useful basic advice on how to iron a patch in eight various ways!

Do Iron on Patches Come Off

How to Iron-On Patches: 9 Methods

To iron on a patch, follow these basic steps, however the procedure may differ slightly based on the type of badge you select and the item you wish to apply the badge to, such as a shirt or a pair of shoes.

However, the fundamentals are the same in all processes. Make that your cloth can withstand hot temperatures. It is imperative that you carefully position the patch to avoid putting it on crookedly. In order to activate the glue on the badge’s back, you need to know just when to apply the heat.

1. On a Shirt

Because there are so many flat fabric surfaces to pick from, adding an embroidered patch to a shirt, jacket, or hoodie is a breeze.

Of course, you still need to locate the manufacturer’s label inside the shirt and ensure that it is okay to use an iron on the cloth before you begin the process. For example, ironing an emblem onto a silk shirt would be a horrible idea. Cotton T-shirts, denim jackets, and polyester hoodies are all excellent choices!

  1. Temperatures should be set to 270 degrees Fahrenheit. A “cotton” setting on most home irons is one of the hottest available settings and is commonly referred to as such.
  2. Next, figure out exactly where you want to place the patch. Use a tape measure and tailor’s chalk if you need to locate the perfect position. In order to avoid having a slanted patch in the center back of your jacket, you need to measure equal distances from the sides of the garment.
  3. Remove the patch and pre-press the area where you intend to place it after marking the location on the fabric. This will get rid of any wrinkles and warm the fabric at the same time.
  4. Place the patch where you want it. Make sure you remove the pins or clips before ironing the patch!
  5. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases with a pressing cloth. In the absence of a pressing cloth, you can use a tea towel or a cotton pillowcase.
  6. The time it takes to press a patch varies from one to the next. For most patches, though, you’ll need to press with a heat press for 12 seconds and an iron for 30 seconds. With your iron firmly held down, you’ll need to press down hard on it. Just push down on one location for as long as the iron is set to stay there.
  7. Finally, you should iron the fabric’s interior. Turning the garment inside out, finding the patched area, and pressing this area for an extra 30 seconds is the best way to do this for most clothing.

2. With Parchment Paper

When applying a patch, some manufacturers recommend using silicone-coated parchment paper instead of a pressing cloth. Bakers use parchment paper to line cookie sheets because it is inexpensive, effective, and has good heat resistance.

Note that you shouldn’t put a piece of paper in between your patch and the fabric. The patch should not be attached to your clothing or other object with the help of the paper. As an alternative, it serves as a barrier between the patch and the iron, protecting it from damage.

Make sure to use parchment paper instead of an iron to press delicate or sensitive regions.

If you buy a patch, it should tell you whether or not to use parchment paper when applying it.

3. Sticker Patches

Sticker patches refer to little iron-on patches used to adorn lapels, collars, phone cases, and hats, among other places. Because of their tiny size, you may need to press them for a shorter period of time than you would with their larger counterparts. Applying your sticker patch should be explained in the instructions that came with it.

An excellent piece of advice is to read the product description before purchasing a patch. The adhesive backing is not included in all sticker patches. Patches cannot be ironed on in this situation; instead, they must be sewn on or attached with fabric adhesive.

4. For Holes

Using iron-on patches to patch up holes or damaged portions of your clothing will help you get more wear out of them. Hole-repair iron-on patches are available online and at most craft and sewing supply stores.

There will be no embroidered designs on these patches. Because they are made of adhesive-backed fabric, they are essentially meant to match the original fabric of your garment.

  1. The first step is to find an iron-on patch that matches your garment’s fabric. So, if you have a hole in your jeans, look for a patch that is the same color as your denim’s wash.
  2. For the reverse side of the fabric, you will also need a tiny piece of fabric or denim. If you don’t, the patch will stick to the opposite side of the garment through the hole when you apply it!
  3. Use an iron to press the cloth surrounding the hole in your garment to produce a smooth, warm surface for the patch to rest on before applying it.
  4. Make sure your repair patch is at least half an inch larger on all sides than the hole’s dimensions.
  5. Place the patch on top of the hole in the clothing.
  6. Using the instructions that came with the patch, adjust the temperature of your iron and figure out how long you should press the patch. For the most part, you’ll have to hold the patch down for at least 30 seconds.
  7. You can now remove the scrap of fabric from the hole in your garment by turning it inside out. If the hole was small and the adhesive backing was not in direct contact with this fabric piece, it may be easy to peel away. To fix this, press down on the scrap for another 30 seconds, trim the edges into rounded corners, and then leave this in place!

5. For Work Clothes

Consider the dress code at your place of employment before applying any form of adhesive patch on your work attire.

  • First, many business-casual garments use types of fabric that may melt or scorch when exposed to high heat. Make sure you read the care label inside your clothing before applying a patch. It’s best not to apply a patch if the label states “dry clean only” or features an iron with an X over it.
  • First and foremost, many business-casual clothing are made of materials that can melt or scorch when exposed to high temperatures. Make sure you read the care label inside your clothing before applying a patch. It’s best not to apply a patch if the label states “dry clean only” or features an iron with an X over it.

6. On Jeans

In the first place, many business-casual clothing are made of materials that can melt or scorch when exposed to high temperatures. Check the care label on your clothing before putting a patch. Do not apply patches if the label states “dry clean only” or has a picture of iron on top of it that says “X”.

Applying a patch to a pair of jeans is as simple as following the above instructions. Use a pressing cloth or parchment paper to shield the embroidered side of the denim from the heat of the iron as you place the badge where you want it.

In this case, though, you must also include a protective layer on the inside of the pant leg. Use parchment paper or perhaps a piece of cardboard to stick up into the thigh for this purpose. If you don’t, you might have to sew the sock shut.

7. On Leather

Leather patches can be ironed on using an iron. To some extent, yes, but in general, no. Use an iron to assist you attach an embroidered badge to a leather surface, but avoid using heat on leather!

  1. The first step is to ensure that the leather surface you are working with is clean. Use a drop of dish soap in warm water and a sponge to clean leather. Then use a clean cloth to remove the soapy residue.
  2. Find a glue specifically designed for leather use, such as craft or fabric glue. It’s possible to find this information on the Internet, but you can also generally find it in the leatherworking area of a craft store.
  3. Apply a thin line of glue around the patch’s edge, and then place it on the leather with the embroidered side facing up.
  4. Do not use your iron while it is plugged in. To apply heat, place the iron’s flat plate on top of the patch.
  5. Wait a full 12 hours before serving.

The patch can be ironed onto a cloth scrap, sewn onto the leather, or you can utilize leather-working tools to do it. Patching leather using this technique results in a more long-lasting result.

8. On Shoes

With embroidered patches, you may personalize your canvas shoes in a unique manner. Many types of cloth shoes can easily be patched, but there are a few more procedures needed for these more rounder surfaces.

  1. To begin, indicate with chalk the location where you want the patch to go on your shoes.
  2. The next step is to pack the shoes with wads of paper. When using an iron, you must have a sturdy surface to press on. Unlike an ironed shirt, you can’t just spread out a shoe on an ironing board.
  3. It’s up to you where your patch goes.
  4. Cover it with a pressing cloth.
  5. Using a high-heat setting, such as cotton, push the iron down for about 30 seconds, then remove it. Instructions for pressing the patch may include a varied pressing time.
  6. Let the patch cool completely before removing the pressing cloth. To see if the patch is holding, gently pull on the edge of it.
  7. The patch cannot be easily ironed from the inside of the shoe so if the patch does not feel secure, repeat steps 4-6.

9. Without an Iron/With a Hair Straightener

It is possible to use a flat iron or a hair straightener instead of an iron in some cases! Digital temperature readings are common on hair straighteners, making them more convenient for use on patches.

You may heat both the front and back of the fabric at once, allowing you to finish adhesion much more rapidly.

A hair straightener’s only negative is that it only works on small objects. The cuffs and collar of a shirt can be embellished with patches applied to them. However, a shirt’s midsection or the knee of your jeans will be out of reach for the hinged straightening.

How to Iron on Patches on Polyester

Polyester can be ironed on patches, but you may need to use a lower iron temperature and a longer pressing time to compensate.

Polyester, for example, is a synthetic fabric that, when subjected to intense heat, can melt or discolor. As it turns out, your iron has a preset for polyester or synthetic fibers.

Polyester, on the other hand, can be ironed or heat-pressed. If you utilize the appropriate temperature, everything will be OK. If you’d prefer, you can use your iron’s highest heat setting while pressing the patch with a thick cotton t-shirt as an extra-thick pressing cloth instead.

To be honest, there are a lot of conflicting views on whether or not you should use iron-on patches on polyester. If you don’t want to risk ruining your garment, consider applying fabric adhesive or just stitching the patch to the polyester for a long-lasting fix that doesn’t require the use of heat.

Do Iron-on Patches Come Off?

The glue used in iron-on patches is rather powerful, and as long as you don’t remove them, they will stay in place. Peeling patches might be caused by dampness, abrasion, or even frequent movement.

In the event of a downpour, it is possible that patches on a denim jacket will hold moisture and eventually curl and peel away. The repeated motion of walking, sitting down, and standing up might wear away the adhesive on a patch placed on the knee of your trousers.

How Long Do Iron on Patches Last

Depending on where they are applied and what they are ironed onto, iron-on patches can last anywhere from a few hours to several months. It is possible that, if you often move a backpack or bag strap over a patch on your jacket, it will wear away and finally come loose from the jacket. Patches may come off in shoes or backpacks if the weather is particularly humid or rainy.

A hand-sewn whipstitch can be added after ironing the patch to prevent it from fraying. This is a quick and easy way to secure the patch’s edges.

Stitching can also be useful in large or complex patches, at least in some places. If you want to add a tree-shaped patch to the center back of your garment, you’ll need a 12″ patch. Although you may iron the tree badge on, getting the leaves and roots to adhere properly will require a lot of heat and pressure. Just to be sure that the edges don’t show up later, sew down any complicated parts of the design’s edge.

Aside from that, while iron-on patches may usually take the occasional hand washing, they should not be put in the washing machine.

There are a number of ways to secure a patch to a garment permanently, but stitching and ironing are two of the most common.

Do Iron on Patches Work on Denim?

Denim is a great material for iron-on patches. The fibers of denim are formed of cotton, which makes them ideal for adhering to the adhesive. Additionally, this fabric is able to withstand high temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about scorching it when you iron it!

Patches on denim can be used as a decorative element or to provide additional reinforcement in key areas, such as the knees of trousers and the elbows of jackets. As a result, you’ll be able to wear your clothes for much longer.

Where Can I Buy Iron on Patches?

If you pay enough, you can have a photo of you and your dog turned into an iron-on patch from a custom internet store like Etsy or Walmart.

However, if you’re looking for the widest selection, check out local craft shops or specialty online marketplaces like Etsy. Many small and medium-sized businesses now produce embroidered patches due to the ease with which digital design programs and computerized embroidery equipment can be acquired and used.

Is It Better to Sew or Iron on a Patch?

When it comes to applying a patch, there are several aspects to consider, such as how harsh you intend to wear the garment or item. Sewing on a patch is more time consuming, but the effects are more long-lasting than ironing on a patch.

A backpack that will be used every day, rain or shine, may benefit from having the patch sewn to it. You can save a lot of effort by simply ironing a little patch onto a shirt that you only plan to wear to work once or twice a year.


The patch’s adhesive backing may be activated with heat and pressure when ironed onto nearly any cloth surface. If the patch came with particular instructions, you should follow them, but in general, you want to utilize 270°F and 30 seconds of pressing time. As a precaution, you should always insert either a pressing cloth or parchment paper between the iron and the patch.

Cotton, denim, canvas, and polyester are all good candidates for this treatment. When applying a patch to a heat-sensitive fabric, such as nylon or silk, avoid using an iron.

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