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On what materials can you apply iron-on patches, and how?

how to apply patches

So you pulled out your old jean jacket, or your old backpack, and you want to bring it to life again with some patches. Or maybe you found an awesome patch you love on and you want to know how you can apply it. We’ll walk you through what materials you can use and how to do it in 4 easy steps.

Materials and backings

There are 4 different types of patches you can get. They are:

  • Iron-on backing: Durable, long-lasting, and best for cotton, denim, and work-out material.
  • Sew-on backing: Durable, long-lasting, and best for vinyl, leather, denim, and work-out material.
  • Velcro-backing: Durable, temporary backing, flexible, and best for polyester, nylon, spandex, vinyl, leather, and work-out material.
  • Adhesive: Easy to use, temporary backing, and best for cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, vinyl, leather, and work-out material.

Iron-on is the most popular and mainly what we carry on the site. The heat melts the adhesive on the back of the patch and makes it permanently stick to the material. There are better materials for this than others. Cotton and denim are the best by far, you’ll patch will last for a very long time (possibly ever). Other materials like polyester are possible however, you have to be cautious since it can easily damage the material if done wrong. The best thing to do is to check your clothing label to see if it allows ironing. Leather and silk and other delicate materials will not work. It’s best to use glue for those materials (check out E6000 glue ) or sew.

How to apply iron-on patches

Step 1: Find the place you want to put the patch. Make sure you’re happy with how it looks. If you are planning to add more patches in the future, make sure you have enough space for more. The adhesive side should be touching the material.
Step 2: Lay the item flat on a heat-resistant surface, like an ironing board.
Step 3: Make sure your iron is on the hottest setting and the steam option is turned off. Place a thin towel over the patch (like a tea towel) and hold the iron on top firmly for about 15-20 seconds. You may need to do this multiple times if you have a large patch.
Step 4: Remove the iron and towel and see if your patch’s edges are firmly attached to the material. If not, repeat step 3 until it is.


You are definitely able to wash your garments after you’ve applied a patch, however there are some things you should consider:

  • Don’t wash it right away, give it a couple of days before it gets contact with liquid.
  • Try to wash it as little as possible as this will help keep the patch on firmly. If you do wash it, wash it inside out.
  • When a patch falls off a garment, this usually indicates that either it has been subjected to too much heat (in the dryer) or too frequent washing. If the adhesive is no longer sticky you’ll either need to add new adhesive or stitch the patch back on. If you’re not keen on sewing the patch back in place, the best option is to apply fusible webbing to the back of the patch (cut to size), then iron the patch back on.

Overall, you have a lot of versatility when it comes to materials that you can put patches on and they can range from shirts, jeans, jackets, backpacks, hats, luggage, and much more. Not only is it a fun way to be creative, but it also displays your passions, likings, and much more.

Have fun!