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How to Iron On Patches to Clothes and Accessories

Posted By Badges Plus | 31.01.2024
0121 236 1612
How to Iron On Patches to Clothes and Accessories

Iron-on patches have always been a beloved method for personalising clothing and accessories and are a great outlet for self-expression. With many people returning to a “make do and mend” philosophy and choosing to repair their clothes rather than replace them, custom iron-on patches are perfect for those with limited sewing skills. 


Whether you’re upcycling a denim jacket, customising a hat, or applying an embroidered patch to your favourite bag, you’ll need to know how to iron on a patch so it stays put and doesn’t fall off. In this guide, we’ll delve into the science of applying patches to clothing and accessories and give you some tips and tricks to achieve perfect results every time.


What is an Iron-on Patch?

An iron-on patch is a decorative embroidered patch with an adhesive backing that, when heated with an iron, adheres to clothing or items. Custom iron-on patches can be created with your chosen design which can be a name, a logo, a favourite sports team, or any unique design of your choice.


What is the Best Fabric for Iron On Patches?

Generally, cotton is considered the best fabric for iron-on patches, with denim and canvas being some of the most popular choices. Polyester is also a good option but it can’t take as much heat as cotton. Lightweight cotton fabric may not provide enough stability for an iron-on patch so opt for a medium to heavyweight fabric. 


You can use ironable patches on fleece fabric but you will need to use a lower heat setting. Use the recommended ironing setting on the care labels inside garments for guidance or set the iron to the specific fabric setting if this is an option. Fabrics like leather, nylon and other types of synthetic fabric should be avoided for iron-on patches, however, they may be more suitable for sew-on patches.


How To Iron On a Patch

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your custom iron-on patch

  • An iron 

  • An ironing board

  • Parchment paper or either a pillowcase or a thin tea towel to act as a barrier between the iron and the patch and fabric.

  • Your clean garment or accessory to apply the patch to


Step 1 - Prep Your Custom Iron Patch And Garment Or Accessory

The first step is to get your item ready for the custom patch. Make sure it is clean, dry and wrinkle-free so the patch will adhere securely. Also, make sure the adhesive side of the embroidered patch is free from hairs or debris.


Step 2 - Find The Correct Heat Settings 

If you plan to iron a patch onto a garment, first make sure the fabric is suitable, then set your iron to the heat settings on the care label. If your iron has a range of fabric settings, set it to the specified one. If your item has no care labels and you’re unsure what to set your iron to, place it on a low setting to be on the safe side. You may need to increase the time you apply the heat when the settings are lower.


Step 3 - Get the Area Ready for the Embroidered Patch

When the iron is heated and ready, iron the area of the garment or accessory in preparation for the patch. This will not only create a smooth surface but will heat the fabric and give the adhesive on your iron-on patch the best chance of bonding to the fabric.


Step 4 - Place Your Patch, Cover it With Parchment Paper and Iron

When you’re happy with the placement of your patch on your garment or accessory, cover it with parchment paper, a pillow case or a thin tea towel to prevent accidental burning.


Use the tip of the iron to start applying heat to the centre of the patch. This will help to stabilise it and prevent it from moving around as you move the iron. In a circular motion, iron over the parchment paper or cloth for between 60 and 90 seconds. 


Bear in mind, the heat needs to sufficiently melt the adhesive backing so it can fuse to the fabric so you may need to alter the time according to your heat settings. Lower heat settings may require longer pressing times. Pay attention to the edges and corners of the patch to ensure the patch has bonded securely.


Step 5 - Let It Cool Then Check The Patch Application

Once cooled, inspect the patch to make sure it has fused with the garment or accessory. Start with the edges and try to lift and pull the patch. If some edges lift, replace the parchment paper or cloth and repeat step 4 until the patch is securely attached.


Step 6 - Iron the Reverse Side of the Patch

If you are satisfied that your iron-on patch is secure, flip your garment or accessory to the reverse side, replace your parchment paper or cloth barrier and press the area again for around 30 seconds and let it cool.


Step 7 - Check the Patch and the Garment or Accessory

When you’ve successfully applied the iron-on patch and it has cooled, check it again to ensure all the edges or corners have fused. If you’ve applied your patch to a shirt or a hat, try it on to make sure your patch stays on during movement. 


Ironable Patches - Your Questions Answered


Do you iron on a patch with or without steam?

We recommend always ironing on patches without steam. Steam can interfere with the adhesive on the back of the patch and may result in uneven adhesion or may cause the patch to fall off over time. It is best to use a dry iron at the appropriate temperature for the fabric and the patch to ensure a secure bond.


Do iron-on patches wash off?

When properly applied, iron-on patches should not wash off easily. It's essential to follow care instructions for the garment, avoiding bleach, fabric softeners or high heat like tumble driers, as this can impact the longevity of the iron-on patch. The key to a long-lasting custom patch is to follow the application instructions correctly using the recommended temperature and apply adequate pressure while ironing.


Can I sew a patch after ironing it?

Yes, you can sew a patch after ironing. While ironing provides a convenient and quick method for fusing patches to fabric, sewing can offer additional security and durability. You can read our previous blog post for instructions on sewing embroidered badges.


Can you use a hair straightener to iron on a patch?

Yes, a hair straightener can be used in a pinch as an alternative to a traditional iron for applying embroidered iron-on patches. Ensure the straightener is clean and free from product residue that may stain the patch or the fabric. Follow the same principles as ironing and be sure to adjust the temperature according to the fabric and patch material, apply even pressure and stick to the recommended duration for the best results.


Why won't my iron-on patches stick?

The high-quality custom iron-on patches from Badges Plus should always adhere to the fabric when the patch is applied accurately. Several reasons could cause iron-on patches not to stick properly. Here are some common issues and solutions:


  • Incorrect Temperature - The adhesive on the patch won’t stick to the fabric if the iron is set to the wrong temperature. Adjust the temperature according to the fabric and patch material recommendations.

  • Inadequate Pressure - Insufficient pressure while ironing your patch may result in uneven adhesion. Press down firmly on the iron, ensuring even pressure across the entire patch.

  • Non-compatible fabric - Not all fabrics are suitable for iron-on patches. Make sure the fabric is compatible with heat applications. Alternatively, you can attach an iron-on patch by sewing it if using an iron is not appropriate.

  • Dirty or uneven surface - The fabric should be clean and flat before applying the patch. Wash and iron the accessory or garment beforehand to create an optimal surface for fusing the patch.

  • Washing and drying Issues - Follow the recommended care instructions for the garment, avoiding harsh chemicals and high heat.


How do I Create Custom Embroidered Patches?

Now you know how to iron on embroidered patches, how about creating your own custom patch? At Badges Plus, we can help you create custom iron-on patches with an embroidered design of your choice. If you have something in mind, our talented team of creatives can help bring your idea to life and design the embroidered patch to your specifications. Whether you want to create patches for clothes, bags or hats, our embroidered badges are ideal for repairs, customisation, promoting events and organisations and much more. 

If you’d like more information about creating custom iron-on patches, browse our bespoke embroidered badge page or contact our team who will be happy to help.

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