How To Iron On Patches

How To Iron On Patches

You just received your fancy new iron-on patches in the mail and now you’re wondering just how to attach them to your garment. Well, wonder no more! Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to iron on your brand new patch(es). Step 1.)  Check and make sure your patch is an iron on patch. This might ...

Mark Anderson

You just received your fancy new iron-on patches in the mail and now you’re wondering just how to attach them to your garment.

Well, wonder no more! Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to iron on your brand new patch(es).

Step 1.)  Check and make sure your patch is an iron on patch.

Iron-on Patch Backing
Iron-on Backing

This might seem like an obvious step, however, there are quite a few different types of custom patches and backings. You can try to iron on a Velcro patch, but you probably won’t have much luck.

Iron on patches have a shiny backing that is NOT adhesive until heat is applied, so it won’t feel sticky to the touch. Some patches have tape backing which is adhesive, but this type of backing isn’t permanent is and only recommended for situations where you’d like to remove the patches after use.

Plastic Patch Backing
Plastic Backing

There are also patches with standard plastic backing, but one easy way to tell if it’s iron-on or plastic is by looking at the border on the back. Iron on patches will have the adhesive all the way to the edges, while plastic-backed patches will usually NOT have plastic on the border, as you can see in the two images above.

Denim Jacket

Step 2.) Gather the garment(s) which seem like a good home for your new patch.

Break out that sweet denim jacket for your new concert patches or the tee-shirt that needs a new pocket patch.

Denim and cotton are great fabrics for patches, and you want to avoid more delicate fabrics like silk or lace. Polyester garments can support an iron on patch, but you want to be very careful when applying the iron, as it can easily cause burns or discoloration. Leather is also not a good candidate for an iron-on patch, as the adhesive doesn’t work well on leather. You don’t want to risk damaging your awesome leather biker jacket with an iron!

Check the tag of your garment to see if there’s any information about ironing. If ironing isn’t recommended for that particular article of clothing, it will have a crossed-out iron icon on the tag.

Iron-on Patch Placement

Step 3.) Decide where you want to place the patch.

Definitely something you want to decide BEFORE you break out the hot iron!

For shirts, patches generally work best on the chest, a breast pocket, or on the sleeve. If the patch is small enough, it can also look great on the collar.

For jackets, a sleeve or chest pocket is usually ideal unless you’re going for the all-over, 80s punk rock type of look with your jacket, in which case, go crazy. Just be sure to plan the placement of your patch if you’re going to put more on later. You don’t want to run out of room.

There’s no WRONG way to wear your patch, so whatever you think looks good, go for it! We promise we won’t judge.

Iron-on Patch Surface

Step 4.) Prepare your ironing surface.

Find a sturdy, flat surface to iron your patch(es) on. Make sure it’s something that can support a good amount of weight as you’ll need to push down on the patch at a later point. We don’t want to have any mishaps with your garment, or worse, your iron falling!

Obviously, the easiest surface will be an ironing board, but in the event you don’t have one, a table will work. If you use a table, however, make sure you lay a bath towel down first. Fold the towel over once to prevent any heat from reaching your table.


Step 5.) Prepare the iron.

Turn the iron on and set it to the hottest temperature your fabric can handle (the iron should have different settings for different fabrics.) Do NOT use the steam setting and make sure there is no water in the iron.

Ironing Shirt

Step 6.) Iron your garment.

Before you do anything with the patch, iron the garment first to make sure there aren’t any wrinkles. A wrinkle in the garment could lead to issues with the patch adhering incorrectly, so make sure your garment is completely smoothed out!

NOTE: You can use the steam setting to iron the garment before the patch, just be sure to let the garment dry before you place your patch.

Patch Placement

Step 7.) Place your patch on the garment.

Be meticulous. Make sure your patch is lined up exactly how you want it. Once your patch is adhered, you won’t get another opportunity to move it!

Iron-on Patch Towel

Step 8.) Cover the patch with a thin towel.

The towel helps protect the patch; you never want to place the iron directly onto the patch. You’ve made it this far, don’t burn your patch! Be careful not to move the patch when you cover it.

How To Iron On Patch

Step 9.) Push! (Straight Down)

Place the iron over the area with the patch and apply as much pressure as you can (without breaking your ironing board or causing the garment to move.) Do NOT move the iron. Apply pressure for about 15 seconds or so, then release.

Iron Cooling

Step 10.) Remove the iron and give the patch a minute or two to cool.

Give the patch time to cool before moving your garment.

Iron-on Patch Pocket

Step 11.) Check your patch to make sure it’s fully adhered.

Gently rub the edges of the patch with your finger. Does the patch move or do the edges lift? If so, cover it with the towel again and apply another 10 seconds of pressure with the iron.

Thumbs Up

Step 12.) You’re done!

Continue keeping an eye on your patch to make sure it’s properly adhered.

Caring for your new patch: If possible, consider sewing the patch. Iron on patches are meant to be permanent, however, they can become loosened over time after multiple washings. If you can, wash the garment(s) by hand in cold water and allow it to air dry.

There you have it! Now you know how to iron on your new patches in no time at all.

Have tips or questions? Leave a comment down below!

Interested in ordering your own custom iron-on patches? Send us an email at [email protected], give us a call at 1-800-423-0449, or fill out our free quote form!