A Guide to Iron On Patches

embroidered patch with iron on backing seeing from the backIron-on patches, (also known as heat sealers), possess a special kind of backing that allows a bond to be formed between the patch and its fabric upon heating. Luckily for you, most of these patches can be attached to garments using your simple home iron. In some cases, however, proper conditions are required, such as sufficient time, temperature and pressure. This will ensure the patch seals correctly. You can do this using a heat seal machine, which you’ll find at most local sports stores.

What exactly can these iron-on patches offer?

The heat seal backing that accompanies these patches adds some stiffness, letting them lie flat. They’re ideal for decorating casual clothing and can be easy to apply. People may use these patches for a multitude of reasons, whether it’s for fashion or costume designing, merchandise production, simple wardrobe wear or garments that need to be decorated in a short amount of time. They’re relatively cheap and easy to source and can serve their purpose excellently.

Specification of Gunold BSN Permanent Heat-Seal/Iron on FilmThere are, however, a few disadvantages.

Iron-on patches can only provide you with temporary security. They don’t last too long, and with each and every wash, their lifeline reduces even more so. If placed on sportswear, the physical patch will be disturbed frequently, affecting the bond that had been previously created. Therefore, it’s recommended that you avoid using iron-on patches with this type of clothing. Additionally, heat seals will not work with synthetic or elastic fabrics such as nylon, which can prove to be a slight inconvenience.

Some companies, claim their patches last 50-80 washes, due to their usage of robust adhesives. Others, however, roughly last 20-30 washes, which certainly isn’t ideal for clothing that’s worn frequently. If you’re planning on getting lots of wear out of a certain piece, perhaps consider using a different method of application. Here at Patchion we use Thermofoil Heat activated manufactured by Gunold called Permanent Heat-Seal Film. The professional iron on backing makes every patch extremely durable, even edges and borders will not come off.

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    So, how can you apply a heat seal patch?

    A needle and thread is a great way to begin – when applying the heat seal, some prefer to sew in a few stitches beforehand, holding the patch in the right place and reducing risk of peeling.

    Before you begin, make sure not to use fabrics that are easily damaged by heat. You should always carry out a test beforehand if you are doubtful.

    Let’s get started.

    1) Using your iron, set the temperature setting to ‘cotton’ or ‘high heat’.

    2) Lay out your desired garment, preferably on an ironing board.

    3) Preheat the area of the garment where you plan on attaching the patch. Put some cheap cloth between the iron and garment for protection. Next, press the iron firmly on top of the cloth for around ten seconds.

    4) Lay your patch on the spot you just heated. Put your cheap cloth on top of the embroidered part of your patch, in order to avoid burning the thread. Then, hold and press for a maximum of twenty seconds.

    5) If you can, repeat this but on the opposite side of the clothing. Keep on using that cheap cloth for protection.

    6) Although your glue will be extremely hot and liquefied, it will cool down and harden in little time. Therefore, it’s vital you don’t allow the patch to move or slide about before the glue cools. And if it does, the bond will be less secure.

    7) Finally, put your fabric aside and let it cool to room temperature.

    Now you know how to apply patches with an iron, how could you do the same with a commercial heat press machine?

    1) First of all, you need to preheat your garment to around 325-400 degrees, depending on its type.

    2) Place your patch on the preheated section.

    3) Heat the patch at the same temperature listed above and with medium pressure, for a maximum of twenty seconds.

    4) If you can, repeat this method on the opposite side of the garment.

    5) As previously mentioned, the glue will be hot but will cool quickly. Make sure not to move the patch.

    6) Put the piece of fabric to one side and allow it to cool to room temperature.

    Other popular types of backing include plastic, (which adds stiffness and support), adhesive, (non-permanent and better for a single event), hook-sided velcro, (commonly used with military applications), two-sided velcro, (ideal for garments without a loop fastener area ), or no backing at all.

    Hopefully, this article has given you a brief insight into iron-on patches. So, why don’t you try them for yourself?

    Contact us today for top quality custom embroidered patches and badges with iron on backing. Provide image/logo today. Get products ready within 2 weeks. We offer fast Europe delivery and worldwide shipping. Fill up the form and receive quotation within 2 hours (during UK business days).

    Merrow Border

    Merrow border – overlock

    Nice look professional badge edging.


    • Larger durability
    • Better aesthetics
    • Better looks from the side and front of a patch
    • Best possible protection against shredding
    • Hemming the edge with a decorative lace


    • Relatively thicker and wide bordering (width 3mm)
    • Higher price of a patch
    • Available only for simple shapes (rectangle, triangle, circle and simple shields shapes)

    Hot Cut Border

    Simple hot cut or hot knife edge 

    The edge is made using the same embroidery technique, which is used to embroider the design. Then the emblem is cut as close as possible to this edge. It is also finished off thermally (hot cut). It is necessary to straighten out and protect the edge.


    • Colour of the frame always ideally matches the whole design, it is made of the same thread.
    • Better look for smaller patches
    • Best solution for complicated shapes.
    • Thin bordering available (even 1mm).
    • Lover cost than merrow border.


    • Could occur impression of not finished patch from the side

    In most cases we suggest to use merrow border. You could always ask our staff for advice. We would be happy to reply all your questions.

    The Advantages and Disadvantages of Embroidered Patch Backings

    If you’re thinking about purchasing an embroidered patch that is custom made to suit your needs, you must first know what the most ideal backing material for your design. You also need to know the quality of the garment and the length of time the patch backings will last.

    Depending on the process, here are the three types of patch backing.

    1. Iron-On Backing with Heat Sealing.
    2. Velcro Backing with Hooks and Loops.
    3. Adhesive Backing with Stick-On or special adhesive.

    Before you make a decision, I will write down the advantages and disadvantages associated with each of them.

    Iron-On Backing

    When you use iron-on backing on your patch, you will only receive a temporary security, because it won't last long. This backing is ideal for ceremonial and casual clothing, but never uses it for any kind of exercises or training. They are mostly used to securely place the patch during the sewing process, so iron-on backing is not the best choice if you want to use it for your active lifestyle purposes.

    Advantages and Disadvantages:

    • Ideal for ceremonial purposes.
    • Avoid heavily worn.
    • Avoid frequent cleaning.

    VIDEO: How to Iron on an Patch

    Velcro Backing

    Velcro backing has two styles of the backing material. Hook-sided for males and Two-sided for both males and females. Hook-sided is the best choice when you need to change new patches frequently or other small adjustments like in the case of military and police uniforms. But if a loop fastener isn't attached on the clothing, we can use two-sided Velcro backing in the process.

    As in Iron-on, Velcro backing also has advantages and disadvantages:

    • More durable. You can remove the patches before cleaning so they last longer.
    • Greater Flexibility. The patches can be easily removed and reattached anytime.
    • The only disadvantage is because Velcro patches are attached loosely.

    Adhesive Backing

    The most popular and familiar kind of backing used for embroidered patches is adhesive backing. It's very convenient and the backing process is very easy. Today, this is the most ideal choice for short-term events. Adhesive backing is the best choice for one-time event, but it has its own disadvantage if you want to use for a long time.

    The advantages and disadvantages of adhesive backing are below:

    • Easy to use on any garment.
    • Ideal patch backing for a short time span.
    • Stay away when the patchwork is required to remain permanent.

    patch-attachBeacon Patch Attach is a special kind of glue that can offer an extra way to add patches onto clothing and garments. The glue joins any kind of fabric you may think of and there will be no need to sew. It is washable, non-toxic and can be removed easily when subjected to heat. Most important is this glue will keep your patches permanent.

    But among all of the methods above, the most ideal of attaching patches is by sewing them onto a garment. When sewn, the patch remains attached on the cloth for a long period of time. Experts claim that it can even last for decades.

    Having made a decision on the kind of backing you need, it is now the time to look for an expert to do all the necessary steps in designing the patches. Our business is specializing in designing the custom patches for any occasions that our customers will love. Reach out to us and we shall be ready to assist you.