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Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

How to Make Custom Patches

Designing your own high-quality custom patches is easier, cheaper, and faster than you probably think. Let’s learn how! 

By Owen Clarke

Creating a custom patch is a uniquely fulfilling experience. Not only do high-quality patches last for a lifetime, they can also transform a shirt, bag, sash, hat, or another mundane apparel item into a one-of-a-kind piece of merchandise. Whether you’re a member of a Boy Scout troop, paintball team, biker club, or business conference, the right custom patches will make you and your crew stand out from the crowd.

Don’t jump the gun, though. There’s a big difference between a shoddy patch that will end up hanging by threads after a few months of wear and tear… and a bombproof patch that will adorn your apparel and gear for years to come. 

In this post, we’ll teach you everything there is to know about creating your own patches.

several embroidered patches on a pair of denim jeans

Don’t DIY Your Custom Patch 

The biggest mistake you can make when trying to create a custom patch is doing it all by hand. Sure, a few scraps of cloth, marker, and some string can probably be jerry-rigged into a “patch” that will get the job done… That is, if you’re in a post-apocalyptic biker gang or Blackbeard’s crew. 

If you want a patch that looks good, wears good, and will stand the test of time, leave patchmaking to the professionals.

The best part about all this is: You design the patch down to the last detail, then let our expert crafting process take care of all the heavy lifting (and sewing). It’s that simple.

DIY the design, not the patch itself. You’ll thank us when you get your patches in the mail. 

Do Your Research 

Like any merch product, not all patches are created equal. There’s more than one custom patch company out there, but it’s important to consider a variety of factors before you make your choice. These include:

  • Price 

  • Quality 

  • Turnaround Time 

  • Hands-On Customer Service

  • Special Options 

Top-tier patches aren’t much use if they take eons to arrive. Rock-bottom prices aren’t worth much if the patches look like they were dropped in a blender after you wash your shirt a few times. 

High-quality products at low-tier prices are great, but if you have a problem with your order and you end up dealing with an outsourced customer service rep, someone who doesn’t know the first thing about custom patches… No Bueno.

So, find a company that can offer you all of the above, and more. You don’t just want to go with any old custom patch factory. 

Side Note: Do your due diligence, but we know you’re going to end up choosing The/Studio 🙂 simply because there’s no other custom merch company that can offer the prices, quality, and service we can. If you’re hesitant, check out our FAQs, and don’t stress with our 100% satisfaction guarantee!

Decide Which Type of Patch you Want 

Some companies offer just one type of patch. Not us. From Chenille to PVC to leather, we have patches made from all sorts of materials to suit all sorts of applications.

Embroidered Patches

Made with fabric backing and textured threading, an embroidered patch is what you think of when you think of a “classic” patch. Commonly known as a “cloth badge” these patches are our best-sellers. They’re thick, durable, and can support designs with up to nine different colors! Embroidered patches are popular with military and law enforcement organizations, motorcycle clubs, Scout troops, fashion brands, and fire departments.


Woven Patches

Made with fabric backing and flat threading, woven patches are ideal for highly detailed designs. They’re much thinner than an embroidered patch, so they’re recommended for sewing directly onto clothing rather than for individual sale. Woven patches are popular for airsoft and paintball teams, military organizations, outdoor and athleisure brands, and corporate merch.


Printed Patches

Made with fabric threading and digital or screen-printed with colored ink, printed patches are also thinner than embroidered patches, and feature UNLIMITED color options! The printing process makes them great for gradients and other detailed, vibrant designs. Printed patches offer the most accurate color matching of any patch type, so they’re great for capturing photorealistic designs, and for patches sewn onto clothing, bags, hats, or uniforms.


Chenille Patches

Fluffy, cozy Chenille patches are crafted with vaulted yarn weave, allowing a design to stand out with color and texture. These patches are often found on classic “Letterman” jackets, and work best with designs that include only one to three minimal details. Chenille patches are popular with sports teams, fashion brands that want that all-American look, and any designs with minimal, simplistic detail and coloring.


Bullion Patches

Bullion patches are the only patch type in our catalog that is made entirely by hand, requiring painstaking work on the part of our dedicated craftspeople. Each patch is formed using hand-stitched gold or silver wire to give off an iconic, luxury look. Bullion patches are our most expensive offering, recommended for luxury fashion brands, ceremonial military uniforms, and other high-end designs and applications.


PVC Patches

Made from high-quality, rubber-like plastic, PVC patches are our thickest and most durable patch option. These patches are both waterproof and flexible, so although they work well for any patch type requiring detailed designs, such as corporate merchandise, they’re optimal for high-intensity activities, such as aquatic brands, airsoft and paintball teams, military organizations, and outdoor groups.


Leather Patches

Made with 100% vegan leather, our leather patches offer a rustic, rugged look without the cost or ethical concerns that come with animal leather. Leather patches are available in a variety of colors (not just black and brown) and work great for everyone from luxurious fashion brands to motorcycle clubs.


How Patches are Made (Behind the Scenes)

All our patches (except for bullion patches) are crafted via machine, and we use a variety of machines to design a variety of patch styles, from leather to Chenille to woven to embroidered. It’s a complex process, and it changes dramatically depending on the type of patch being made. 

However, many of our most popular patches, such as embroidered and woven patches, go through two main processes before they’re ready: Digitization and Production.

Note: These steps don’t apply to some patches, such as our leather patches, which are built using molds.


After you submit your custom design, our expert “digitizers” recreate your design as a DST file, a file type that is directly useable on embroidery machines. They mimic your digital design stitch by stitch, line by line, so that the image becomes a template that the embroidery machine can emulate. Once you’ve approved this digitized design, and requested any required edits, production can begin (typically starting with a prototype, which you’ll approve as well).


With the DST file and all the materials for your custom patch, such as fabric, paperback, and threads, all loaded onto the machine, the major production step starts. Each machine operates slightly differently. Embroidery machines usually run at about 600+ stitches per minute, while woven patch machines can get up to 800 “threads” per minute. 

Regardless, all the sewing heads are moving at the same pace, sewing the same content at the same time, and creating multiple quantities (depending on the number of heads, it’s usually 20 at the same time). When the finished sheet slowly rolls out from the machine, it’s then cut by hot-cut knives so that the “rolls’ of patches are available directly off the machine.

The Custom Patch Ordering Process 

When you design a custom patch with us, you have two options. You can use the CREATE TOOL to design your patch from scratch, or you can chat directly with one of our Creative Specialists to get a bit of guidance before you get started.

Regardless, here are the steps you’ll take to whip up your first order of custom patches.

  1. Start by choosing which type of patch you want (see the options above).
  2. Choose the size of your patch.
  3. Choose the backing you want on your patch. 
  4. Submit your design. If you have a design already drawn up, you can submit that. If not, you can have one of our artists create a FREE design for you. 
  5. Once you submit your design and it’s digitized, you’ll receive a digital mock-up of your patch, and you can approve it or make edits.
  6. That approved design will be turned into a prototype. You’ll receive a picture of your physical prototype and you can approve it, or make edits.
  7. Finally, your feedback will be used to craft your very own custom patches. Soon, you’ll receive your patches by mail! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you’re unsure of anything, take time to read through some frequently asked questions from other patch creators who’ve used The/Studio. Chances are, whatever questions you may be mulling over in your head have probably been asked before! 





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