How To Put a Patch on a Backpack

Patches are a great way to add a personal touch to your backpack. They come in several shapes, sizes, and designs. Books, movies, cartoons, songs, organizations – there’s a patch for everything. They can be used to express your interests or membership in a group or club. Patches can also be used to hide and repair holes or tears in the fabric.

There are also several types of patches, for example, iron-on, sew-on, hook and loop, magnetic, and press-on. These categories refer to how the patches can be attached, and each category usually has a specific backing. Each type of patch is affixed in different ways.

Before buying a patch, consider the bag – and type of material – you want to put it on. Certain types of patches are incompatible with certain materials.

Iron-On Patches

Tools and Materials

Iron-on patches are a simple but effective way to add flair to your backpack. They’re pretty easy to apply; you need the right materials:

  • An ironing board or a heat-resistant flat surface, such as a stone countertop. Avoid plastic and wooded surfaces.
  • A pressing cloth – a small piece of cloth that is placed between the iron and the patch to protect the delicate material.
  • An iron. Avoid using steam when attaching iron-on patches; steam damages the patches and makes it harder for them to adhere to the material.
  • A timer to help you keep time for each step of the application process. You want to ensure you’re not using the iron for too long, or you risk burning the material – but if youdon’t use it for long enough, it may not stick.
  • Your patches! Be sure to read the instructions for each patch before you get started. They usually come with recommended temperature settings, so you can ensure the iron won’t cause damage from being too hot.


Once you have all the materials, attaching patches is quick and easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Check that your backpack is made of non-synthetic material. Synthetic materials such as nylon will melt when using an iron. Opt for materials like canvas, denim, or cotton.
  2. Work on a clean, heat-resistant surface. Make sure nothing is under or around the bag while you’re working.
  3. Turn the iron on to the correct temperature setting and allow it to heat. Ensure it’s set on a stable, heat-safe surface and away from flammable material.
  4. Lay the bag flat on the work surface and ensure no wrinkles –patches stick best to flat surfaces. If the fabric is wrinkled, iron the section where you want to put the patch.
  5. Put the patch on the bag and lay the pressing cloth on top. Iron the area for 30 seconds, moving the iron in gentle circular motions. Ensure you cover the entire patch area, especially around the edges. Otherwise, it may not adhere well.
  6. Remove the pressing cloth and carefully check the patch. It should be completely attached. Use caution – the area will still be hot! If there are gaps or wrinkles around the edges, repeat step 5.
  7. Iron the other side of the patch by working in the backpack or turning it inside out. Move the iron in small circles for 15 seconds to help complete the seal. Now you’re done!


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 Sew On Patches

Tools and Materials

Sew-on patches are great for longevity. Glue and other patch adhesives can wear out over time, especially after washing. Here’s everything you need to use sew-on patches by hand:

  • The correct size sewing needle. Choose larger needles – such as embroidery needles – for thicker fabrics. Use smaller needles for thinner, more delicate fabrics.
  • Colored thread. The color is totally up to personal preference. Many people choose a thread color similar to the background fabric or the patch’s edges.
  • Sewing pins. These will keep the patch in place as you sew it on.
  • Optional: a thimble. Thimbles are small caps for your fingers that help protect them from getting poked by the needle. These are especially handy when working with thick fabric that might require more force to pass the needle through.
  • The patch! Most can be sewn on, even if they have an adhesive backing.


Sewing may seem intimidating, but it’s pretty simple and easy to pick up. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Decide where the patch will go. The great thing about sew-on patches is that they can be used to repair rips and holes in the material. Remove any leftover strings or fibers around the hole if you use the patch to seal a tear.
  2. Lay the patch in the area you want it to go. If you’re coving a rip, ensure the patch covers it completely.
  3. Temporarily attach the patch using either pins or adhesive. You can sew iron-on and velcro patches to make them more secure. If there’s no adhesive backing, use the sewing pins to secure the patch while you work.
  4. Thread your needle. Most bags are made of thick fabrics, so it’s best to double up on the thread. Tie the end knot, and you’re ready to go!
  5. Sew the back stitch. Backstitch is one of the most secure – and most accessible – stitch techniques. Begin by pushing the needle through the underside of the fabric and patch so that the knot is inside the bag. Push the needle down through the material, and bring it back up about a quarter inch away from the initial hole. Push it back through the initial hole, and repeat.
  6. Once you’ve completed the border, push the needle back down through the fabric on the side where the first knot is. Tie a final knot and trim any excess string.

Bonding Patches

Tools and Materials

Bonding patchings are the most accessible type of patch to apply. Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A hard surface to put the bonding patch on. These patches last the longest on hard, solid surfaces like helmets, laptops, and water bottles.
  • A cleaning cloth, soap, and water to clean the area.
  • Optional: Flat, heavy objects, such as several large books or boxes. You can use these to press the patch on.
  • Your patches!


Bonding patches are very simple to apply. They’re more like stickers than traditional patches. Here’s how you put them on:

  1. Clean the area where you want the patch to go. Ensure it’s completely free of dust and debris that may compromise the seal.
  2. Let the area dry completely before attaching the patch. Any residual moisture may cause it to slide around or fall off.
  3. Peel off the protective backing and apply the patch.
  4. Firmly press the patch onto the surface. Move your fingers over the entire area, pressing out any trapped air bubbles.
  5. Optional: if you’re putting the patch on a flat surface, you may choose to place books or another weighted object on top for a few hours to help it bond securely.
  6. Avoid getting the patch wet or moving it around – this will weaken the adhesive over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Iron-on a Patch on a Backpack?

Iron-on patches are easy to attach to backpacks. Simply put them where you want and heat both sides of the patch with an iron. Be sure to avoid burning or melting the material with steam or excessive heat. Stick to materials like cotton and denim; avoid synthetics like nylon.

How Long to Iron a Patch on Backpack?

The time you need to iron a patch can vary. Factors like adhesive material, the size of the patch, and the backpack material all influence heating time. It’s best to check the patch packaging before you begin – it usually has heat and time recommendations. If not, start with 30 seconds.

Can You Hot Glue a Patch on a Backpack?

It depends. Hot glue is likely to damage a nylon backpack, but it can be used on non-synthetic materials to help hold a patch in place. Hot glue may not bond well if the patch has its own adhesive. It’s best for non-adhesive patches or reattaching a patch that’s starting to separate.

Final Thoughts

Patches are a quick and easy way to personalize a bag or backpack. Iron-on patches are best on non-synthetic materials like denim and cotton and tend to be long-lasting. They’ve very easy to apply if you have an iron. Sew-on patches are one of the most secure types of patches. They can be used on any fabric you can pass a needle through, but they require a little sewing know-how. Bonding patches are the easiest to apply – peel and stick! – but they may not last as long as iron or sew-on patches. The/Studio offers several types of custom patches and backings so that you can get the right patch for any material.


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