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  • Writer's pictureEmLee

How to use an Iron-On Patch

Iron on Patches are an easy way to add your own personal twist to your clothes. They can also be great at refreshing some old garments or cover small tears or holes. They can be put on a variety of items such as jackets, jeans, hats, shoes, or bags.

Make sure the material is right for iron-on patches before using your iron!

The best fabrics for iron-on patches are sturdy ones like denim, canvas, cotton, polyester, or cotton blends.

Vinyl, nylon, rayon, silk, leather, or other animal-product, waterproof or sensitive fabrics are not good for ironing as the heat can damage them. You may want to sew the patch onto these types of materials instead.

If you're not sure if the material can be ironed, look for the iron symbol on the garment’s label. The symbol looks like a small icon of an iron. If there’s an “X” through it, it means the item can’t be ironed safely. One dot, 2 dots, or 3 dots inside the icon means the item can be ironed at low, medium, or high heat, respectively.

To use:

  • Lay the garment out flat and position where you want your patch to go. Mark it with a fabric pen if you have one or try to get it as straight as possible (unless you want it at an angle). Ensure the area is free of dust first.

For items that don't lie flat such as bags, stuff them full with a heat durable material such as towels. This will help keep the patch as close to the fabric as possible and not move around when ironing.

  • Turn the iron to the hottest temperature the fabric can take. Turn the steam function off if there is one as moisture can make the adhesive less effective. If you don't have an iron, a hair straightener can do in a pinch, as long as it is hot enough to melt the adhesive. See below on how to use the straighteners method.

  • Place a thin cloth over the patch to protect the fabric and patch from the heat. A pressing cloth or even a pillowcase will do.

  • Iron over the patch continuously for 30-60 seconds depending on the heat of the iron and the size of the patch. Use firm pressure and make sure you iron over every corner of the patch. Ensure the iron is fully heated up for the best results as a cool iron will not melt the adhesive.

  • Flip over the garment and iron the back of the patch for another 30 seconds. Afterwards, check the edges of the patch to see if they lift up. If they do, iron again until patch is secure.

Tips for longevity:

Generally speaking, an iron-on patch will stay in place for about 25 washes but to keep them for as long as possible, you can try these tips:

  • You can sew your patches in place for a more permanent application.

  • Wash in cold to lukewarm water.

  • Hand wash the item and air dry.

  • Use the gentle cycle in the washing machine.

  • Turn the garment with the iron-on patch inside out when washing it.

  • Try to keep washing to a minimum.

  • You can opt to have your garments dry cleaned.

For this reason, jackets and bags are great choices to put your patches.

Using hair straighteners:

  • First warm up the straighteners.

  • Position the patch to where you want it.

  • Clamp the straightener over the patch on the fabric.

  • Hold in place for about 30 to 60 seconds.

  • As the heated surface area of a straightener is smaller than an iron, you'll need to move them across the patch until all of the patch is sealed to the fabric. Remember to hold the straighteners in position for 30-60 seconds on each new area.

  • If you’re concerned about the patch adhesive getting onto the straightener, fold foil around the sides of the straightener before heating, and only remove when cooled down after use.

There are also very many helpful videos on platforms such as YouTube if you prefer a more visual guide.

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