How to Put Patches on Backpacks: A 2022 Guide

Did you know that placing patches on backpacks dates back to early 20th century Europe? It all started when people collected patches from the towns and resorts they had been to and then sewed them on their backpacks as a memory to remind them of the good times they’ve had. 

Soon this trend was adopted in the US, where travelers exhibited their expeditions by learning how to put patches on backpacks. 

Given the increasing hype, businesses soon caught on to this fad. They began producing various collections of patches to help collectors bond with it almost instantaneously and look back at it with fondness and joy.

While patch collecting and placing them on backpacks remains a popular hobby among people of all ages, did you know there is more than one way to attach them? Today three of the most common ways of doing so are by:

  • Ironing 
  • Bonding
  • Sewing 

The following guide dives into the different ways to put patches on backpacks and illustrates a detailed step-by-step method of doing so. For each method, we have highlighted the things you will need, followed by step-by-step instructions on how you can also showcase the various events and places that have affected your life in the form of art.

How to Put Patches on Backpacks Using an Iron

This is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to create a collage of memories on your bag packs. However, some of the key things required to do so include:

  • A non-synthetic backpack
  • A pressing cloth (preferably heat resistant)
  • An iron
  • Iron-on patches of your choice


  1. To begin, start by checking the label on your backpack to make sure that it is made out of non-synthetic material. A non-synthetic material does not melt when exposed to heat and is ideal for putting patches using an iron. Other heat-resistant backpack materials include cotton or cotton-blend polyester and denim. In case your backpack is made of any other material that cannot withstand heat, it is best to stitch the patch instead of using an iron.
  2. Next, place your backpack on a flat, clean, heat-resistant surface while ensuring that the area you aim to place the patch on isn’t scrunched or wrinkled.
  3. Now turn on the iron and heat it up to the desired temperature. While doing so, remember to steer clear of using a steam iron since this reduces the patch’s ability to stick. The heat must come from only the heated flat plate of an iron.
  4. Once heated, gently place the iron on the area of your backpack where you have planned to place the patch. This will help ensure that the patch sticks properly without the risk of coming off.
  5. Now, gently place the patch on the heated area of the backpack. Even it out with your hands to avoid creasing and place the heat-resistant pressing cloth on top so the patch is covered completely and the cloth acts as a barrier between the iron and the patch.
  6. Next, place the iron on top of the patch for approximately 30 seconds. Make sure to run the iron in circular motions so that the heat is applied evenly. While doing so, pay special attention to the edges and carefully go over them since these are the first areas to peel away with time.
  7. Remove the iron and wait for about a minute or two before removing the cloth, so the patch cools down completely and glues itself to the backpack.
  8. Flaunt your new patch as you carry your backpack around.

Using the ironing method while learning how to put patches on a backpack serves as a quick and easy method to decorate your backpacks since it does not require complicated skills or art. However, many backpacks nowadays are made out of materials other than non-synthetic materials. This difference in the fabric can somewhat limit you from using the ironing method. 

How to Put Patches on Backpacks by Bonding

Bonding is another great technique while learning how to put patches on backpacks. It is where you use an adhesive like fabric glue to stick patches on backpacks. Some of the key things required to do so include:

  • A backpack
  • A high-quality, sturdy fabric glue
  • Backpack patches of your choice
  • A heavy object or a weight that can be placed on top of the patch (like a thick book)


  1. Start by placing the backpack on a clean, even surface and then flatten out any wrinkles or creases. Next, place the patch on the backpack area where you have planned to stick it. Once you have found your preferred spot, mark the patch’s edges using a pencil. Doing so will help ensure you have glued the patch accurately.
  2. Now keep the patch aside and apply fabric glue directly to the outlined area of your backpack. Make sure to apply the glue evenly without overdoing it. While applying the glue, try to ensure that it stays inside the area you have outlined with your pencil so that the excess glue isn’t visible.
  3. Now carefully take the patch and press it down onto the glued area of the backpack. Press down with a firm hand to ensure that the patch is placed evenly without leaving any air in between. Place the heavy object on top to apply a constant weight while the patch dries.
  4. Allow the patch to dry for at least an hour with the heavy object or weight on top. This will give time to bond the patch onto the backpack properly.

While bonding is a great cost-effective alternative to using the hot iron method, it can be somewhat unreliable. The constant flex and bulging of backpacks can cause the bond to weaken, thus leading the patch to become unstuck.

How to Put Patches on Backpacks by Sewing

Hand sewing a patch on a backpack is undoubtedly the most reliable and durable way to complete the task. It not only secures the patch in its place but is guaranteed to weather the test of time. To put a patch on your backpack by hand sewing, you will need the following items:

  • A backpack
  • Hand sewing thread (preferably staple colors like white or black if you are a beginner)
  • Fabric sewing pins
  • Sewing thimble to help push the needle through thick fabrics
  • Patches of your choice


  1. Place the patch on the backpack area where you have planned to sew it. Once you have found your preferred spot, mark the patch’s edges using a pencil. At the same time, secure the patch using fabric sewing pins.
  2. Now cut around 20 to 30 cm of the thread and thread the eye of the needle. While doing so, don’t forget to tie a double knot at the other end to ensure that the thread is thick enough not to pull through the fabric of the backpack.
  3. Next, gently start stitching along the outlines using a running stitch. While doing so, don’t forget to keep the thimble in hand or nearby. Once done, cut the remaining thread using a scissor, leaving a cm-long thread behind.

While hand sewing is one of the most effective ways in learning how to put patches on backpacks, if you have the skills and the time, try using the sewing machine to achieve a better finish that looks good and is more durable than hand sewing.

What Kind of Patches Can I Put on My Backpack?

patches on backpack

  • Patches showcasing your name, nickname or even your initials
  • Patches highlighting your favorite team, brand or band
  • School mascot or logo patches
  • Cartoon patches
  • Patches indicating various places you have visited
  • Patches related to your favorite hobby such as basketball, volleyball or even fitness

Tips on How to Take Care of Your Backpack

So now that you have learned the different techniques on how to put patches on your backpack it is equally important that you learn how to take care of it as well to ensure its longevity. These include:

  • Storing your backpack in a cool, dry place
  • Cleaning it with a damp cloth when it gets dirty and then hanging it up to dry
  • Hand washing the backpack instead of using the washing machine
  • Reading and following the care instructions laid out by the manufacturer


Backpacks displaying a collage of patches have gained significant popularity amongst the kids as well as adults. However, whether you choose to detail your backpack with the reminders and memories of the places you have been, or showcase your favorite team or band, learning how to put patches on a backpack definitely comes in handy. 

From saving up on costs to giving your backpack an overnight makeover or even honing your talent now you can do it all by yourself at home within a matter of minutes.

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