How To Put a Patch on a Backpack 

 May 12, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

Patches are a great way to decorate a backpack and make it look fashionable. There are many excellent designs out there, but many still wonder how to correctly put it on a backpack.

Backpack patches come in two forms: iron on and sew on. Iron on patches can be sewn on or applied using a handheld iron using the hottest setting on a heat-resistant surface. Sew on patches are applied with a sewing machine or by hand.

Read on below to learn everything you need to know about how to put patches on backpacks.

How To Attach a Patch to a Backpack

Attaching a patch to a backpack is easy and simple. Below are the three types of patches you’ll find on the market, as well as the tools and process involved in attaching any of them.

Iron On Patches

Iron on patches come in varying thicknesses, and they all have an adhesive backing that is heat activated. These patches are not suitable for nylon or other sensitive materials; they should only be used on denim or cotton backpacks.

What You’ll Need:

We've also listed some examples that are available on Amazon. We earn a small commission if you use our links to make a purchase, which we use to help grow this website with new content and updates 🙂 thanks!

-   A handheld iron or a heat press designed for heat transfer

-   Iron on patches

-   Cotton or denim backpack


Before getting started, read the manufacturer’s directions. Some iron-on patches already come with specific instructions, but here are general guidelines to follow.

  1. Decide on the location you want to place the patch on. Be sure that it’s facing the right direction especially when working with letter patches.
  2. Turn on the iron’s temperature to the hottest setting, and prepare a table or any other heat-resistant surface to work on. Don’t use the steam setting.
  3. Iron the surface of the backpack where you intend to put the patch, for 10-15 seconds. Doing so will make the surface area warmer and thus more conducive for attaching to the patch.
  4. Place the patch on the desired location, and cover it using a thin hand towel or handkerchief. Press the iron down for 30 seconds while moving it around gently in circular motions to ensure all the surfaces have been uniformly heated.
  5. Remove the cloth to check if the patch adhered to the backpack surface. It will be hot right after ironing, so be careful. Ideally, the patch has already stuck to the surface and is completely flat. If you notice that there are some wrinkles, or parts of its sides are facing up, simply repeat the procedure with the cloth on top.
  6. Once the front of the patch has been secured, it’s time to repeat the procedure inside the backpack. Iron the other side to be completely sure that the adhesive is stuck to the fabric, and run the iron around in circular motions for just 15 seconds.
  7. Let the patch cool for around a minute, and you’re done.

It’s important to make sure that the surface is flat and dry, leaving you ample room to work. Otherwise, you can end up with a wrinkled backpack underneath the patch. Additionally, take note that the ideal temperatures for iron on labels are between 280-305F.

Sew On Patches

Some cloth or embroidered patches are meant exclusively for sewing onto a backpack. There are iron on patches that can also be sewn on, which is the best way to attach a patch on a backpack since it lasts longer than iron on patches, especially if you have to wash your pack in the future.

What You’ll Need:

-   Thread that matches the patch color, transparent thread, or thread in contrasting color to enhance its design

-   Needle

-   Fabric pins


-   A sewing machine


To hand sew a patch, running stitches are ideal and the easiest to do. Here's a video to watch on how to do a running stitch.

However, if you decide to use a sewing machine, zigzag or straight stitches are best.

  1. Place the patch in the desired location on the backpack.
  2. Use some fabric pins to hold it in place while sewing. Make sure that the position you choose allows you to access both inside and outside the backpack for a better grip.
  3. Cut around 30cm of thread, place it in the needle and tie a knot at the end of it.
  4. Pull the thread from behind the backpack fabric and into the patch to seal the first knot.
  5. Do a running stitch to secure the patch.
  6. Finish the stitch by pushing the needle through the patch when you’re done, and leave an inch of thread inside the bag. Loop the needle and create a knot as you pull the thread down, ensuring that the knot holds the stitches in place. Remove the pins, and you’re done.

To use a sewing machine, watch this video for a simple process for putting your patch on.

Cloth Back Patches

There are some patches that don’t come equipped with an adhesive behind them, only cloth. These can either be sewn on, glued, or stuck to the backpack surface using double-sided tape.

Glue On Patches

What You’ll Need:

-   Durable glue


  1. Make sure the surface of the backpack where you will be putting the patch on is clean and dry.
  2. Apply enough glue behind the patch, using a thin coat. Applying too much glue may cause excess glue to leak out of the sides of the patch once you press it.
  3. Press the patch onto the surface, and allow it to dry for a few hours, depending on how long the manufacturer recommends.

Stick On Patches

What You’ll Need:

-   Double sided tape


  1. Cut enough strips of tape to cover the entire back portion of the patch.
  2. Remove one side of the tape to place it on the patch, then remove the other side of the tape to press it down firmly onto your backpack surface.
  3. Use your hand to press down all sides of the patch to ensure good and even application.
  4. Let the tape set for a few hours before using your backpack.

Frequency Asked Questions

Can you put a patch on any backpack?

Before you put a patch on a backpack, it’s important to think about the fabric first or else you can risk ruining the material.

Denim and cotton backpacks are the most appropriate for iron-on patches. Silk or polyester backpacks are more sensitive and can easily burn when ironing labels on. Unless you are sure that you want the patch on the surface area permanently, it may not be recommended to risk damaging it.

If you want to put a patch on a leather backpack, the best way to do so is to sew or glue it on.

How do you wash backpacks with iron-on patches?

You can make backpacks as well as the iron on patches last longer by keeping it as clean as possible. Spot clean affected areas, and wash only with lukewarm water when necessary by following the manufacturer’s directions. Exposing the iron on patch to hot water will render the adhesive ineffective and cause the patch to fall off.

Most importantly, follow the backpack washing directions on its label. Don’t use a dryer on it because this can cause iron-on patches to fall off.

Can you put a patch on a Jansport backpack?

You can place patches on Jansport backpacks that are made from cotton and polyester. Iron on patches work best with Jansport backpacks.

You will need:

-   Handheld iron
-   Iron paper, if the patch doesn’t already provide it


  1. Pre-heat the iron using the highest setting.
  2. Put the iron paper on top of the desired location on the backpack. Iron it for 30-40 seconds.
  3. Put the patch, sticky side down, on top of the surface. Cover using iron paper.
  4. Gently and slowly press the iron down, ironing it back and forth for half a minute. Never iron on the patch directly as this can cause color to transfer.
  5. Remove the iron for 5-10 seconds, then repeat the previous step.
  6. Let the patch cool down thoroughly for an hour.

Placing a patch on a backpack is that easy.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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