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Iron On Patch - Trim Categories

Application Instructions

Application Instructions

Iron on and stick on embroidered and fabric patches, as well as hot fix iron on appliqués offer hundreds of decorating possibilities! You can use them for clothing, scrap booking, quilting, crafting, and home decoration. They can be added to just about anything that can take heat from an iron (including paper) or for which there is a glue available. The options are just about endless. However, with today's fantastic and unusual fibers and materials, making the correct choice can be challenging. Sometimes you have to be willing to do a bit of experimenting unless you are just doing something simple like adding a patch to a simple t-shirt or a pair of jeans.

If you have never ironed on an embroidered iron on or hot fix patch you will want to test the process first. Purchase an inexpensive patch to try out on a "soon to be discarded garment or fabric scrap. That way you will get a good feel for the process. It is not difficult, but better to approach your $100 blouse with confidence. With hot fix you will need some patience and want to be sure you know what technique works best with the material and style patch you are using.

Remember, you can always revert to a bit of glue or hand sewing to keep your patch secure. This is especially true if you want to ensure "years to come permanency." If you are making an heirloom quilt, take the time to first iron on your patches to get them positioned properly. Then sew them into place. They do not need to be machine stitched - just a few well-placed stitches around the edges and on any fragile "points" will go a long way to ensure your creation with withstand a lifetime of wear and laundering.

Do's and Don'ts for Iron On's

ALL manufacturers recommend sewing on all iron on patches and appliqués for permanency.

  • Unless your application requires frequent hot water washing and drying, almost all iron on patches can be safely washed and dried. Just apply a bit of common sense. The amount of heat that applied a patch will loosen a patch. Generally patches will survive the amount of heat your fiber can take (exceptions are vinyl, sequin, and "puffy" patches - see below for more details). Here's a list of general do's and don'ts:
  • DO NOT APPLY iron on patches to waterproof rainwear, highly elasticized fabrics, leather, rayon, nylon or similar fabrics. If unsure, test your fabirc with an iron on a hidden seam or hem to see just how much heat the fabric will accept without damage. Cotton and polyester fiber blends work best. As new fibers are constantly being developed, be sure to test! REMEMBER, you can always sew on an iron on patch except hot fix. 
  • ALWAYS turn the garment inside out during washing. This is especially important for hot fix iron on's as washer and dryer walls, and agitators can damage individual stones. See cleaning instructions for details.
  • NEVER use HOT water or a HOT dryer or you risk loosening the patch or studs. You can TRY ironing them on again, but most likely if they begin to loosen, you will have to use a fabric glue to re-attach them.

  • ALWAYS try to iron onto only one layer of fabric. If you have to iron through two pieces of fabric "stacked" (like on a t-shirt or jean leg), put another piece of clean fabric between the two layers or use a Teflon sheet (available at craft stores) between them to ensure no glue passes through to the other side thus bonding the two fabrics! This is especially important with sheer or open-weave material. The adhesive used for iron on's is highly "sticky." Once it cools you may be able to reheat and separate the fabric, but most likely it will be permanently damaged.

  • If your fabric feels stiff, like it may have a lot of fabric sizing. You should pre-wash it. The goal is for the glue to melt into the fibers that make up the fabric. Sizing is a temporary stiffener. Like starch used in collars in the "old days" that additive that can interfere with the ability of the glue on the patch to adhere to the fiber. If the glue can't adhere properly, it will fall off. Be particularly cautious with old chintz fabrics for example.>

  • LEATHER & VINYL: Do not attempt to iron patches onto any kind of leather or vinyl material. They are not designed to take the heat needed. Find an appropriate glue at a craft store, and glue the patch into place. A word of caution - it may take some experimenting with the glue. See the note below. about gluing patches.

  • After time, if a patch or stone on a hot fix comes loose, you can reattach easiest with fabric craft glue for hot fix appliqués', or iron on patches; or with a few stitches on embroidered patches.

Embroidered Iron On Patches

How to Use a Household Iron

Gather together the following items:

  • A household iron (preferably one without an auto-shut off)
  • A pressing cloth (a thin piece of cotton or muslin fabric or smooth, lightweight cotton towel or piece of old t-shirt works well). A thick single sheet or doubled up if thin, dry paper towel works fine.
  • A firm piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil or other firm heat-safe backing material.

Following are detailed steps to adhere an iron on patch. It is not hard and 99% of the time the process is quick and very easy. Difficulties usually only arise with very unusual fabrics or faulty household irons that don't reach proper temperatures.

  1. Set iron to "dry" not steam setting.
  2. Pre-heat to cotton setting (or if unsure of your fabric, one or two settings lower).
  3. Position your patch as desired and cover with the pressing cloth.
  4. Place the backing underneath between your garment or project and the iron board. The backing board helps reflect heat back to the patch and garment rather than drawing heat into the ironing board cover speeding up the process and ensuring a flat, secure bond..
  5. From the front of the patch, press the iron flat in an up and down, vertical motion (do not move back/forth/around) for 25 to 40 seconds to tack the patch in place using the center part of your iron.
  6. Turn inside out or upside down (if possible) and still using the pressing cloth, repeat from reverse side for 30 to 45 seconds.
  7. ALLOW the patch and your item to cool, completely.
  8. Test an edge of the patch with your fingernail to ensure it is secure.
  9. If not, repeat increasing the amount of time 10% - 20% each time taking care to ensure the patch and fabric are protected.

Warning: Do not remove the patch if you fail on your first attempt or you will damage the adhesive. Just repeat the steps with additional time. Some household irons just don't get hot enough as they do not have temperature gauges. The goal is to melt the glue into the fiber without scorching or burning the fabric or the patch. 

 

How to Use A Heat Seal Machine

If you have access to one, a heat seal machine is a wonderful luxury!

Gather together the following items:

  • A heat seal machine of any make
  • A Teflon sheet (available at some craft stores or on the internet) or pressing cloth (a thin piece of cotton or muslin fabric or smooth, lightweight cotton towel or piece of old t-shirt works well). A thick single sheet or doubled up if thin, dry paper towel works fine.

Following are detailed steps to adhere an iron on patch. It is quite easy with a heat seal machine. Failures are exceptionally rare.

  1. Depending upon the thickness of the fabric or the patch and your machine, preheat your machine and set your timer to the following specifications. You may need to add more time than that suggested. Add time in 10 second increments.
    • 350 degrees for 20 to 25 seconds.
    • 375 degrees for 15 to 20 seconds.
  2. Position your patch as desired and cover with the Teflon sheet or pressing cloth.
  3. From the front of the patch, bring down the press for the first time count.
  4. Turn inside out or upside down (if possible) and still using the pressing cloth, repeat from reverse side for 10 to 20 seconds.
  5. ALLOW the patch and your item to cool, completely.
  6. Test an edge of the patch with your fingernail to ensure it is secure.
  7. If not, repeat increasing the amount of time 10% - 20% each time taking care to ensure the patch and fabric are protected.

Warning: Do not remove the patch if you fail on your first attempt or you will damage the adhesive. Just repeat the steps with additional time. Some household irons just don't get hot enough as they do not have temperature gauges. The goal is to melt the glue into the fiber without scorching or burning the fabric or the patch. 

What is nice about a heat seal machine is that as long as you maintain the vertical up and down motion and the Teflon sheet/pressing cloth, you can generally use as much time as needed to be sure the glue melts into the fabric.

Of course, with any method, you need to be aware of the possibility of burning the fabric if you overdo it. Easier to start with less time and just increase it incrementally, allowing the fabric to cool and using the fingernail bond test described.

Vinyl, Sequin & Puffy Iron On's

We do not recommend using a Heat Seal Machine for Vinyl, Sequin or Puffy Iron On Patches. These should be attached using  a Household Iron.

Due to  the delicate nature of these patches, heat needs to be applied primarily from the back to melt the glue into the fabric.

Gather together the following items:

  • A household iron (preferably one without an auto-shut off)
  • A pressing cloth (a thin piece of cotton or muslin fabric or smooth, lightweight cotton towel or piece of old t-shirt works well). A thick single sheet or doubled up if thin, dry paper towel works fine.
  • A firm piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil or other firm heat-safe backing material.

Following are detailed steps to adhere an iron on patch. It is not hard and 99% of the time the process is quick and very easy. Difficulties usually only arise with very unusual fabrics or faulty household irons that don't reach proper temperatures.

  1. >Set iron to "dry" not steam setting.
  2. Pre-heat to cotton setting (or if unsure of your fabric, one or two settings lower).
  3. Position your patch as desired and cover with the pressing cloth.
  4. Place the backing underneath between your garment or project and the iron board. The backing board helps reflect heat back to the patch and garment rather than drawing heat into the ironing board cover speeding up the process and ensuring a flat, secure bond..
  5. From the front of the patch, press the iron flat in an up and down, vertical motion (do not move back/forth/around) for 5 to 10 seconds to tack the patch in place using the center part of your iron.
  6. Turn inside out or upside down (if possible) and still using the pressing cloth, repeat from reverse side for 20 to 30 seconds.
  7. ALLOW the patch and your item to cool, completely.
  8. Test an edge of the patch with your fingernail to ensure it is secure.
  9. If not, REDUCE THE HEAT ON THE IRON, repeat increasing the amount of time 10% - 20% each time taking care to ensure the patch and fabric are protected with your pressing cloth..

Warning: Do not remove the patch if you fail on your first attempt or you will damage the adhesive. Just repeat the steps with additional time. Some household irons just don't get hot enough as they do not have temperature gauges. The goal is to melt the glue into the fiber without scorching or burning the fabric or the patch. 

Stick-On Embroidered Patches

Stick on patches are quick and easy. They are perfect for children to use because they do not require needle, thread, scissors or a hot iron to apply. Because they are removable. they can be repositioned a number of times. However, they are meant for temporary, not permanent placement. Also they cannot be laundered. Depending upon how they are cared for they can be used for 2 to 20 times and then will have to be sewn on or thrown out..

 

  • Peel off the white paper backing.
  • Apply to clean fabric.

 

For permanent placement sew on. We no longer recommend using fabric glue for permanent applications. The variety of glues on the back of the patches and available in craft stores today are just too staggering. There are no standards for the chemicals used and while nothing is dangerous, they just do not mix well and can unhappily damage your project or your patch.  It is far safer to just sew them into place.

Hot Fix Iron On Motifs

While Hot Fix Iron On motifs are not hard to apply, they do require a more patience and discipline.

Since they are usually more expensive you want to take care in applying them as you are, in effect, applying multiple "patches" at the same time because they are made up of multiple pieces. If you have never applied one, we urge your to start with a small, inexpensive motif (include one with your order) to try it out. My first one was a 6" square patch, and while successful, it took repeated attempts to be sure that every stone was secure. I learned that my iron just did not get hot enough before it began to cool down. I switched irons and it worked immediately. Now I have a heat set machine and a hot fix applier as my patience tends to run thin.

You have to remember, that each stone, while having glue on the reverse side, is going to heat up at slightly different time's due to the size and where it is positioned under your iron. What I have learned is that you really can't "over iron" them (short of scorching your fabric). So the best approach is to start conservatively. Then increase temperature and time as needed.

How to Use a Household Iron

Gather together the following items:

  • A household iron (preferably one without an auto-shut off)
  • A pressing cloth (a thin piece of cotton or muslin fabric or smooth, lightweight cotton towel or piece of old t-shirt works well). A thick single sheet or doubled up if thin, dry paper towel works fine.
  • A firm piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil or other firm heat-safe backing material. I have used my Corelle cutting board.

WARNING: DO NOT move your iron while applying Hot Fix Motifs. If you push a heated stone or stud with the iron, you also push the glue across your fabric and risk damaging the fabric and the glue. Use a "press down - lift up" motion. Move your hand to the next position and repeat, slightly overlapping the previous position each time.  

 

  1. Set iron to "dry" not steam setting.

  2. Pre-heat to cotton setting (or if unsure of your fabric, one or two settings lower).
  3. Place on a flat, solid surface - not on your ironing board unless you place something flat. I use my Corelle cutting board.
  4. SLOWLY & CAREFULLY peel the white backing sheet from the appliqué. If any of the stones or studs have shifted, carefully reposition using tweezers.
  5. Identify the appropriate position before applying. If you need to experiment with placement, cut a sheet of paper roughly to size to determine placement.
  6. Place the appliqué sticky side down, onto your fabric. If you have to re-adjust, pick it straight up completely and then place it down again. DO NOT slide it back and forth into place. You will loosen stones and may have to reposition a number of them.
  7. Cover with your pressing cloth. If you are applying to stretch velour, you should add a second layer of material (organza or similarly lightweight fabric) between the motif.
  8. From the front of the patch, press iron down flat (do not move back, forth or around) for 20 to 40 seconds. Heavier fabrics require more time than lighter fabrics. Again, do NOT slide the iron back and forth! Lift and place down, working from one section to the next with a slight overlap. Repeat once more. (First horizontally, and then vertically).
  9. Turn inside out and using the pressing cloth again, apply heat to each section for at least 30 seconds to draw the glue deep into the fabric.
  10. Turn back right side up or outside in.
  11. Then leave everything in place to cool - completely - approximately 20 minutes. Then gently begin to remove the clear transfer paper. If any stones still adhere to the clear film repeat from step 7 again until you can remove the paper with no stones sticking to the clear transfer paper (or only 1 or 2 that you can glue in place manually). Then move to step 12.
  12. Test the stones carefully across the motif  with your fingernail to ensure all are secure. If there are a few are loose you are not giving it enough ironing time to melt the glue. Repeat steps 7 to 11 increasing the time by 10 to 20% depending on how many were loose. If just one or two stones are loose, just focus on them. Remember to give the iron time to reach the proper "cotton" temperature before repeating. Always allow to cool totally before testing.
  13. When correct, you should be able to run your hands across the design, up and down, and all pieces should feel secure. Gently pick at them with a finger nail (not too hard, or you will remove them!).

We've learned that unless you've ironed them moving back and forth thereby removing and spreading the heated glue, you really can't ruin a hot fix appliqué unless you have used too hot a temperature. Use more time, not more heat.

If you have a random stubborn stone or two, you can use a fabric glue to secure them in their place. I've had to resort to this in spite of using a heat seal machine - even with the most expensive motifs.

How to Use a Heat Seal Machine

When you you have access to one, a heat seal machine is a wonderful luxury!

Gather together the following items:

  • A heat seal machine of any make
  • A Teflon sheet (available at some craft stores or on the internet) or pressing cloth (a thin piece of cotton or muslin fabric or smooth, lightweight cotton towel or piece of old t-shirt works well). A thick single sheet or doubled up if thin, dry paper towel works fine.

Following are detailed steps to adhere an iron on patch. It is quite easy with a heat seal machine. Failures are exceptionally rare.

  1. Depending upon the thickness of the fabric or the patch and your machine, preheat your machine and set your timer to the following specifications. You may need to add more time than that suggested. Add time in 10 second increments.
    • 350 degrees for 20 to 25 seconds.
    • 375 degrees for 15 to 20 seconds.
  2. SLOWLY & CAREFULLY peel the white backing sheet from the appliqué. If any of the stones or studs have shifted, carefully reposition using tweezers.
  3. Identify the appropriate position before applying. If you need to experiment with placement, cut a sheet of paper roughly to size to determine placement.
  4. Place the appliqué sticky side down, onto your fabric. If you have to re-adjust, pick it straight up completely and then place it down again. DO NOT slide it back and forth into place. You will loosen stones and may have to reposition a number of them.
  5. Cover with your pressing cloth or Teflon sheet. If you are applying to stretch velour, you should add a second layer of material (organza or similarly lightweight fabric) between the pressing cloth and the motif.
  6. Bring down the press for the first time count.
  7. Turn back right side up or outside in and press again for 10 to 20 seconds from the back side..
  8. Then leave everything in place to cool - completely - approximately 20 minutes. Then gently begin to remove the clear transfer paper. If any stones still adhere to the clear film repeat from step 6 again until you can remove the paper with no stones sticking to the clear transfer paper (or only 1 or 2 that you can glue in place manually). Then move to step 9.
  9. Test the stones carefully across the motif  with your fingernail to ensure all are secure. If there are still a few loose you are not giving it enough ironing time to melt the glue or you are not waiting for the project to cool - be sure to remove it from the heat press machine. Repeat steps 6 to 8 increasing the time by 10 to 20% depending on how many were loose. If just one or two stones are loose, you may need to glue them with fabric glue. Always allow to cool totally before testing.
  10. When correct, you should be able to run your hands across the design, up and down, and all pieces should feel secure. Gently pick at them with a finger nail (not too hard, or you will remove them!).

Warning: Do not remove the patch if you fail on your first attempt or you will damage the adhesive. Just repeat the steps with additional time. Some household irons just don't get hot enough as they do not have temperature gauges. The goal is to melt the glue into the fiber without scorching or burning the fabric or the patch. 

What is nice about a heat seal machine is that as long as you maintain the vertical up and down motion and use the Teflon sheet or pressing cloth, you can generally use as much time as needed to be sure the glue melts into the fabric.

Of course, with any method, you need to be aware of the possibility of burning the fabric if you overdo it. Easier to start with less time and just increase it incrementally, allowing the fabric to cool and using the fingernail bond test described.

Problems?

Pleasecontact us for a consultation. Sometimes two heads are better than one if you run into a unique situation!

 

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