A Guide to Creating Your Own Custom Patches: In 6 Simple Steps


One of the most cost-effective ways to mark a uniform, personalize clothing, and elevate your style is to use custom patches.

Make a lasting impression by unleashing your inner designer and bring your unique style to life with custom patches made from your own imagination.

Key Takeaways

Choosing and creating a design

Create your own design or use a pre-existing image. A pre-existing image will save you time, but it’s always an idea to edit it, so you aren’t infringing on copyrights.

Cut out your patch

When it’s time to cut out your patch, you can use your design as a guide. This way you can trace it onto the fabric and cut it out to make sure everything fits perfectly.

Attaching your patch to your garment

There are three ways of attaching your patch to your garment. Use a needle and thread, iron-on backing or use fabric glue. The method that works best is a combination of needle & thread and fabric glue.

In today’s article, we cover everything you need to know on how to make such custom patches!

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    Creating Your Own Patches

    Patches used to be more expensive than other personalization methods. Improvements in manufacturing processes have brought down both costs and minimum volumes. This is a welcome development for small scale users.

    Nowadays, patches come in a variety of eye-catching styles, and this is the most exciting part. To help you choose the right style for your company (or DIY project), we’ve compiled this guide. This includes an overview of each style, design tips, and suggestions for where to place your logo.

    Environmental embroidered patch with an illustration of a leaf and the words "let it grow".
    Eye catching custom embroidered patches for your business

    Having a wide variety of styles to choose from means that each has its own unique set of design challenges. In this section, we’ll go over what each type of patch has to offer, as well as some design concepts.

    The types of patches we will discuss include:

    • Embroidered patches
    • 3D patches
    • Sublimated patches
    • Printed stiching patches
    • Rubber patches
    • Leather patches
    • FlexStyle framework patches

    Embroidered patches

    Custom embroidered patches give the same look as straight embroidery at a fraction of the cost. A custom embroidery patch is designed for industrial washing. Custom embroidery patches are made of high-quality, color-resistant polyester threads and textiles. Embroidered patches, which come in a variety of custom shapes and sizes, are a great way to personalize clothing, bags, and headgear.

    Watch this video: Making Patches On An Embroidery Machine [11 mins 51 secs]

    To save time, skip to timeline 00:28!

    3D patches

    3D embroidered patches use an EVA foam layer behind the stitching. This is what gives them their third dimension. Selecting focus areas that are prominent on the patch can result in a striking visual effect. This design has gained a lot of traction in the sportswear and team hat markets.

    Sublimated patches

    Printing with sublimation begins with white material and permanently dye it. This provides a wide range of color options and high detail. They are also iron-on patches. To reproduce photorealistic images, logos, gradients, and delicate mixes, sublimated patches are ideal. Unlike an embroidered patch, they’re less likely to tear over time, but the color doesn’t tend to last as long.

    Printed stitching patches

    This is a combination of embroidery and sublimation that makes stitch patches. Using a photographic image, the backdrop is printed in full color and embossed to add depth and texture. This patch provides photorealism and texture for a variety of applications. A satin stitch is the most often recommended.

    Watch this video: The Ins & Outs Of Print Stitch Patches [03 mins 21 secs]

    To save time, skip to timeline 00:18!

    Rubber patches

    Insignia made of rubber patches, also known as PVC patches, is the newest trend and technology in the industry. Everyone is fascinated by their unique, soft, flexible, and three-dimensional feel. A patch like this, with its sleek, contemporary, and branded appearance, can enhance any product. These patches can be peel and stick type as well. These sticky patches are far cheaper in comparison to embroidered patches.

    Leather patches

    It’s best to go with leather patches if you’re going for a simple, rustic look. Laser etching creates a unique monochromatic look for these patches, which are available in both real and faux (fake) materials. They can also be paired with a wide range of outfits. Genuine leather cannot be cleaned, despite the fact that faux leather patches can.

    Patches with the FlexStyle framework

    This year’s latest fashion trend when it comes to custom patch design is the FlexStyle patch.

    FlexStyle patch applied to grey baseball cap giving a 3D raised texture effect on emblem.
    Baseball cap having FlexStyle patches heat pressed on

    Patches with FlexStyle textures are flexible and soft, giving your insignia a richer, more dynamic appearance. It’s one of those iron-on patches. In addition to clothing, these can be applied to a wide range of flat surfaces. It’s like having a sticker on steroids.

    How To Make Custom Patches?

    You’re probably already familiar with custom patches. You’ve probably seen fire department patches or a custom military patch many times. If you want to make something similar to those custom patches, this is what you’ll need to do.

    Step 1: Patch design concept

    We are all born with a single thought. Because of this, it’s only natural that this is the first step. You’ll have to come up with a strong concept, theme, or idea for the patch. In particular, if you plan on selling it.

    Tip: Our article on creative patch design ideas can help kick started your creative mind. Check it out!

    One thing we do know is that people base their purchasing decisions on appearance. An appealing design will draw in a larger audience and more serious buyers. If they don’t like the design or patch styles, they won’t pull out their wallets.

    However, if you want your custom patch design to stand out, you’ll need to put in the time and effort to come up with a strong concept. If you have a history of making things, this may be a natural progression for you. There are a number of prefabricated designs available online if you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas.

    People also sell their designs and patch styles on websites, and there are usually hundreds to choose from. You only have to pick the one you like best. One of the more popular options available is ColDesi graphics. If you have a simple concept in mind, ColDesi Graphics can help you bring your ideas to life. In addition, they’ll scan your work, which brings us to the next step.

    Step 2: Have the design digitized

    Embroidery machines can’t read designs created in Photoshop, Illustrator, or any other graphics program. Digitization of the design for your embroidered patches is the next step. It’s helpful to think of digitization as an instruction manual for your design file.

    So that your embroidery machine can understand the instructions and sew out the pattern when you insert it into the machine. It’s a skill that not everyone has, and even fewer people realize that it’s necessary before stitching out the final product.

    A png file of the Google logo being converted into a digitized design using StitchBuddy. This allows embroidery machines to understand how to sew the design.
    A tool called StitchBuddy converting a png into a digitized design for embroidery machines.

    Once again, ColDesi Graphics comes to the rescue. It is their job to convert the creative ideas you have into production-ready files that can be fed into your embroidery machine. You should be aware that not all embroidery machines can handle the same file formats. Commercial embroidery machines from ColDesi’s Avancé line can read DST files.

    Make sure your computer can handle the file formats you need. If you are still unsure on how to digitize your design, I have included this very interesting video that covers file formats, cross platform compatibility and two ways of getting the digitized done!

    Watch video: 2 Ways To Digitise Images For Embroidery [11 mins 51 secs]

    To save time, skip to timeline 00:49!

    The next step in the process is to go shopping for patch material.

    Step 3: Select a patch fabric

    Once your scanned design is ready to be stitched, where will you place your custom patches?

    Colman and Company offers a vast selection of base textiles with diverse size, color, and texture options to choose from.

    When it comes to patching fabrics, Patch Twill and Patch Material are the two most popular options. Patch Twill is a 100% polyester material that is sold in rolls with a continuous pattern and no flaws. It can be used right away without any preparation.

    Patch Material, on the other hand, requires a bit of preparation. It comes packaged in a rolled up bag and is thinner and lighter than Patch Twill. It has a special coating on the back that acts as a thin layer of adhesive, making it easier to use. However, it is not as stable as Patch Twill, so it may need stabilizing with heat spun.

    Consider the differences between the two options and make an informed decision about which one is best for your custom patches and your business needs.

    Step 4: Sew a hoop

    Your custom patch design is ready to be embroidered, and the patch material has been cut to the correct dimensions.

    Your foundation cloth must first be hooped before you can begin sewing and stitching. Hoops, which are usually included in an embroidery machine, are required for this step.

    Avancé embroidery machines, on the other hand, benefit greatly from the use of the more expensive Allied Gridlock Hoops. Because of the built-in gridlines and adjustable screws, we consider these hoops to be an improvement.

    The process of hooping is simple. In order to embroider your custom patches, all you need to do is align the fabric in the embroidery hoop. The fabric will be tighter and easier to embroider on as a result. The number of steps in this procedure may vary depending on the patch fabric you choose.

    Embroider using a wooden hoop to keep fabric taut before hand sewing.
    Embroidery hoops are used to align fabric and keep it taut to make the sewing process easier.

    If you want to use patch material, you’ll need heat spun. Heat spun material is more stable and less prone to slipping and sliding through the hoop than other materials.

    Make sure you apply heat spun to the custom patch material prior to hooping. You’ll need a heat press to apply the heat-spun layer to the patch material’s backside before sewing it on.

    Removed from the heat press and torn, the patch material will now be coated with an adhesive layer. Tempo Spray can be used to secure the backing to the back of your patch. Finally, it can be hoisted. This process is also known as adhesive backing.

    Using Patch Twill, you won’t have to worry about additional steps and can begin hooping immediately. Your embroidery machine will be ready to use once you’ve finished stitching the patch and hooping it. You’ll only need a few stitches. You can do a zigzag stitch or a blanket stitch, which may be more suitable for a large number of different shapes.

    The embroidery process can begin after the tracing has been completed and checked for accuracy. Once the repairs are complete, you’ll need to coat them in heat sealant, which we’ll cover in detail next.

    Step 5: Use heat sealing to put it in place

    The thread and stitches will be visible when the patch is removed from your machine and turned over.

    Heat Seal is a substance that can be used to seal all of the threads in the back. It comes in paper format where one side is a layer of glue. If you choose Patch Twill or Patch Material, you will need to heat seal both of these textiles.

    Watch video: Attaching Heat Seal To A Patch [05 mins 21 secs]

    To save time, skip to timeline 00:33! – viewer discretion is advised, some swearing on this video!

    Sanding down the surface and creating an attractive edge makes it easier to cut around and hides imperfections. Begin by cutting a piece of heat seal to match the patch’s dimensions. A standard finishing sheet should be placed on the bottom platen of the heat press.

    Make sure your patch is facing you when you do this. Then, sandwich the patch and heat seal between the other half of the finishing sheet and the top layer of the heat seal. When you’re done pressing for 10 to 20 seconds, remove it.

    During this time, the heat seal adhesive will harden and adhere to the patch. After the patch has cooled, the next step is to remove it.

    Step 6: Cut your patch

    The next step is to remove the patch from the surrounding material. A Hot Knife will be required for this because you’ll need a hot cut edge. It’s time to use the hot knife now that it’s warmed up.

    The procedure is simple and straightforward. To begin with, ensure that you are working on a transparent surface. At these temperatures, not even a hot knife can burn or pass through glass.

    Using a smooth motion, draw around the patch’s edges with the hot knife. The patch will begin to separate from the rest of the waste. Even if the cut is perfect, there may be a little bit of material around it.

    There is a way to fix this, so don’t be alarmed. The hot knife’s barrel can be used to melt the remaining, rough material around the patch’s perimeter. As a result of the reverse of the patch’s heat seal, it’s now ready to be heated and applied to any item of clothing you choose.

    There is no limit to what can be done! If you have the proper supplies and tools, custom patches can be a fun and lucrative option for your customers. And you’ll have a finished patch in no time.

    Watch this video: Making embroidery iron on patches [11 mins 50 secs]

    To save time, skip to timeline 00:20!

    Which Applications Are Recommended For Which Types Of Patches?

    If you want to make DIY patches easy and without any trouble, you’ll have to know which applications are recommended for what. Your custom patches will look much better if you stitch them the right way.

    Embroidered patches

    Embroidered patches are ideal for uniforms (police, army, etc.) and high-end accessories like coats, hats, and bags to use for embroidery patches. A custom embroidered patch can really elevate the look of your uniform.

    It is a good idea to hand out woven patches at events. By having all of your volunteers wear the woven patches on their uniforms, you can add a personal touch to an event. For clothing, jeans, hats, and bags, custom embroidered patches can be used as unique embellishments.

    Printed design patches

    In situations where a single patch can convey a lot of information, printed patches are ideal. Printed patches are easy to apply. You can sew them on or iron them.

    Leather patchwork

    T-shirt pockets, canvas and twill textured items, different headwear, and bags can all benefit from the addition of leather patches.

    PVC-based patches

    PVC patches are a great option for a variety of organizations, including sports teams, airsoft groups, scouting groups, and so on. It is possible to use PVC patches for almost any purpose because they are both versatile and fashionable. PVC patches come in a wide variety of colors and designs as well.

    Garlands of golden hair

    Anyone can wear a bullion patch, but the following groups are among the most common.

    Service in the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard)

    • Sports Organizations
    • Restaurant and Security Personnel
    • Genealogical Societies and Groups
    • Non-Profit Organizations & Groups
    • Distinguished Clubs

    Tips For Making Custom Patches That Stand Out

    A good custom patch can be made even better by following a few simple patch design principles. Take a look at some of these suggestions.

    Your custom patch design can make your business and your brand stand out.

    1. Clarify the design: Finely detailed images don’t translate well to small patches. The best patch designs are those that are simple, clean, and bold.
    2. Remove small text: Omit the tiniest type if it’s not essential to the message or logo (or increase the font size if possible). The text may not print properly or be legible.
    3. Consider the foreground & border: The overall appearance and colors of your patch is influenced by the color and style of the background and border.
    4. Choose the right shape: A custom die-cut shape will enhance your design, but a standard shape could work just as well. If you’re going for a distinctive appearance, a custom shape is a great choice for upping the “wow” factor.


    Is it better to sew or iron on a patch?

    Sew on patches take longer to create, but they do add flexibility to the garment it is being attached to, where as iron on patches are stiffer but also easier to apply. Overall it is a matter of time before the glue on iron on patches lose it, so sew on patches tend to last longer, unless you sew on the iron on patch too!

    Which material is best for patches?

    Any sturdy material will be decent for making patches from. However, the most preferred material choice is felt due to the fact the edges don’t fray. Less edge finishing is also required and therefore less chance of the stitching coming loose.


    We can’t tell you which technique of patches customisation you will like the most. But by trying out a handful of these on this article, you will find your favorite. It is a matter of getting a feel of what you like best and what process suits your character. After all, you must enjoy what you are doing in order to do it well.

    Patches are once again becoming extremely popular. It is a fantastic way to be unique and stand out from the rest. It also demonstrates your artistic side as people will know the design is custom made and not mass produced. Gone are the days where status reflected wearing high end brands!

    Uniqueness is the new fashion, and it is about time!

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