Make It: DIY iron-on patches and appliques
One of the coolest and simplest craft supplies I’ve come across is paper-backed, iron-on adhesive. The adhesive often comes on a roll or is sold in sheets. It basically consists of an adhesive that melts when heat is applied (via iron) and a paper backing. I created a similar tutorial a few years ago and it continues to be one of my most popular blog posts. I thought it could use some updating.
Paper-backed, iron-on adhesive (can be found in any sewing/ fabric store)
Fabric pencil or Sharpie
Something to adhere the iron-on to (a shirt, tote bag, etc.)
1: Start with 1 piece of fabric, large enough to accommodate the size of your patch, and one equal (or lightly smaller) piece of iron-on adhesive. Place the fabric right-side down with the dullish, textured side of the iron-on adhesive facing down on top of it (the shiny side of the adhesive paper will be facing up).
2: Pre-heat your iron, usually on the low setting (follow the directions on the iron-on adhesive packaging for optimal temperature). Iron the shiny side of the transfer paper lightly until the textured side bonds securely with the fabric.
3: Use a template or freehand a design either (a) directly onto the “good” side of the fabric with a fabric pencil OR (b) draw the design directly onto the shiny backside. If you use method (b), remember that your image will be reversed.
4: Cut out your design with fabric scissors.
5: Peel the paper backing from the fabric.
6 & 7: Now you are ready to iron the patch onto a shirt, bag, or whatever your heart desires. Place the material right side up in desired position and iron. Ironing time may depend on thickness of fabric. Iron lightly until you have a secure bond. Sew around the edges (by hand or machine) or embellish as you wish.
The adhesive may not hold perfectly over several washes. You can hand or machine stitch around the edge of the patch to ensure that it stays in place. Use a zigzag stitch around the edge if you want to prevent the patch from fraying.
Try not to get the adhesive material on your iron or it could create a sticky mess. Clean the iron after it has cooled.