Iron On Patch VS Velcro Patch: What’s the Difference?

Patches have become an iconic form of self-expression that showcases individuality, affiliations, and personal style. As the demand for these embroidered patches continues to rise, two popular attachment methods have emerged: the traditional iron-on patch and the versatile Velcro patch. While both offer unique advantages, understanding their differences is essential for making an informed choice based on your needs. 

This blog will delve into the distinctive characteristics of iron-on and Velcro patches and explore their application processes, advantages, limitations, and various uses. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a tactical gear aficionado, or simply looking to repair your favorite garments, this blog will guide you through the decision-making process and help you choose the perfect patching solution for your individual preferences and needs.

Embroidered Iron on Patches

Iron on Patches

What is Iron on Patch?

An iron-on patch is a type of patch that can be ironed on your clothes or other materials. Iron-on patches are usually used to customize and decorate clothes, shoes, bags, hats, accessories, DIY projects, and costumes. It is also often used to represent companies’ organizations, identify military personnel, commemorative decorations, and other decorative purposes. An iron-on patch has adhesive layers at the back, which get activated when heated with an iron. Feel the patches back with your fingers to tell if a patch is an iron-on. An iron-on patch will have a slight bulge on its back because of its adhesive.

Sample of Iron on Patch with Backing:

Iron on Patch

Advantages of Iron on Patch:

  1. Forms a strong, durable bond with the fabric, ensuring the patch stays securely.
  2. Ironing the patch on fabrics provides a polished and cohesive look.
  3. Iron-on patches are easy to iron on fabrics.
  4. Resistant to peeling or detachment.
  5. Well-suited for uniforms, formal clothing, or situations where a professional and permanent appearance is desired.
  6. Works effectively on various fabrics, including cotton, denim, and canvas.
  7. Can withstands regular washing without compromising the integrity of the attachment.

Disadvantages of Iron on Patch:

  1. Once applied, iron-on patches can be challenging to remove.
  2. Not compatible with certain materials and surfaces that cannot withstand heat.
  3. Iron-on patches offer less flexibility for changing or updating designs frequently.
  4. The initial positioning of the patch requires accuracy, as repositioning after heat application is challenging.
  5. Iron-on patches are not ideal for stretchy fabrics.

How to Apply Iron on Patches

Materials Needed:

  1. Iron-on patches of your choice
  2. Garment or fabric for patch application
  3. An iron
  4. Parchment or thin cotton fabric (to protect the patch and garment during ironing)
  5. A flat, heat-resistant surface

Step-by-Step Application Guide:

  1. Prepare the Fabric: Ensure that the fabric or garment you intend to attach the patch to is clean and free of wrinkles. Smooth surfaces provide better adherence.
  2. Position the Patch: Place the iron-on patch on the desired location, adhesive side down. Be precise in positioning to achieve the desired placement.
  3. Cover with a Protective Layer: Place a thin cotton fabric or parchment paper over the patch. This protective layer prevents the iron from directly touching the patch, avoiding damage to the embroidery.
  4. Activate the Adhesive: Set the iron to the appropriate temperature for the fabric (refer to the patch instructions). Press the iron firmly over the protective layer, moving it in a circular motion for about 15-20 seconds.
  5. Allow Cooling: Let the fabric cool for a few minutes before checking the bond. Ensure the patch is securely attached by gently tugging at the edges.

Velcro Patches

Velcro Patch

What is a Velcro Patch?

A velcro patch has a velcro backing at the back. A velcro backing is an easy way of attaching a patch to your clothes, jacket, hat, backpack, uniform, and accessories. This backing is very durable and will last longer than an adhesive backing. 

A velcro patch is also called a tactical or morale patch because it is often used in military uniforms. It has a loop and hook backing, allowing the patch to be easily attached. All you need to do is peel off its backing and stick it to anything you want to decorate. 

Components of Velcro Patch:

  • Hook Side: This side of the Velcro patch consists of tiny, stiff hooks that interlock with the loops on the opposing surface.
  • Loop Side: Comprising soft, flexible loops, this side complements the hook side, creating a strong yet easily detachable bond.

How Velcro Patches Adhere to Surfaces:

  • Velcro patches adhere through the interlocking of the hook and loop components. These components create a secure bond when pressed together, allowing the patch to be firmly attached to the desired surface. This attachment method facilitates easy removal and reattachment, making Velcro patches versatile and customizable.

Sample of Velcro Patch with Backing:

Velcro Patch

Advantages of Velcro Patch:

  1. Velcro patches offer a flexible attachment method, allowing easy removal and reattachment.
  2. The simple application process of pressing the hook-and-loop components together is user-friendly.
  3. Velcro patches can be detached and reattached numerous times without compromising the patch or the fabric.
  4. It lets users switch between patches, providing a customizable and adaptable appearance.
  5. It is ideal for situations where temporary use or frequent changes of patches are desired.
  6. Compatible with various materials, including fabric, plastic, and some metals.
  7. Suited for outdoor activities, sports, and casual wear, where adaptability is key.
  8. Widely used in various contexts, from military and tactical gear to recreational and fashion applications.

Disadvantages of Velcro Patch:

  1. The bond created by Velcro is not as permanent as other attachment methods.
  2. The presence of the Velcro strip can be less aesthetically pleasing.
  3. The hook-and-loop mechanism may attract lint and debris, affecting the appearance over time.
  4. The hooks of the Velcro may catch on and damage delicate fabrics.
  5. The visible strip may be less professional or polished than other attachment methods.
  6. The Velcro detachment process can create a noticeable ripping sound.

Key Differences Between Iron On and Velcro Patches

1. Attachment Method:

A. Iron On Patches:

  • Attach via a heat-activated adhesive on the back of the patch.
  • Requires the use of an iron to bond the patch to the fabric.

B. Velcro Patches:

  • Attach using a hook-and-loop mechanism, with one side featuring hooks and the other loops.
  • Secures through direct pressure, allowing for easy detachment and reattachment.

2. Permanence and Reusability:

A. Iron On Patches:

  • Offers a permanent attachment with a strong, durable bond.
  • Limited reusability; attempting to remove and reapply may compromise adhesive quality.

B. Velcro Patches:

  • It provides a semi-permanent attachment that is strong but removable.
  • High reusability; the Velcro mechanism allows for repeated attachment and detachment without compromising patch integrity.

3. Suitable Materials and Surfaces:

A. Iron On Patches:

  • It is best suited for fabrics that can withstand heat, such as cotton, denim, and canvas.
  • Limited compatibility with non-fabric surfaces.

B. Velcro Patches:

  • Versatile and compatible with various surfaces, including fabric, plastic, and some metals.
  • Adaptable to different materials, making them suitable for multiple applications.

Choosing the Right Patch for Your Needs

1. Consideration of Purpose and Frequency of Use:

A. Iron On Patches:

  • They are ideal for a permanent attachment, making them suitable for uniforms, formal attire, or items that won’t undergo frequent changes.
  • Suited for situations where the patch represents a long-term affiliation or achievement.

B. Velcro Patches:

  • It is well-suited for dynamic situations where patches may need to be changed frequently, such as in sports, outdoor activities, or casual wear.
  • Perfect for individuals who enjoy expressing different affiliations or moods through interchangeable patches.

2. Aesthetic Preferences and Customization Options:

A. Iron On Patches:

  • Provide a seamless and professional appearance when properly applied.
  • An excellent choice for those who prioritize a polished and cohesive look on their garments or accessories.

B. Velcro Patches:

  • Offer versatility in customization with the ability to switch patches easily.
  • It is suited for individuals who enjoy expressing their creativity through a variety of patches or those who want the option to change their looks frequently.

3. Practicality in Various Situations:

A. Iron On Patches:

  • Practical in situations where a permanent, secure attachment is essential, such as in military, law enforcement, or formal events.
  • Suitable for items that won’t be subjected to frequent washing or intense physical activity.

B. Velcro Patches:

  • Practical for situations requiring flexibility and adaptability, such as outdoor activities, team sports, or casual wear.
  • Convenient for individuals who engage in activities that demand frequent changes of patches or emblems.


The choice between iron-on and Velcro patches offers enthusiasts a nuanced decision-making process. The choice between Iron On and Velcro patches ultimately comes down to personal preferences, intended use, and the desired balance between permanence and adaptability. Each type has distinctive features, offering possibilities for individuals seeking to express themselves through clothing and accessories.

As you embark on your patch customization journey, consider the context in which you’ll use the patches, your aesthetic preferences, and how often you intend to change or update your look. Whether you opt for the permanence of Iron On patches or the adaptability of Velcro patches, both offer unique opportunities for self-expression, allowing you to wear your affiliations, achievements, and personal style proudly. The world of patches is as diverse as your imagination, and the choice is yours to make a statement that’s uniquely yours.

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