Embroidered patches can be dated all the way back to ancient Asian civilizations; they’ve been around for centuries. Yet not until recently has it been possible to place them to your clothing using a hot iron and heat-activated glue. With today’s patches you can readily apply them on most fabrics without ever needing a needle and thread. Thankfully having the capability to affix them with a hot iron implies that your fingers are not going to get sore and it is much easier and quicker to do. The only problem is, you can’t iron patches to leather – at least in the traditional sense.
High Temperatures Not Good for Leather
When you’re using a hot iron to attach embroidered patches you’re essentially heating up the glue on the back side till it reaches a semi liquid, tacky state. That requires a great number of heat; heat that can damage the sensitive finish of leather.
It’s true that leather is a very durable material, but the surface is comfortably damaged by concentrated heat sources. This presents two problems. The first problem is the fact that when the leather is damaged, the glue are not going to stick to it and then the patch will fall off. And when the patch does fall off, the leather will be left with an ugly mark where the iron has burned it. The same can be said for vinyl and various types of faux leather. Another thing to consider is that even if you might find a way to make the glue adhere, one slip of the iron that brings in contact with bare leather will leave a burn mark. This is why you should never have a hot iron anywhere near your leather.
Is There Another Way?
We said earlier that you can’t use an iron to place embroidered patches to leather in the traditional sense. The explanation for saying this is because that while you should not try to place iron on patches to leather in the traditional way but there’s a non-traditional method. What this means is that there is special glue that you can use along with an unheated iron. Yes, a cold iron. It will only be important to use your iron as a press.
In order to get this to work properly, you will need to have special glue; leather is notoriously difficult to work with so you won’t be able to use just any old glue. You can find this specialized glue at craft stores, sewing shops, and even some high-end leather goods specialty stores. Just be sure you carefully read the directions on the bottle, making sure that use on leather products is specifically mentioned. Failure to do this could mean that you’re just going to be wasting your money.
The glue needs to be applied to the back of the patch as per the instructions on the bottle and then you should carefully place the patch onto the part of the leather where you want it. Next thing you need to do is use your cold iron to press down firmly onto the patch for the quantity of time as stated on the glue bottle. You can then release the iron and wait for the glue to dry. It’s essential that you know where you want to have your patch before you lay it down. You will be left with an ugly stain if you remove the patch after you might have placed it onto the leather.