Have you collected a stash of embroidered patches from all the concerts you attended or too many hours spent scrolling through Etsy? The great thing about patches is that you can use them to decorate any fabric, like your favorite tote bag or even your jeans. But if you struggle to find the time to sew on all your patches, you may want to learn how to find the best fabric glue for patches instead!!
The best fabric glue for embroidered patches works on all types of fabric and remains waterproof during washing. Some types of fabric glue work best to hold patches onto particular fabric types, such as leather or synthetics. Other types of fabric glue apply using heat, making them ideal for attaching iron-on embroidered patches.
In this article, you will learn how fabric glue holds a patch in place. You will discover 17 perfect types of fabric glue to attach your patches to various fabrics. Finally, you will discover the best way to make patches stick to fabric!
Does Fabric Glue Work for Patches?
Some types of fabric glue work to hold patches on fabric, but you do need to pick the right type of glue for your fabric or garment. Many types of fabric, like leather, wool, and nylon, can react badly to the ingredients in one type of glue but will bond perfectly with another type of fabric glue.
- If you want to glue a patch onto a fabric with protein or animal-based fibers, like wool, silk, or cashmere, you need to find a fabric glue that is not acid-based. Acid-based adhesives can cause wool and even some plant-based fabrics like cotton to combust in some cases! This rules out many types of superglues.
- Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester can dissolve if they come in contact with the wrong type of glue. Generally speaking, adhesives designed for use on plastics that bond or weld the materials together instead of gluing them work best with synthetics.
- Lots of adhesives will stain or damage leather, so make sure you pick a fabric glue specifically designed to bond with leather if you want to attach a badge to a leather jacket or hat.
Besides choosing glue that is safe to use with the fabric in your garment, you also need to think about the consistency of the adhesive as it dries. Some glue dries into a hard, stiff layer that will crackle or even refuse to bend at all once it hardens. Most good-quality fabric glue has a soft, flexible hold once dry to move with the fabric.
You may also consider how quickly you want to wear the garment after gluing on a badge. Some types of fabric glue dry in as little as two or three minutes, but others may need to cure overnight.
You should also know that not all fabric glue has the same level of permanency. Lots of the emergency repair or quick hem varieties of fabric glue form a strong bond but can dissolve under prolonged exposure to moisture–like when you need to wash your clothes!
Another factor that determines whether or not fabric glue will hold your patch securely is the type of patch. Most embroidered patches come in two styles: plain and iron-on. Iron-on patches have a plastic-like coating of heat-activated adhesive on the back side of the badge. These may respond best to fabric glues that come with a heat wand for application.
15 Best Fabric Glues for Patches
This guide to the 15 best fabric glue types for patches will help you pinpoint the right adhesive for your project.
For Any Fabric
A handful of fabric glues can hold a patch onto almost any type of cloth. These glues dry into a soft, bendable layer that can move with the material beneath the patch and will not feel stiff and uncomfortable.
1. Aileen’s Fabric Fusion for PatchesAileen’s fabric glue for patches is acid-free and safe for synthetic and natural materials. It dries under an hour and hardens into a clear, flexible coat. It primarily contains Urethane, a non-toxic elastomer with great water resistance and flexibility.
This means that if you attach a patch using Aileen’s Fabric Fusion, your garment will remain fully washable once the patch dries on!
You need to clean the fabric surface well before applying anything with this glue, though. Wash your jeans or jacket before gluing a patch, and then use a lint roller to remove any flecks of dust that could prevent the glue from fully bonding to the cloth.
2. Amazing GoopAmazing Goop is not technically a fabric glue, but you can safely use it with most kinds of cloth and it offers all the properties you look for when you glue on a patch: it dries clear, is flexible, and waterproof! Plus, this glue famously provides one of the strongest holds on plastics and fabrics that you can expect from any adhesive. The glue is a type of polymer, or plastic that acts as a sealant once it attaches to a surface.
You can use this glue to assemble a broken dish and then run it through the dishwasher, and the glue will not dissolve or crack! On top of this, it can withstand high or low temperatures without damage. This makes it ideal for attaching patches to anything you plan to wear or use outdoors.
3. Dritz Fabric Glue StickThe Dritz fabric glue stick offers one of the easiest, most mess-free methods of gluing on a patch. This works especially well with small patches like the tiny achievement badges you often need to attach to a Girl Scout sash or vest. While this glue is acid-free and safe for many types of material, it does not have a waterproof hold.
Its water-soluble nature makes it easy to clean up and is perfect for quickly securing a patch on something that will not need washing. It is also super useful for temporarily holding two pieces of cloth in place before you sew them together, like when you need to match stripes or plaids when putting together the pattern pieces for a dress.
4. Elmer’s Fabric and Craft GlueYou may think of Elmer’s as the stuff you weren’t allowed to eat in your kindergarten craft class, but these days Elmer’s offers a wide range of adhesive products, including a fabric and craft glue designed to work with cloth.
This glue has the thick, viscous consistency you would expect from a craft glue that can also hold paper, cardboard, and crafting items like buttons and sequins in place. It dries clear quickly, though you should not wash your garment with a patch glued on it for at least a day. After that, the glue should form a waterproof bond between the patch and the fabric.
5. Sue Dailey Applique GlueThe big advantage to Sue Dailey’s applique fabric glue is that it comes in a small, squeezable bottle with a super fine application spout. The needle-thin tip of the bottle helps people who want to use the glue to attach appliques, but it can also come in handy if you need to glue on a small or skinny embroidered patch!
Once it dries, the glue will form a thin, transparent coat between the patch and the material. It should have a strong but flexible hold.
For Iron-on Patches
If you don’t like the way iron-on badges sometimes peel back off after you use heat to attach them to the cloth, you may want to try using fabric glue instead. However, regular fabric glue may not work well as it might struggle to bond with the film of heat-activated adhesive on the back of an iron-on patch.
If you do use glue to apply an iron on the patch, don’t decide to try ironing it as well later! This could mix the two types of glue and create an unfortunate chemical reaction in some cases or cause the glue to remelt and loosen its hold.
6. Aileen’s Platinum Bond Super Fabric AdhesiveAileen’s offers a variety of fabric glues, but this one has the most powerful hold and can firmly attach even large, heavy patches to types of cloth ranging from polyester to leather. It contains an acrylic polymer and hardens into a sort of clear plastic once dry. Speaking of which, you do need to let this powerful glue cure for 72 hours before washing the garment with the patch on it.
Once it dries, you can put this glue in the washer or dryer. It becomes both waterproof and temperature resistant, which makes it handy for outdoor items as well!
7. No-Stitch Glue With Heating WandNo-Stitch Glue has a unique method of application that requires you to sprinkle adhesive powder between the patch and the cloth and then use a heating wand with a nonstick Teflon pad to heat the fabric, activating the adhesive powder. This creates a strong bond that is excellent for holding thick patches or attaching regular patches to a thick material like heavy denim or corduroy.
After the patch cools, it will have a waterproof bond, making the garment machine-washable. However, re-applying the heating wand or using a similar heat source like iron could undo the bond.
8. Surebonder Hot Glue Fabric StickOne of the quickest ways to attach a patch to many types of cloth is to use a hot glue gun and special fabric glue sticks like this ultra-strong-hold version produced by Surebond. You can get the glue sticks sized for a regular or a mini glue gun, too, which makes it even handier for crafting needs!
You can safely use this form of heated glue on most natural fabrics like denim, linen, or wool, but you may need to perform a spot test on synthetics to make sure the heat does not melt the cloth.
This glue dries fast, in about a minute. It will form a waterproof bond with your patch and can hold even very thick patches in places. That said, you will need to pick off the inevitable strings of glue that form when you use a glue gun.
If you want to attach an embroidered patch to your leather jacket, you should look for a fabric glue that specifically states that it can bond with leather. Some glues work better with synthetics and others only work on natural materials like cotton, so make sure you read the product description when selecting a glue to use on leather.
9. Beacon Fabri-FixBeacon offers various types of fabric glue, including Fabri-Fix, which works especially well with leather and wood. You can use this strong glue to attach patches to leather garments or to repair tears in leather upholstery.
You can safely use this glue on garments because it becomes fully washable once dry. The handy squeezable bottle also has a precision tip for applying on delicate areas!
10. Bish’s Tear MenderBish’s Tear Mender fabric glue works great for all types of cloth due to its latex bonding properties, but its extra strength also makes it a good choice for use on leather.
The glue dries within three minutes and cures to become fully washable within just fifteen minutes. It also offers an ideal solution for patching outdoor items because it will not degrade under UV rays like some types of glue.
The latex-based solvent is non-toxic, permanent, and acid-free, making it compatible with all types of cloth, like wool and silk, as well as sturdy types of material, like denim and leather.
For Polyester and Nylon
Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon may seem super durable, but the polymers that make up these man-made materials can sometimes have a bad reaction with the chemicals in certain types of fabric glues. This means you should read the product description or the bottle to make sure it says that it works on synthetics before use.
11. E6000 Fabri-FuseThis strong multi-purpose adhesive forms a durable waterproof seal so tight you can even use it to patch an umbrella or awning.
It works well with plastics, synthetics, and even ceramics.
The only downside to this powerful glue is that it will dry in a stiff layer rather than moving flexibly with the cloth and the patch. You may get around this difficulty by applying a super thin coat of glue, though.
12. Gorilla Waterproof Fabric GlueIf you have ever used Gorilla Glue for a household project, you will not find it surprising that the same brand has also created a strong, durable fabric glue!
This glue dries waterproof, making it fully washable. Besides attaching patches, it can also bond cloth to various difficult surfaces, like plastic buttons or metal items.
The clue to let you know that it is safe to use Gorilla fabric glue on synthetics is that the bottle promises that you can use it to attach felt, which almost always contains 100% polyester.
13. Loctite Water Resistant Fabric AdhesiveLoctite Fabric Adhesive offers a great resource anytime you need to glue a patch onto synthetics like vinyl, polyester, or nylon. It is designed especially to work with plastic surfaces.
You can also use it on many other surfaces like wood and metal. It dries in a clear, hard coat that offers great waterproof ability but may not feel as soft and flexible as some other types of fabric glue.
The glue sets in just fifteen minutes and provides instant fixes for tears or patches on items like raincoats and umbrellas.
14. Plextone Quick BondingIf you need to attach a patch to polyester, leather, vinyl, or cotton in less than a minute, try Plextone’s super-fast working Quick Bond fabric glue!
The small bottle comes with both a precision cap and a brush for easy application. Once dry, the glue becomes fully washable within 24 hours.
The remarkably quick-drying properties of the glue do come with a small trade-off, though. Once you open the bottle, you only get a one-time use, as it will dry out once the seal breaks.
15. Singer Sew No More Fabric GlueSinger remains one of the most powerful brands in the sewing world, so it is unsurprising that this brand also offers easy-use fabric glue.
Singer’s Sew-No-More glue works on pretty much any cloth surface including synthetics, cotton, and wool. It has a non-toxic and acid-free composition and dries both clear and flexible.
This glue is designed to fix a ripped hem or repair a small tear in a garment, so it may not hold a heavy or super thick patch in place as effectively as a stronger fabric glue.
How to Use Fabric Glue for Patches
The best way to use fabric glue for patches is to find a compatible glue and follow the instructions on the adhesive to apply the patch.
- Start by determining what kind of fiber content your garment, bag, hat, or other cloth item contains. You can usually find this information listed on the manufacturer’s care tag, inside a garment or bag, and on the reverse side of an umbrella or awning. This matters because you should pick a different kind of glue depending on if you want to attach a patch to leather vs polyester.
- Next, pick a type of fabric glue that is compatible with that type of cloth. You can choose from the 15 great options listed in this article to make this task easier!
- Spread out the garment on a flat surface and decide exactly where you want to place the badge. You can even do a trial run by using a safety pin to secure the patch and then try on the garment in front of a mirror to test the location!
- Once you have decided where to place the patch, make sure the cloth surface is clean and free of lint.
- At this point, read the instructions on the adhesive packaging to find out how to apply it to your patch. Some types of fabric adhesive come with needle-thin application caps perfect for small patches, while others come with brushes or heat wands to help apply the glue.
- Carefully place the glue-coated patch in the correct spot on the cloth. Take any further steps recommended by the adhesive packaging, like using a heat wand, at this point.
- Let the glue dry or cure for the recommended amount of time. In most cases, you can safely wear the garment with a patch on it after 24 hours.
Is Fabric Glue as Good as Sewing?
Fabric glue can work just as well as sewing in some cases, but this depends on the type of glue and the kind of cloth as well as your intended purpose in using the glue.
You already know that you need to carefully match the right kind of fabric glue to each type of cloth for the best results. For example, you must use a non-acid-based glue for wool or silk and a polymer or plastic-friendly glue with polyester and nylon.
But you should also think about the purpose of your project before deciding whether to use glue or sewing. Just like any crafting method, using fabric glue comes with some pros and cons.
Pros of using fabric glue:
- The biggest advantage of using fabric glue is that it is quicker and easier than sewing and requires no particular skill or training.
- Another advantage is that glue can strengthen damaged or torn cloth if you use it to patch a tear in the material.
- In some cases, you can follow the instructions on the adhesive packaging to unbond or remove glued items, which is harder to do if you sewed them into place.
Cons of using fabric glue:
- Some types of fabric glue form a stiff, crinkly-feeling layer once dried. This can feel uncomfortable and does not provide the flexibility of a patch you stitched into place.
- In some cases, glue can soak through to the surface of the material and leave a wet-looking stain in place once dried.
- Not all fabric glue is washable. If you use the wrong kind, your patch could float away in the washing machine the first time you wash your clothing!
- Some types of fabric glue can withstand high temperatures, but others will dissolve if the patch is later exposed to ironing or high heat.
Can You Use Fabric Glue on Iron-On Patches?
You can use fabric glue on iron-on patches if you select the right type of glue.
You can tell if a patch is iron-on by looking at the back of the badge. If it has a plastic-feeling, smooth coating across the back, it is iron-on and you can easily attach it to cloth by using an iron to heat that adhesive, which will melt and bond the patch to a cloth surface.
However, many materials like polyester and leather do not handle heat well, meaning you cannot easily use the iron-on adhesive. In this case, you may use a strong fabric glue to hold the heavier, stiffer iron-on patch in place.
You may find that fabric glue works better on plain patches that do not have that iron-on coating for two reasons, though. First, you do not have to worry about what type of glue to use on a plain-backed patch. Second, the coating on the back of an iron-on patch will give the whole patch a stiffer, more rigid feel and it will not flex and move with the rest of your garment as easily as a plain-backed patch.
Best Adhesive for Patches on Jeans
Two of the best adhesives you can use to put a patch on jeans are Aileen’s Fabric Fusion For Patches and Bish’s Tear Mender.
The denim in your jeans typically contains 100% cotton fibers, which makes it easy to use with any all-purpose fabric glue. But Aileen’s and Bish’s patching products work extra well to form a durable, waterproof seal to safely put your denim clothing in the washing machine after applying a patch.
If you choose a different glue, you may want to spot-test it on a hidden inner seam of your denim garment before using it to apply a patch. Check if it dries with a tacky film that will bend and flex as you move the material. If it dries into a brittle, hard layer instead, it will not feel as comfortable on your clothing.
You can quickly and easily use fabric glue to apply a patch to a cloth surface as long as you match the right glue to the fabric. The best fabric glue for patches has a strong, flexible, waterproof hold once dry, allowing you to wash the garment after use. Some types of fabric glue work well on any material, but others work best on leather, synthetics, or all-natural materials.
The best way to pick the right fabric glue for the job is to read the product description of the bottle to find out what surface it can stick to. You should also always read the instructions on the packaging as you apply the glue to make sure you provide the right drying and curing times to keep your patch permanently glued in place.
Have you ever used fabric glue on a project? What did you like best about this quick solution? Leave a comment below to let us know!