Plastic Backing On Patches: What Is It For

By Jenny Bateman

You have probably come across blog posts or descriptions about patches which mentions the fact that particular patches have a plastic backing. A lot of places will tell you that the plastic backing contains heat activated glue which will allow the patch to be attached to an item with the help of a hot iron. But this is not necessarily the truth.

So let me use that space to sort of clear up a few misconceptions. The fact that not all patches contain heat activated glue just because they have a plastic backing is the reason why this is necessary.

Plastic backing and heat sealed backing are two different things according to which is a website that is devoted to providing explanations of everything to do with patches. As you can gather from the name, plastic backing is a thin layer of plastic which when applied to the rear of a patch will ensure that it lasts longer and is more rigid.

If you wanted this plastic backing to be able to become an adhesive then it would be necessary for you to apply such a degree of heat that could actually damage the patch or the item you wanted to apply it to. For this reason plastic backed patches are typically sewn in place with needle and thread.

Heat sealed backing, on the other hand, is what we're talking about when we mention heat-activated glue. This backing material may be applied directly to the patch or it may be applied over a layer of plastic. Regardless, heat sealed backing is more or less a glue substance which helps the patch adhere to most fabric surfaces. It doesn't require extremely high temperatures to activate, so there is very little concern about harming the patch during application.

With that cleared up, I'll address how heat sealed backing actually works in a future post. Make sure to come back again if you want to find out more.

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