How to Sew or Iron on Boy Scout Patches

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How to sew Boy Scout patches on a uniform shirt.

How to apply Boy Scout patches to a shirt with a sewing machine or without. Tips for where to apply the patches and more.

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My husband signed the 6 year old up for Boy Scouts last year, right after the baby was born. He did it the same day that I cried the whole way home from the gym because the baby wouldn’t let the childcare workers there hold him and I was tired and overwhelmed and exhausted.

I probably wouldn’t have signed him up for another activity so I decided that seeing daddy signed him up, daddy could take him.  As much as I love the idea of my kids participating in things, it gets a bit overwhelming to be running everywhere, particularly with a newborn.

Needless to say, I’ve been really hands off this year about Boy Scouts- But I did volunteer to sew on the patches for his ceremony. So, if you’re a bit stuck on sewing on patches, here’s three ways you can apply a Boy Scout Patch. THIS I can do.

The badges we received LOOKED like they were iron on but heck if I could get them to stick. So I gave up and did my own thing.

Supplies for Applying Scout Patches

Where do I Sew on Boy Scout Patches on a Shirt?

Good question! The Boy Scouts website has this helpful guide to where to place your patches. You can click over, click the branch of Boy Scouts your child belongs to, and then it will tell you where to place the patches.

For the Tigers, my son’s branch, the patches were placed like this… you can’t see on the left but the American flag has the den number patch under it :

Patch placement for Boy Scout Patches for Tigers

Here’s a video on Scout patch placement:

How to Iron on Boy Scout Patches

So I’m going to show you how to iron on the patches WITHOUT using the iron on backing on the patches. It didn’t seem to work for me- are they really iron on?! I have no idea. Anyhow, there’s this cool stuff we use for double that is double sided fusible web. That’s this stuff below!

Using double stick fusible web to apply a Boy Scout's patch. This is great even if you plan to sew it on.

I had this package of it sitting around. There’s a few sheets in there and it worked perfectly. I cut a piece of it the size of my badge. Then I stuck the sticky side to the back of my badge.

Stick a small cut of the double sided fusible web to the back of the badge.

Ironed it on to the back of my badge. Keep some tweezers nearby in case it sticks to your iron.

Iron the fusible web to the badge.

Once you iron it onto the badge, you can peel the backing off the other side. Place it in the proper spot on your child’s shirt.

Peel backing off the double sided fusible web. Stick the badge on the shirt where it's supposed to be placed.

Iron on.

Iron on the badge.

For the circular badge, I put the outer ring on first, then ironed on the middle ring.

For the ring and circular badge, I applied my outer circle first, then did my iron on for the inner circle.

There was a method to my madness… I was struggling to cut my fusible web perfectly around the inside of the badge. By placing the circle last, it would cover any slight overlap.

Circular Boy Scouts patches applied with iron on double sided fusible web.

Now if you don’t have a sewing machine and don’t want to hand sew the badge on, you can stop here but BE AWARE that you may need to repeat this if/when it eventually falls off. I can’t promise it will stay on forever.

I followed up by sewing the patch on. I think it’s more sturdy.

How to “Glue” on Boy Scout Patches

So I keep hearing ‘badge magic’ works and I haven’t tried it. It looks, according to the product info on Amazon, a lot like the stuff I use for ironing on the badges. So it sounds like more of an iron on thing than a gluing thing. You could, however, use fabric glue. You would just squeeze glue onto the back of the badge and put in in place. My theory is that this won’t hold up long term through a lot of washes. For something like the Girl Scouts sashes, it might work because those don’t get laundered as much. But these shirts for Boy Scouts will likely get washed after every wear. Or so I’d guess.

The one thing I’d mention about fabric glue is that I’ve found it dries out fairly fast so I’m not sure if you’d be able to save the container to use for another round of badges. But I usually use Fabric Tac and I didn’t add that to my supply list because I haven’t had great luck with it. I added a fabric glue that has better ratings instead. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

How to Sew Scout Patches with a Sewing Machine

I like to use the iron on first for placement… it helps hold everything in place correctly while I sew. It’s hard to pin a thick patch on and I don’t want the patch to shift while I’m sewing. Ironing on the patch keeps it in place while I zig zag the patch on. It works really well for me.

To sew your patch on using a sewing machine, you want to make sure you have matching thread or an invisible thread. Some people say that light gray thread works for most things too. I find matching thread to be fairly low effort so I just used purple for one patch and black for the others.

If your machine lets you pull off part of the case so it is easier to sew the patch onto the sleeve, pull that part off. I think most machines have that option and it’s really nice to be able to slide the sleeve right under the needle without worrying about sewing the sleeve to itself.

Using a sewing machine to sew on Boy Scout patches with a zig zag stitch.

I like to use a zig zag stitch. I set my stitch width so that it’s just wide enough to drop the needle right on the outside of the patch and then right on the inside of the first embroidered line of the patch. I hope that makes sense… I like to play with my settings and then manually turn the knob to see where the needle falls in that position. If it looks good, I use that setting. This is what I used for most of my patches this time.

The zig zag settings on my machine for sewing on the Boy Scout patches. This may need to be adjusted for your badges and machine.

This is one of the patches I sewed on. You can see the dark thread a bit but it’s not too bad. I go slow when I sew to make sure the needle drops in the right places and sometimes I’ll go around extra just to make sure it stays on well.

Den number patch, sewn on with a zig zag stitch and a sewing machine.

The round patches came out much better. I zig zagged the outer badge, then I also sewed the inner badge down. It was very simple. Here’s the stitching on the opposite side of the shirt. Dark blue thread might have blended better but it’s fine.

Sewing machine stitching for a Boy Scout patch. Picture of the inside of the shirt.

If you’re hand sewing the circular badge, the Boy Scout store recommended sewing the inner circle to the outer circle first, then sewing it all on to your shirt. I didn’t mind doing them separately though.

Here’s a video that I found on YouTube that shows how to sew a patch on if you prefer a video.

Here are some other sewing tutorials that you might like if you’re new to sewing: How to Choose a Sewing MachineSewing Tools | How to Thread a Serger | How to Babyproof a Sewing Room

Boy Scout Fabric

It came to my attention that some of you may be getting to my blog because you’re searching for Boy Scout fabric. I figured I’d help you out a bit and share some fun resources for cute Boy Scout themed fabric that you can get online.

Fabric.com has a collection of Boy Scout fabric available including:

Boy Scouts Panel, Navy
Boy Scouts Panel, Navy
Boy Scout Code Fabric
Boy Scout Code Fabric
Camping Fabric
Scout Themed Camping Fabric, Gray or Blue
How to Sew or Iron on Boy Scout Patches
Yield: 1 Patch

How to Sew or Iron on Boy Scout Patches

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $1-$5

Tips for where to apply the patches to a shirt with a sewing machine or without.

Materials

  • Iron On
  • Light Steam a Seam 2
  • Glue On
  • Badge Magic
  • Sew On
  • Matching thread 

Tools

  • Iron
  • Sewing machine or hand stitch with a sewing needle.
  • Scissors

Instructions

Without a sewing machine

  1. Cut a piece of double sided fusible web to the size of the badge.
  2. Place the sticky side to the back of the badge.
  3. Add double sided fusible web.
  4. Iron
  5. Peel the backing off the other side.
  6. Place it in the proper spot on your child’s shirt.
  7. Iron


With a sewing machine

  1. Use matching thread or an invisible thread.
  2. Attach the patch using a zig zag stitch.
  3. Set your stitch width so it’s wide enough to drop the needle on the outside of the patch and inside the first embroidered line of the patch.
  4. Go slow and go around extra to make sure it stays on well.

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Three ways to apply a patch to a scouting uniform. These Boy Scout patches were easy to put on! Learn how.

Sewing on Scout Patches with a Machine | No Sew Scout Patches | Where to Place Boy Scout Patches

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7 thoughts on “How to Sew or Iron on Boy Scout Patches”

  1. As a Girl Scout Grandma I volunteered to do the badges for my Daughter’s co leader’s girls as well. ALL of the badges that had been glued on with Badge Magic on their vests previously had to be sewn down eventually. I have managed to iron on the Girls Scout badges that are labelled iron on and get them to stick but eventually they are going to come off, I use the iron on to hold them in place while I stitch them on the machine.

  2. Thanks Danielle! I found your instructions and pictures very helpful when I sewed the patches on my grandson’s Boy Scout shirt. 🙂

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