This is my first Instructable. So, I want to keep it simple. I promise they will get more interesting!
My son and his Webelos den are crossing over to Boy Scouts this spring, and as part of the ceremony preparation, they needed to pick a patrol logo/patch. Sparing you the details of the decision process, they chose a custom lightning bolt that is part of the school logo they all attend. I thought that was pretty cool and unique. Like any other Maker-Dad, I offered to make the custom patch happen. I'm good with a needle & thread, would have 2 weeks off for Christmas, no problem... HA!
Let's just agree that while my embroidery skills are good, they are NO match for a CNC embroidery machine. I know you can order custom patches from several patch makers out there, but anyone can do that. With time flying by quickly, I had the idea to try an iron-on. So, here we go...
Step 1: Get Creative!
The first thing to do is create the artwork for the patch. You should have a relatively clean picture, without too much detail. Even though you can probably print a more detailed iron-on compared to an embroidered patch, the working area is only 1 5/8" diameter. Details & contrasting colors with a simple design will show up well on a small shoulder patch.
Work with your patrol to try different ideas, have a contest, make if FUN! Some scouts may be better at hand drawing & coloring than on the computer. Work as a team and make use of everyone's strengths.
Things to consider regarding the patrol emblem:
- Is the emblem scouting appropriate? You will be wearing this on your uniform, at meetings, at scout camp, during fundraisers, etc. Keep it fun & get your scout master's approval.
- Will this be too difficult to cut out? Avoid long, skinny pieces that may be hard to position for the ironing process, and anything would have to be cut out of the center. Instead color the artwork to match the patch background color, and leave the iron-on a solid piece. (such as the center hole in a donut, or tire)
- Rounded corners last longer for iron-ons.
- When you are finishing the emblem on the computer prior to printing, place it in a circle to get an idea of how it will look & fit in the circle.
Step 2: Get Blank Patches & Print Your Emblems.
Blank patrol patches are available from your local scout shop, and should be stocked with the regular ones. Pick up some extras for those oops! moments. If you're not sure where to get the blank patches ask your scout master.
Run test prints on regular paper, using your 'iron-on' printer settings to verify orientation, size, & mirroring, if appropriate. The mirroring will be determined by instructions that come with the iron-on paper. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!
Always print more emblems than you need. Allow for mistakes, and learn from them. The emblems are small & you can probably print plenty on one half-sheet of paper if laid out carefully.
Step 3: Iron-on the New Patrol Emblem.
Again, follow the instructions that come with your iron-on paper kit. There are specific steps regarding temperature, time (duration), ironing base hardness, protective cover sheets. If you can iron your uniform (and you should be able to do that), then you can make a custom patrol patch!
This last step requires some patience, but makes all the difference. Make sure your ink is dry & carefully align your emblem on the blank patch.
Your troop could also make custom patches for its own special events. Save some money, have fun, and make some great patches! Feel free to send me a picture of them, I'd love to see them.
P.S. Thanks for all the great feedback. As an Eagle Scout myself, it's nice to hear from other 'experienced' Scouts. Success, you've encouraged me to write more Instructables!