Customizing Thrifted Items with Patches

One thing I love about thrifting my wardrobe is that I do not always have cookie cutter clothing that everyone else has from the same store. I love that I can customize unique pieces and make things my own, that fit my style and aesthetic. One way to do this is to personalize and customize the items that I thrift.


This is part one of two ways that I like to personalize and customize thrifted items to make them fun and unique. This month I want to share how to customize thrifted items by using patches! Patches are an inexpensive way to add personality and fun to many clothing and accessory items.


There are so many items you can thrift and add patches to, here are some of my favorites:

Jean Jackets







Makeup Bags




You can purchase patches at many retailers. You can buy a big mixed bag of assorted patches with bands, sports teams and themes on Amazon, you can choose patches that are stick on and easy to remove if needed (these would be ideal on shoes, hats, bags, backpacks and purses) or patches that are iron on. I chose both for my projects this month.


I found some fun stick on chenille Stoney Clover dupe patches at Hobby Lobby that were on sale for 60% off and they had a big variety of letters to customize names or words. I chose an “L” for my daughter’s initial and then an “XOXO” and “MAMA” patch as well.


The place that I found some really fun, inexpensive patches were at the Dollar Tree. These were all iron on patches but they had a big variety and my daughter and I had so much fun choosing patches to mix and match for her jean jacket.



For my project this month I chose to put patches on a jean jacket for my daughter, a zip up sweatshirt for my son and a hat for me. We had so much fun doing this together and they already want to do more!



Here is what you will need to customize your own thrifted items with patches:

Your item of choice
A small towel or washcloth
An ironing board
An iron


How to apply patches:

1. Make sure you wash and dry your thrifted item. You want your item to be clean and dry when you put the patches on.

2. Map out where you want to put the patches on your item. If you have a stick on patch, all you have to do is make sure it is straight and you simply stick it on.



3. If you are going to iron on your patches, make sure they fit where you want them to and that you like the placement before you adhere them.



4. Make sure your iron is on the Dry Iron setting and not using steam.  Set the iron to “cotton” or “high heat” setting.


5. Lay the garment flat on the ironing board.

6. I like to preheat the spot where I am going to put the patch for about 10 seconds to warm it up and then place the patch on the preheated spot. Place the washcloth or towel on top of the patch and press firmly for about 20 seconds. Check to see if the patch is sticking and if not repeat this step until it adheres.



7. Turn the item over and repeat this step on the reverse side of the garment.

8. At this point your glue will be very hot so do not move it and wait for it to cool and harden before touching. You can repeat this step again if you feel like you need to.

9. Let your item cool completely before using or trying on.

It took me less than a half hour to do three items and I love the outcome! This would be a great project to work on with kids, friends or grandkids and would be a great personalized gift for a birthday, bridal shower, baby shower or a fun project to do with friends. I want to do a thrifting day out with friends, find an item we want to customize, split the cost of a big bag of patches and have a girls night customizing our items together.



I hope you got some inspiration to do your own project and make sure to tag Goodwill Akron on social media if you do this so we can see it and share it with our community.


Stay tuned for next month for part two when I show you my other favorite and easy way to customize thrifted items.


Happy Thrifting!