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Patches For Clear Bags

How To Make Patches For Clear Bags

Looking for a way to make your clear bags stand out? This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to replicate our patches using gold glitter HTV, colorful felt, and a splash of hand embroidery. Add a velcro dot and BOOM; you’ve got custom patches!


    Apparel decoration allows you to express yourself in a variety of ways. The inspiration that started these patches was jibbitz. Yes, jibbitz, the little charms that you can decorate Crocs with. And no, it wasn’t because we’re jealous of Saweetie’s new collection of jibbitz. We just love the idea of expressing yourself with patches that you can switch out for the season or whenever you want! 

    This project is great for those who are new to customizing blank apparel and accessories. It’s also great for experienced makers who are trying to think outside the typical “apparel decoration” box.

    You may be thinking to yourself, “how can I decorate a blank clear backpack?” Well, you can use typical decoration techniques like hand embroidery and heat transfer vinyl (HTV), but not directly on the bag of course. Instead of decorating directly onto a clear vinyl bag, why not create small patches and attach them with adhesive hook and loop dots! Then you can change out old patches as the season changes or as you create more patches.

    Clear bags with patches are a great gift for anyone but especially students who are learning who they are. The patches can be a form of self-expression. Our Port Authority brand carries two clear bags; one a tote bag and the other a backpack big enough for a 15” laptop.

    Products We Used:



    The Prepping - Creating a patch design

    Step 1: Find and import your design into Cricut Design Space.

    For this tutorial, we used Groovy Smiley Face Daisy.

    Once imported, ungroup each of the elements in the design.

    Step 2: Use the “Offset” tool to create a background layer.

    Starting with the element that is intended to be the bottom layer of the patch, use the “Offset” tool to create a background layer that is offset from the selected element by about .0117”.

    Set the background layer to “Basic Cut”. This will ensure that your background is cut once out of felt and once from the Siser Glitter HTV.

    Step 3: Remove elements using the “Contour” tool, this step is optional.

    Depending on the design of your background layer, you may need to remove elements in the center. In our case, we don’t want the circle in the center of the flower. To remove that, select the "Actions" tab. Then you'll see the "Contour" tool. This tool allows you to select or deselect items within the selected element. We don't need the circle in the middle, so tap it within the “Contour dialogue box” and watch it disappear from the design!

    Step 4: Prepare the elements for hand embroidery, this step is optional.

    If there are any elements that you’d like to decorate with hand embroidery (like the smiley face’s eyes and mouth in our case), you have two options. You can be wild and freehand the design…OR you can play it safe and set that layer to “Draw”, as we will be drawing those details onto Sulky Water soluble stabilizer. Tap "Make it" in the top right corner of Cricut Design Space and gather your materials to cut.

    Step 5: Start cutting!

    Click the “Make it” button in the top right corner of Cricut Design Space and gather your materials to cut. If you are cutting felt on a Cricut Joy, select “Flat Cardboard” as the cut setting because Felt is not encouraged to be cut on the Joy. Alternatively, the Maker will have “Felt” as a cut setting.

    The Making - Cutting the patches

    Step 1: Draw your embroidery design using the pen attachment, this step is optional.

    Remove the knife accessory from your cutting machine and replace it with the pen attachment.

    With the shiny paper side faced down, place a piece of Sulky water-soluble stabilizer on your standard mat and follow the prompts within Cricut Design Space to complete this layer.

    Step 2: Cut your felt layers

    Replace the pen attachment with the knife accessory. You can use either a Strong Grip mat or a Standard Grip mat with temporary adhesive spray and a brayer tool to help the felt stick to the mat while the machine cuts.

    Continue to follow the prompts in Cricut Design Space and cut the remaining layers.

    If you are cutting felt on a Cricut Joy, select “Flat Cardboard”. Alternatively, the Maker will have “Felt” as a cut setting.

    Step 3: Cut your glitter HTV.

    Select “Glitter Iron-on Vinyl” as the cut setting within Cricut Design Space.

    With the shiny side faced down, place the glitter vinyl to the mat. Use the brayer tool to temporarily secure the vinyl to the mat.

    If your design has text in it, be sure to mirror it before cutting.

    The Making - Putting it all together

    Step 1: Press the felt and glitter layers together

    With the shiny side (aka the “carrier sheet”) faced up, place the glitter layer over the felt layer, being careful to match the edges up as closely as possible.

    With your home iron or heat press, apply the glitter HTV to the corresponding felt layer. Once adhered, the felt and HTV layers should be fully adhered on all edges. If any of the glitter vinyl is peeling up, just place the carrier sheet back over the vinyl with the shiny side up and press again in any problem areas.

    Step 2: Prepare to embroider

    Like a sticker, the Sulky water-soluble stabilizer should separate into two pieces; (1) the carrier and (2) the sticky part with the design drawn on it.

    Attach the design onto a piece of felt cut to the size of the design.

    If you need more instruction on how to embroider by hand, check out this free tutorial on Hand Embroidery.

    Step 3: Secure the stabilizer in the hoop.

    Cut a piece of tear-away stabilizer to fit your embroidery hoop and and use a flat surface to secure the stabilizer in the hoop.

    Thread an embroidery needle with your desired color of embroidery floss and tie a knot at the end.

    With the element you to want to embroider faced design-side up on the hopped stabilizer, pierce the threaded needle up through the back of the hoop.

    Step 4: Embroider

    During the embroidery process, make sure to keep knots on the back of the hoop. When you’re finished embroidering, tie off your embroidery floss and clip any excess.

    Remove the tear away stabilizer and embroidered design from the hoop. Then gently remove the excess tear away stabilizer from the edges of the design.

    Rinse off the water-soluble stabilizer from the front of the design with warm soapy water. Then lie it flat to dry.

    Step 5: Spray embroidered layer with permanent fabric glue

    Once the embroidery layer is dry, spray the back part with permanent fabric glue. Then, attach the embroidery layer onto the HTV-felt layer completing your patch.

    Step 6: Apply adhesive hook & loop dots

    Attach the scratchy velcro dot on your backpack. Its corresponding fuzzy velco dot should go on the back of the felt patches.

    Use permanent adhesive spray to secure the embroidered elements to their corresponding felt and glitter backgrounds.

    Now you can replicate these felt and HTV patches for yourself! We hope you’ll share your final creations with us! Keep in mind that those little hook and loop dots can adhere to almost any fabric! So you can make patches for all kinds of blank backpacks or totes.

    Ready to start making?

    Check out these inspirational and educational articles to get you started.
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