Collecting Custom Patches as a Hobby

Collecting Custom Patches as a Hobby

Published Sep 29, 2023 by Rick Cundiff

Among the many hobbies and interests in the world, collecting is among the most popular. Not all of us can collect vintage cars like comic Jay Leno or modern art like record company mogul David Geffen. That doesn’t mean we can’t build an impressive collection of something on a smaller scale.

One of the easiest things to start collecting is custom patches. They have a lot to offer the collector. 

Why Collect Patches?


Patches are Colorful

Custom patches offer intricate artwork in a miniature format. Whether embroidered, woven, printed or PVC (see below), patches offer a brilliant range of colors, scenes and topics.

Patches are Affordable

This is one of the best reasons to collect custom patches. You can create an impressive collection quickly and for very little cost, especially compared to other collectibles.

Patches are a Unique Form of Expression

Patches are an ideal way to express your beliefs, concerns or sense of humor. You can craft patches to say anything you want, as long as it fits within the shape and size of the patch.

Patches Can Go Just About Anywhere

You can attach patches to hats, jackets, vests, shirts, backpacks and just about any other fabric item. They’ll carry your message wherever you go. With Velcro® hook-and-loop fasteners, you can transfer one patch among different garments instantly.

There are Many Ways to Display Custom Patches

As noted above, you can attach patches to just about any garment. Some people choose to wear just a single patch, to make one salient point. Others prefer to festoon a jacket or vest with enough patches to cover almost the entire garment.

Of course, you don’t have to wear your patches at all. You can display them in a case, shadowbox or portfolio. Whether you want to make a statement to the world, or just to a chosen few, the choice is yours.

Ways to Collect Custom Patches

How you choose to collect patches is up to you. With multiple types, sizes, styles and colors to choose from, you can specialize in one particular category, or pick and choose more generally.

Patch Types


This is the most common patch type. It’s made by embroidering thread onto a twill background. Because they are so popular, and easy to make with modern computerized machinery, these are the patches you’ll see almost everywhere. They are also the most economical patch type.

Embroidered patches can represent scenery, logos and text in multiple colors and an appealing style. The possible level of detail, however, is limited by the width of the thread. Trying to squeeze in too much detail will result in a design that’s muddled and text that’s illegible, especially at smaller patch sizes.


Woven patches use a weaving technique without a twill backing, rather than the sewn style of embroidered patches. Because they use a smaller-gauge thread, woven patches allow for greater detail and brighter colors.


Printed patches, as the name implies, print the design directly onto the backing material, with no thread involved. This allows for much greater detail and brighter colors. Legibility is outstanding, even on small patches.


PV C patchesare made of a soft, rubber-like plastic material. They are comfortable to wear, and can be extremely detailed. Because there’s no thread to catch, fray or wear, they are highly durable, and can be made in virtually unlimited color combinations. PVC patches do cost more, but don’t crack, peel or fade. They’re ideal for wear in harsh conditions.

Patch Styles


Military patches are probably the easiest starting point for patch collectors. Many people start collecting them while they are on active or reserve military duty. Patches are a fantastic way to commemorate assignments, special units, squads or teams, and other events and people. These patches can be quite colorful, with unique insignia that imparts extra meaning to them.


Patches for bands and music styles such as punk rock make great additions to denim or leather jackets. Show your support for the Ramones, the Beatles, Tupac or any other artist of your choice.


Show your support for your favorite team(s) with custom sport patches. Whether pro, college or even high school, custom patches let your team know you believe in their potential.


If you want to show your political allegiance to the world, patches are a well-known way to do so. No matter if you want a “MAGA” patch or a “Dark Brandon” one, let the world know. Custom patches are available for just about any political party, belief or cause under the sun.

Pop Culture

Love “Real Housewives of Peoria”? Can’t wait to read the next romance novel written by the woman who shares a last name with a vacuum cleaner? Put it on a patch! Declare your appreciation of any pop phenomenon, from Stephen King to “Hamilton” to pumpkin spice  (wait, which one was she? Just kidding.)

Other Factors To Consider

Collecting patches can be fun, but it can seem a little bit overwhelming at first. A few simple steps will help when you’re starting out.

Get Started

What really matters with collecting patches, or anything else, is simply getting started. Decide what you like, look around, and buy your first patch. Once you have a couple of sales or trades under your belt, you’ll find your enthusiasm growing. And if you’re interested in having custom patches of your own made, we’re a dependable source. Call or email us today to find out how we can help you create the perfect patches for your own group or organization.