How to Attach Girl Scout Patches

Girl Scout Badges
Old Bridge Girl Scouts

Congratulations! Your little one is a proud Girl Scout, and before long she’ll be coming home with her vest, sash or tunic and some Girl Scout Badges ready to be attached. Next thing you know, you’re finding yourself trying to figure out the best way to apply said badges. Below are four different methods for getting this done, along with some information on the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Before you sit down to attach the patch or badge, make sure the garment is clean and completely dry. Next, figure out where you want the badge to go. Follow the directions provided by your troop leader, or go to the Girl Scouts website for more information on what needs to go where.

Once you know where you want to put your badges, use safety pins to secure them. This allows you to hold out the garment or sash and make sure you’re happy with the placement before you commit to a more permanent method. You can keep the pin in place for most of the methods mentioned below while you’re attaching the patches.


One of the easiest ways to attach badges is to simply glue them. Some people like to use hot glue guns, but fabric glue gives you better and more permanent results. If you’re not planning on washing or handling the vest, sash or tunic much, this works well. Be aware though that the badges and patches that are glued on will eventually start to come apart. At that point, you can re-glue or use one of the other methods. This works well when you’re in a rush or need to add a badge while you’re on the road.

Iron-On Patches or Paper

Many patches are iron-on. If they are not, you can purchase some iron-on paper that allows you to turn any badge into an iron-on version. In either case, make sure you follow the directions on the package exactly. Each type of iron-on product has slightly different directions but usually, involves a damp cloth and a hot iron. Make sure you use a pressing cloth to avoid getting glue on your iron as it’s difficult to get off later on.

Iron-on patches are easy to attach. They stay on reasonably well but will fray and start to come loose with time. This is a good solution if you don’t want to bother with needle and thread. Sewing them, later on, is always an option.

Hand Sewing

This is by far the most durable method of applying Girl Scout badges while still being fairly easy and portable. All you need is thread and needle. Choose a sturdy needle and thread that matches the badge. The invisible thread also works well. Work all around the badge in an even backward stitch.

This will firmly attach the badge. Secure the end with a knot on the backside and hide the thread tail in between the patch and the garment.

Hand sewing is an easy task. Teach your scout how to sew patches on as early as possible and make it their responsibility to attach their badges and patches.

Machine Sewing

A favorite way of adding badges and patches is with the sewing machine. It’s fairly quick, the stitches are neat and with a little sewing practice, you’ll do a good job adding them. This is also by far the most durable method of adding badges. You can wash, launder, use and “abuse” the Girl Scout garment, and the patches will stay on.

When using your sewing machine, choose a thread that matches the garment and the patch. Use a color that matches the vest or sash for the bobbin and a top thread that matches the main color of your badge. This way the stitches won’t be very visible. You can also use a clear or invisible thread for your topstitching.

Pin the patch in place and start sewing with a top stitch around the outside of the badge. Use a fairly small stitch and take your time. If you’re going around corners, stitch to the edge, leave the needle down and lift your presser foot. You can now move the material around without losing your spot.

Your daughter will be proud to wear any of the Girl Scout insignia that they earn.