Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why I Will No Longer Use Badge Magic

Update 10/04/06:
Below is a story of my own personal experience with using Badge Magic on three different Cub Scout uniforms. Originally the Badge Magic was applied in the fall of 2004 and attempted to be removed in the fall of 2006.

If you want to read the promotional materials from Badge Magic and to read what they say about their product, go read their site,

If you are looking for instructions on how to use Badge Magic, they are inside the package. If you have lost those directions or you no longer own them, or if you want to read them before you purchase the product you may read the instructions on the Badge Magic official website,

The directions on the site also include the manufacturer's directions for removal of the badges which is something I didn't know existed, so I didn't read them before doing what I did, as told in the below story. I still hesitate to use solvent based cleaners on the uniform as the Badge Magic site does state to test an area to see if it stains.

Perhaps the moral of the story is to make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions on how to remove patches that used Badge Magic before attempting to do so.

My Story
It is that time of year again, time for the start of the new Scouting year. I am writing this blog post as a service to you. Hopefully you will read this and consider it wisely before making any decisions. I am inspired to write it also because I’ve been getting hits on my blog from people looking for help and information about an easy way to sew badges onto a uniform.

First I will say that to have a little side business as a badge sewer would be a small and easy way to make some money. From within your Scout Pack you could offer say, $1 per badge, if you are handy with machine sewing. Many parents would be happy for this, especially if you understand the BSA rules for proper placement of the badges on the uniform. Or you could do as my friend did and pay her tailor to do the work.

I am not a sewer. The two general times I wished I am a good sewer are at Halloween time each year, and at times when I need to sew badges onto Scout uniforms.

The first year my friend and neighbor helped me sew the badges onto uniforms with her machine. The next time I needed her help, her machine was not working.

Then a friend offered to help, one who brags at how easy it is. Well her machine broke and was out of commission.

So two seasons ago, at the urging of the Scout shop’s staff, I bought Badge Magic. It sounded too good to be true, put the sticker between the cloth and the badge and the badge would stay put, without sewing! It worked well, or so I thought, until when I washed and dried the garment in the machines, the badges fell off. Grrr.

I also tried using that adhesive free webbing intended for hemming pants, to use as a fuser between the shirt and the badge, you fuse it with the iron. That worked temporarily but not permanently.

Another Story
Last spring, I applied a wide badge over my son’s top flap of his shirt (the Outdoor Activity Award). At uniform inspection he was told that I put it on the wrong side of his chest. Whoops.

It was applied only with Badge Magic. I removed it by pulling on it with all of my might. Note, I now realize that the manufacturer does not recommend that method. Adhesive residue was left on the cloth of the shirt flap. I worked on it for about an hour to try to pick it off to not much avail. I then washed it in the machine, that didn’t work either, it just balled up like a big glue ball with lint stuck all over it. I tried using a solvent to take it off, but a test revealed that it would stain the fabric permanently. I then sat and picked at it with my fingertips and tweezers for about two more hours. It is still not all off. I also didn’t bother to sew that big patch onto the right place on the shirt. I give up.

In their defense I will say that the makers of Badge Magic said to be careful with the placement of the badge. What can I say, I made a true mistake, pure and simple, it was unintended!

Last year, feeling incompetentabout the badges in general, wanting to sew the other badges onto a red vest, I bought a sewing machine for the purpose of badge sewing and Halloween costume making. I attempted and succeeded making two Halloween costumes. I spent 28 hours doing that and probably will never undertake anything like that again. I also shed many tears and stressed myself out completely. Now the machine seems to not be working.

My friend helped me sew some badges on with my machine. I asked if the pins were in the way, she said to sew through them. My husband said it would break the needle. My friend said, no. So I did it and the needle broke. Whoops.

At that point I gave up, and my son’s uniform could have had arrow points put onto it but they are missing. Oh well.

And so this fall, we have changed Packs. That means that I need to change the Pack numbers on my Leader uniform shirt and ditto for my husband’s. Guess what I found out? They were put on with Badge Magic (I could no longer remember which patches were sewn on by which method.). Since they had partially lifted off after being in the washing machine, I had my friend sew them onto the shirts on top of the Badge Magic that was still there. So I found out last week that the stitches were about 100 stitches to the inch. This was very hard to tear with the seam ripper and could not be done by hand either. And then there was the Badge Magic. What a disaster, even after the stitches were out I couldn’t get the patch off without a struggle. I ended up ripping my shirt once and my husband’s shirt in three places, when the seam ripper slipped or when I was pulling the patch away from the Badge Magic. Also the seam ripper was getting gunked up with the Badge Magic and I had to keep washing it with a solvent to get it off (nothing else worked).

I am at my wits end as now I am supposed to remove the big round patch on my husband’s shirt to change to note his different Pack position. It is both sewn and with Badge Magic. I am doomed. I am considering two options:
a. having him go through the year with a higher ranking position on his arm which he does not hold
b. sewing the new patch right on top of the old one
The third option is to buy a new shirt and all other new patches (over $60, I am sure it will cost us), so that is NOT an option for our family.

So I have now sworn off Badge Magic! I choose to hand sew patches going forward.

(If you want to use Badge Magic and you like it, good for you. I loved it until I had problems removing it.)

What I did earlier this week was to sew badges on by hand (and I am happy with that). To follow BSA rules I used the thread that matches the exterior ring/edge/piping of the badge. I sewed through that part only, with a whipstitch. (Note: I know so little about sewing that I just had to find what the name of that stitch is called using Google.) That stitch is easy. I doubled the thread to make it stronger. Since I matched the thread color, it is not very visible. I have to say I am quite pleased with myself. I only poked myself about ten times and only one of those was a serious puncture wound with prolonged bleeding.

The last complaint I’ll make is that even with pinning the badge to the shirt while doing the hand sewing, it slips, due to the fact that the badges are waxed on the back and the shirt has polyester in it.

Lastly, I did try ironing badges on in the past but that did not work, for whatever reason. Whatever happened to iron on badges?

Actually the hand sewing was not that bad, even if it did take me three hours to do two new shirts and make small modifications to two other shirts.

The next project for Scouts is sewing the extra badges onto the red vest.

And for the record this year we’ve bought store bought Halloween costumes, I’m over the idea of making homemade Halloween costumes.

I won't tell you what to do, whether to hand sew, machine sew or to use Badge Magic. I hope you are happy with the decision that you make.

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Scoutmaster Scott said...

Badge Magic works great if you use it correctly.

First follow the directions completly.

They state that after you have placed the badge to either throw it in the dryer for a few moments or iron the back of the patch with the shirt inside out. The heat makes the badge adhere correctly. I recommend ironing but use a cloth between your iron and the back of the shirt and patch. This will prevent any glue getting on your iron.

To remove all badges from a shirt have it dry cleaned and they are supposed to come right off. I have not tried this yet so I have no testimony.

To remove individual badges place a little Goof Off on the back of the patch through the shirt. Let it soak in for a miniute or two and peal the badge off. Apply a little more Goof Off to the spot of glue and wash the shirt and the glue will disappear.

I just followed this procedure and it works great.

Over a few washings the badges to tend to come off at the edges. To fix this simply apply a hot iron to the patch once again through the shirt using a pressing cloth.

I love badge magic.

christinemm said...

Dear Scoutmaster Scott, Thanks for your comments. I have considered them for a few days and decided to update my blog entry. I also provide even more links to the official site so that my blog readers can go read what the manufacturer says.

I was afraid to use solvent chemical products to remove the patches as I feared staining. Thank you for your recommendation.

I need to do something about the last two patches that still must be removed, so I need to make a decision about what to do.

Thanks again for your comment.

I tried to comment directly to you but received a notice from Blogger stating that you are keeping your identify hidden from the public. I hope you see this response.

Narbs said...

I'm just trying to sew a patch to a uniform and wanted a stitch to use. I'll use the whipstitch and hold it in place with pins. Thanks!

John said...

I read your post and it concerned me, I do not want to use solvent on anything that touches my childrens skin, not to mention the investment in the scout uniform. I did watch the video from the manufacturers site and it looks like it would work I did however try another way I used a hair dryer to heat up the glue and then I used a dryer sheet to rub the spot after a few minutes it worked. I also kept the hair dryer working while I rubbed it. There was one spot that would not come off I tried a piece of inside out duct tape and it worked. Because this worked so well I did not get a chance to try my next remedy which was going to be baby shampoo. Baby Shampoo will take pine sap out of babies hair, I suspect it might work on this. I spoke about this with one of my Scouts mom who happens to be a chemist anf she said to try 70% isopropyl alcohol on the spot. So still am a patch magic fan and will continue to use it.

John said...

I had to remove some patches from my son's uniform and I found this blog and it kind of concerned me. I am not a big fan using solvent on anything that touches my children. I did however come up with another possible solution. I washed the shirt and put it in the dryer part of it came off in the dryer, then I used a hair dryer to heat it up and with the hair dryer keeping it soft I rubbed it with a dryer sheet and it came off. This worked so well I did not get a chance to try my second idea which was to apply baby shampoo to it rub it with the dryer sheet and then wash it in the washing machine. If baby shampoo can get pine tar out of my daughter's hair I think it might work on this. I also talked this over with one of the mom's in my pack who happens to be a chemist. She suggested I try 70% isopropyl alcohol on it. I am not suggesting anyone else try these but the hair dryer worked for me. I am still a fan of patch magic and will continue to use it.

Kimberly said...

I just removed a badge from my son's webelos shirt that had been applied with badge magic. I sprayed the back of the shirt where the badge was with Goo Be Gone, rubbed it in with my fingers, peeled off the badge. I then sprayed the area where the badge was, rubbed it with a paper towel and then hand washed the area with liquid tide and warm water. Worked great!!! I have never machine washed or dryed the shirt, hand washing and line drying keep the badges looking like new.

Noreen said...

With all the controversy, over the Badge Magic, I think I'm just gonna wimp out sew them on and be done with it! LOL My Mother always said a little elbow grease never killed anyone, And she was the best sewer I knew!

VWAffe said...

This is a nice compilation of info for and against patch magic - thanks!

I was a scout starting in 1st grade and stayed active through college. After a 10-year hiatus, I'm back with my own boys and am an active leader. So... I have lots of Scout "Bling" to put on shirts.

I learned to sew as a kid on my mom's old Pfaff (now mine!) so I could put my own badges on. IMHO, hand-stitched patches can be just as secure as machine-stitched ones, but it sure takes longer!

I've got a hand-me-down shirt for myself, but the patches were put on with patch magic, and I've been trying to figure out how to remove the goo and salvage the shirt - someone pulled some of the patches off, and the ones that are left are misaligned. Since I'm comfortable sewing, I'll just continue with what I know...

Here are some tips for using a sewing machine, based on my experience:

1. I just learned this in the last year: Use clear thread... yes, it exists; it's a monofilament nylon or something, and is a boon to quilters! You can sew a whole shirt without changing a spool or bobbin once, and it really is invisible. I sometimes match the bobbin thread to the shirt and use clear thread on the spool - no possibility of getting poked by a clear thread end on the inside of the shirt.

2. Use a large-ish stitch (~3-4mm) - makes removal easier!

3. Or... Use an embroidery foot on your machine (and don't use the machine's feed mechanism.) Lower/disable the feed dogs (there is usually a lever or switch), go slow with the stitch speed, and move the patch and shirt around together. You don't have to rotate round patches or turn the shirt 90 degrees at each corner of a rectangular one, and it helps me at least keep everything straight! I've gotten to where I've nearly stopped using pins!


Phillip Remaker said...

If you dry clean a uniform with Badge magic patches ion it, they should ALL just come off.

Disclaimer: I have not tried that.

Kimberly said...

I machine sew my son's badges/patches on his Scout uniform. I didn't like the Badge Magic/Spray patch glue because of the residue when you need to change patches.

The thing I hate about sewing is the slippage, especially with merit badges and that purple circle on the uniform. My new solution is to STAPLE the badge in place before I sew. That way, nothing moves and I don't have any issues with pins. Once I'm done, I just remove the staples.

chryscrash said...

For future reference as noted in the removal instructions for badge magic. bring the uniform to the dry cleaner. Everything will fall off. this is also true for the double sided hem adhesive.

I love it and have promoted it for use with the girl scouts since their iron on patches don't stay on.

chryscrash said...

I would also like to add that my son's shirt is almost finishing 2 yeara ans has been washed many times and his badges are fine. i wash in cold and dry on low

Amy said...

Thank you for posting this! I am sitting here online procrastinating sewing on badges! It may not have been your complete intent, but your post made me laugh outloud. I don't want to get out my sewing machine because I always have machine issues. My thread is too tight, too loose, too incorrectly threaded through the machine. . .I think I might have my husband read this! He actually said to me "What's the big deal?" when I whined when both boys who are inscouts this year, came home from martial arts with patches for their uniforms!!! Aaack! Thanks for the laugh and info. I am getting my needle and thread out now (and I don't even care what color the thread is :)

a dash from donna lyn said...

Ohmygoodness, thank you for this. I no longer feel comfortable sending our badges to my 82-year-old mother to sew so I thought I would just 'do it myself'. Unfortunately I waited until the night before he wants to wear it and DISASTER using something called Patch Attach from JoAnn's. Did not work at all. I will give Badge Magic a try. I cried laughing at your post...I too, resorted to sewing and stuck myself and even bled. He won't have all the patches on tomorrow but Oh Well.

Wendy Schlensker said...

Badge Magic works Great! I'm a troop leader. I applied all badges with badge magic. I sew and badge magic makes apppling and remover so mucher easier than sewing. I had a father apply badge magic and didn't read the instructions and then hot iron each patch with badge magic. At our troop meeting I saw that the patches were placed wrong so I removed them and placed them in the right place. Yes there was a bit of sticky left on the uniform I easily worked it out and replaced the patch with more badge magic and it looks great every troop meeting.

GarnetLms said...

I tryed the peanut butter and detergent thing, but I finaly broke down and used goff off, dang that stuff works well on the uniform. I use goof off all the time at work, but was worried about damage on the uniform. thank you so much for your help.

google1 said...

I found the same with my son's scouts uniform - Badge magic held the badges for a while, but once the uniform was washed, they lifted up at the corners or fell off completely. now I get my son to sew his own badges on - it takes only slightly longer than badge magic, and helps him to learn to sew, which is a valuable skill in it's own right!

Mac said...

I am one who has used badge magic and loved it...I have a sewing machine, but the thought of dragging it out and sewing on those little paches all the time is too much to response to the poster who suggested using heat (iron or dryer) after applying badge magic, the instructions clearly state in capitol and bolded letters:"DO NOT iron badge magic!" The dryer I don't know about, but I'd stay away from the iron as the manufacturer states. Just a reminder, the instructions also state to turn shirts inside out when washing....Happy scouting!

jnewt said...

My Badge Magic has stayed on even through the wash. Edges lift up, but they don't come off. The best tip I learned for sewing on is to glue the badge on first with a glue stick, let it dry, then sew. The glue will wash away, so don't use it alone, but it holds the patch in place while you sew. I like the stapling idea, too.

Aimee johnson said...

I just love the way with which you describe the whole blog post. I would like to visit this blog again. Keep writing.

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Non-sewing mom said...

Loved your story about removing and applying scout patches. Made me laugh a few times as I have been there done that! I put all of my son's badges on his uniform with badge magic. I took it to dry cleaners to remove them when he was done with cub scouts to create a memory board. They all came off. My friend also took her son's to dry cleaners. They all came off also but the dry cleaners lost some of them. So my advice is if you have used badge magic and you want to remove ALL the patches take it to a drycleaner that does it in-house and not one that sends it out. I read your blog because I made a mistake and put one of my daughter's patches in wrong place and she isn't very happy with me right now! I am trying to decide which method to use to get just one patch off..,

Non-sewing mom said...

I came across your blog as I was trying to find out how to remove just one patch/badge from a uniform that had been applied with badge magic. When my son finished cub scouts I took his uniform to the dry cleaners and it removed all the patches. Which is what I was trying to do. We then made a memory board with the patches etc. My friend did the same with her son's uniform but the dry cleaner lost some of the badges. So my advice is to take it to a drycleaner who does their service in-house not one that sends it out.
Thank you for your blog. It made me laugh several times and feel a little better about myself and my lack of sewing skills :-) Now I just have to figure out which method to use to get the one patch off that I misplaced...