What Kind of Letters Can You Use to Personalize a Child's Backpack?

Many backpacks look plain and drab, leaving children wanting a more exciting look. To personalize a backpack, apply letters to it using a variety of techniques. Iron appliqués onto the backpack, sew patches and embroidery on, or draw letters on the backpack with markers.

  1. Appliqués

    • Letter appliqués vary greatly in size, style and cost. These letters are similar to patches in that they are small pieces of fabric you attach to a backpack. Unlike patches, however, appliqués are applied cloth by ironing them onto the cloth. Appliqués can be applied to cloth backpacks but will not work with plastic or vinyl backpacks. Use appliqués to write a name, word or initials.


    • Patches, made of a stiff cloth, are attached to fabric with a needle and thread. Most patches can be hand-sewn or applied using a sewing machine. Patches are typically available in basic fonts, with capital and lowercase letters. You can sew patches onto any backpack that holds thread, including vinyl and water-resistant backpacks. Patches offer the extra benefit of filling holes, rips or tears. If you are unable to find acceptable patches, create your own patch by cutting shapes out of fabric. These patches look even more homemade than commercial patches.


    • Embroidery consists of sewing a shape or word onto a piece of clothing one stitch at a time. It is commonly seen on sweaters and shirts, such as the names on letter jackets. Though some people embroider with a sewing machine, it is possible to embroider with a needle and thread. Hand-sewn embroidery looks more personal then machine embroidery but takes longer to accomplish. Use a thread that contrasts well with the backpack. Embroider a white backpack with black thread or a red backpack with blue thread.


    • Add letters to most types of backpacks using permanent markers. These markers adhere best to cotton and other natural fabrics and may wipe off plastic or vinyl backpacks. Over time, the letters from permanent markers wear away from sun and water. Though they do not last as long as other methods of adding letters, markers provide a much faster method of personalizing a backpack. If you have several colors of markers, alternate colors of the letters or make each letter multicolored.

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