We are homeschooling and traveling a lot this year. Regular school backpacks won’t work for our action packed itineraries and year long adventure. My kids need something I could not find in a catalog.
Inspiration: Retro Travel Patch Backpacks
We’ve been collecting retro travel patches for years. I have always wanted to do something cool with them. Inspiration activated! Time to DIY a retro travel patch backpack.
I purchased two plain backpacks on clearance at Target ($10 each!). Then I busted out my retro travel patch collection and contemplated how I would attach them to the packs.
Attaching Retro Travel Patches to a Backpack:
Sewing patches onto a completed backpack is a nightmare. Ironing patches onto a synthetic fabric is risky at best. Sometimes simple is your best bet. I got busy with glue. The key is using the right glue. Gem Tac was my go to for this project. It is a very strong adhesive that is used for gems and rhinestones.
Choosing The Right Retro Patch Backpack for Kids:
I love these particular backpacks for kid travel because they are “Jar Top”. What this means is that they can sit on the floor (or tucked under a seat) in an upright position and the contents can be accessed via the flip-top like lid. Most kid’s/school backpacks need to be laid flat to be unzipped. Then when you undo the zipper all the way around, to get the stuff out, the contents seem to slip and roll all over the dang place. Particularly on public transportation.
Personal note: I cannot tell you how many vans, trains and planes I have crawled around, searching the floor for a lost super ball, figurine, pencil, gameboy… etc. Here’s to the “jarpack” style and less time spent looking under seats at the back of the bus.
These packs, which were part of the Embark line at Target, also have a padded laptop compartment which will keep electronics safer. They are relatively large for a kid – I think we could travel for up to a week with these as their primary packs, easily.
Now on to the decoration!
How to Put Together a Retro Travel Patch Backpack:
There is nothing sophisticated or tricky about gluing on patches. My only advice is to do this in stages and be patient. It took me a couple of days of ten minute sessions to complete the two packs below.
It’s a good idea to lay out the patches before you start, so you know what looks good and what will fit. Snap a photo on your phone, and you can refer to it later if you forget where you wanted things to go. I worked in small patches of 4-6 patches in a single area, so I could be sure they adhered well.
Using a toothpick I spread the glue in a thin layer, making sure to bring it to the edges. You don’t want too much, or too little glue!
It’s a good idea to apply a little pressure for a few minutes. Do one section at a time so you can keep the area flat while it dries. It might help to stuff your backpack with a towel or a blanket to keep it from folding and wrinkling.
My boys really love these and we can’t wait to add more patches!
No patches? No worries. We found many of our retro travel patches for this project on eBay. Total cost for the two packs was under $40.