Oregon-based custom leather patches company The Muddy Merch Co. has opened up about its creative use of Drytac MultiTac pressure sensitive mounting adhesive to support the production of bespoke hats for customers across a range of markets.
The Muddy Merch Co. began life in early 2019, with husband-and-wife team Kristy and Greg Barton creating custom products including baseball caps and beanies from the corner of their garage. The business quickly took off and was relocated to a retail space in downtown Redmond, Oregon, a little over a year later, and most recently moved to a larger facility to satisfy increasing demand.
In the early days, the company outsourced the production of patches to a local laser engraver and would then glue and stitch on each individual patch in its own shop. This required applying contact cement or spray-on adhesive to each patch: a process that was incredibly time-consuming and put limitations on production capacity.
As such, the company went in search of an alternative method of applying the patches to hats that would allow them to speed up production while continuing to deliver quality products to customers.
“We wanted an adhesive that didn’t require heat, could be applied to an entire side of leather, and had a chemical makeup that would allow us to cut it in our laser engraver,” The Muddy Merch Co. co-owner Kristy Barton said.
After testing out a host of products, Kristy and Greg discovered Drytac’s double-sided, pressure-sensitive adhesive technologies. Further research led the duo to Drytac MultiTac, a permanent, high tack acrylic adhesive that is available in clear or white. The Muddy Merch Co. currently works with the Drytac MultiTac Clear option, purchased from approved Drytac distributor Digital Technology Group (DTG) in Tampa, Florida.
Kristy said that Drytac MultiTac’s ability to adhere to tricky surfaces such as leather made it the ideal, flexible solution for The Muddy Merch Co.
“It was available on a roll, which was the perfect size for our leather, and had a composition that allowed us to run it through the laser,” Kristy said. “We knew our application wasn't what the product has been historically used for, but it ended up being the absolutely perfect solution for us!"
Gary Barker, National Sales Manager at DTG added: “We strive to bring together great manufacturers with innovative products – such as Drytac and its MultiTac adhesive - and our customers such as Muddy Merch Co. By combining these strengths, they can deliver innovation and excellence to the marketplace.”
Kristy continued: “The discovery of MultiTac couldn’t have come at a better time. Shortly after opening the new shop, the business really took off. Using the Drytac adhesive allowed us to produce large quantities of patches that came off the laser engraver with adhesive already applied. Because MultiTac also comes with a transfer paper, we were able to store and stack the patches without anything sticking together and move them through the next step of production – stitching them onto the hat – as time allowed.”
Putting the product to work
Offering further insight into how this process works, Kristy sets out each step of production at The Muddy Merch Co.
“We roll out the Drytac adhesive on one of our workbenches, and then roll a large piece of leather out on top,” Kristy explained. “After trimming the edges, we firmly adhere the adhesive to the back side of the leather. The leather is then cut into large squares that fit onto our laser engraver where we engrave and cut out individual patches to be applied to the front of hats and beanies.”
“We use a hat press, without turning on the heat, to firmly press each patch onto the hats, and then stitch them on with our industrial sewing machines – a 227R Consew and a Cobra Class 26. Using a pressure sensitive, rather than a heat-activated, adhesive allows us to temporarily hold the patches firmly in place so that they don’t shift or pucker while we stitch them on. Not using heat also means we don’t damage the leather.”
Kristy went on to say that the process has allowed The Muddy Merch Co. to significantly expand its customer base, with the Drytac product playing a major role in the company’s growth over the past four years.
“We serve a variety of clients, all the way from breweries to private weddings; local construction companies to large deck builders; and family reunions to large manufacturing companies,” Kristy said. “Basically, for anyone that has a design or logo that they would like engraved into a leather patch and stitched onto a hat, we are here to help!
“We’ve carried out projects all the way from a single hat with a custom design, up to over 1,000 hats with a business’s logo. It’s always fun for us to see our work either walking around town locally or travelling the world in people’s social media posts.”
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