Decorate Athletic Apparel for a Profit

Decorate Athletic Apparel for a Profit

After making the hard choice of whether to go into the lettering and numbering of athletic clothing, The next difficult decision is how to have those numbers and letters used. The most simple approach-given the way you work day in and day out is to print them directly on the screen and get on with it. When you think of the number of screens required to print the various numbers, ranging starting with “00” up to “99,” it’s enough to turn your head! At this point, you realize you require an easier method to perform the task of athletic numbering yourself.

If you’re thinking of getting into the business of decorating sports apparel for your company, it’s recommended that you get a specific numbering system that is compatible with your production needs. Finding the best equipment is essential in any company and failing to do so is similar to thinking about production embroidery with one head machine. Unfortunately, a lot of screen printing facilities do not offer team numbers and simply refer the job to different shops to get. What’s wrong with this image? They aren’t aware that they deny jobs that have real potential for profit, even with smaller group orders.

There are five reasonable methods of performing athletic numbering in the house: paper or plastic stencils, screen-print numbering machines, screen-inside-a-screen systems, heat-applied graphics, and computer-cut numbers. We’ll go through each of them so that you can determine the best method for your requirements.

Paper/plastic stencils

The paper or plastic stencils are still employed by screen printers to provide cost-effective methods of team-numbering. In general, with this technique, a screen with a mesh of 60 is installed in the printer. A shirt is loaded onto the platen. A number stencil is positioned on the shirt, and then the screen is dropped to be in direct contact with the garment and stencil. Ink is then squeezed through the stencil and the screen to create the perfect number. Old-fashioned but still efficient.

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The disadvantage is that the process is slow and difficult to master when it comes to causing these tiny middle spacers to move. Paper stencils require some time to get familiar with and are not suggested for those who are new to the craft.

Machines to identify athletes

There are two fundamental types of dedicated numbering machines that are rotary and inline. Within these two formats, there are a variety of variations between one manufacturer and the next. The machines that use rotary numbering have numerous screens that are set up in a circular form like a traditional printer for T-shirts. This type of machine typically comes with a double upper deck, which holds all the screens with numbers between 0 and 9 in two shades.

In the configuration of in-line, the platen is moved forward and back on a rail, indexed on a screen with numbers 0 to 9. The two-color numbering system is achievable with this type of system. The inline machine has an additional screen with the second-color outline of all numbers. Once the outline is flashed and printed, then the actual number is printed over this outline.


The system is comprised of an initial display with no mesh as well as a number of smaller screens printed with numerals ranging from 0 to 9. The master frame I attach onto an ordinary machine called a rotary printer. Then number screens are placed in the master frame side-by-side using a support rail to create the numbers ranging from 00 to 99. The user just puts a shirt onto the platen, adds the desired number frame inside the master frame, and prints.

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Printing direct to the garment

The most recent trend in athletic clothing decoration includes the utilization of direct-to-garment printers, also known as DTG. These printers are able to directly print designs, names, or numbers onto clothing without making screens or other configurations that are associated with conventional screen printing. Although the initial technology was capable of printing on white or light-colored clothing, the process has evolved to include white ink. This means that any color shirt can be able to work. The one aspect of being aware is that shirts made of 100% polyester will be difficult to accept DTG inks.

Modern systems tend to change names and numbers as needed, and the user can swiftly download a file queue and print the individual designs in a matter of minutes, with almost no pause. One disadvantage of DTG is the cost to get to the market. Basic printers start around $20,000. However, professional-grade high-production machines can cost more than ten times the amount. Due to this, an alternative is to sign up with an established firm that can provide the option of contract direct to garment printing services for you. In this way, you won’t turn down orders, and you will not have to worry about the expense of trying to print your own.

The numbers are heat-applied

They come in types, sizes, and colors. The sizes of numbers range from tiny two” numbers for sleeves to 4″ 6″ 8,” and 10″ numbers for back and chest prints – 6″ as well as 8″ numbers are the most sought-after sizes. The standard used by the industry for a long time was die-cut heat-transfer numbers on vinyl, and they continue to be widely used.

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Screen printers can print their own cold-peel I and hot-split numbers at home. In the end, they already have the equipment needed to screen print heat transfers; therefore, why not print pre-printed numbers on their own? Printing plastisol numbers at home is the simple part, but having to choose the colors that should be printed to make inventory is a different issue. (You cannot miss, however, keep some of the standard black numbers in your inventory!)

Utilizing a machine for heat transfer or heat used numbers is an excellent option for sporting and sporting-goods stores that do not have screen printing capabilities or screen printers that print decorative sports in small volumes. The heat transfer machine has been an essential part of the sporting goods shop for a long time.

Computer-cut numbers

Letters and numbers can be computer-cut from pressure-sensitive vinyl as well as Vinyl-backed flock material. These flock and vinyl roll materials are bonded to a carrier sheet in order to permit the stock to be cut with the computer, and that background (or “matrix”) can be removed (or “weeded”) off. This leaves the number reading reverse with the adhesive side higher on the paper. The number is placed on the fabric to be heat transferred. The benefit of cutting numbers using computers is that all team members can be entered on the computer with players’ names placed over their numbers. This is a clean and well-organized method of team numbers. Reordering for two or three additional uniforms later is simple, with cutting numbers from computers in comparison to screen printing the “one-off” uniform that is numbered.