Decorating Football Gear Head to Toe

Don’t decorate only your team’s game day apparel. Capitalize on their need for practice uniforms and spirit wear to make a package sale that will get your heat printing business noticed. Here are the variety of ways heat transfers can score a sale.

Practice Makes Perfect

For hitting the gym and the scrimmage field, practice gear is a cinch to decorate. For the T-shirt (Figure 1) you’ll need to start with a heat transfer material that has a high stretch and rebound – one that can keep up with popular performance fabrics. In addition to stretchability, it’s important that the material has a lightweight feel and soft hand, something critical to player comfort while practicing or working out. School names can be arched across the front with a decal representing the sport underneath, or add extra personalization by putting the player’s number inside the sport decal. All of this can be easily deco rated in one heat application using a standard-size heat press platen.

For athletic shorts, change out to a 6” x 10” platen. Again, a lightweight heat transfer material is ideal for this application as well, and you can personalize the garment with the team name and player’s number.

“Enhance the hoodie even more by adding a team mascot on the pouch pocket with a smaller platen.”

Don’t forget about other practice gear, like sweatpants, socks and even gloves. Just keep in mind the fabric content of the item, particularly because so many performance items today have stretch.

Be Spirited

On the town, in the bleachers and along the sidelines, you can build your business even more by providing spiritwear options. For example, decorating trendy flat brim hats are an ideal add-on sale (Figure 2). To create a unique look, use a raised heat transfer material on the front of the hat to produce a three-dimensional appearance, which can be easily heat applied using a cap press.

For an even more exclusive look, heat press a team mascot under the hat’s bill using a standard heat transfer vinyl and a special under-the-bill hat platen.

Hoodies are great spiritwear items that can be decorated on a standard-size platen. Pair the school’s name with that of the team’s using a traditional two-line text layout, and apply in two colors to add a valued look. Enhance the hoodie even more by adding a team mascot on the pouch pocket with a smaller 6” x 10” platen.

Personalize bags with the team name and player numbers using an 8” x 10” platen. Because most bags are nylon or polyester fabrics, it’s important to make sure your heat transfer material is compatible.

Easy-to-decorate blankets, scarves, gloves and zipups are all great for fans trying to keep warm (Figure 3).Try offering special-effect heat transfer materials like glitter. To decorate a blanket with a team mascot, use a standard-size platen and let the excess fabric hang off the press.

Use a 6” x 10” platen to personalize a scarf with a player number and team name, and add the school initials on gloves using a special glove platen or a printing pillow on a standard-size platen. Match the style of the team’s jerseys with sewn twill appliqué lettering on a zip-up for a polished look. The opportunities for spiritwear are limitless.

Game Time

Whether for home or away, football jerseys can benefit immensely from a number of decoration placements. You can provide a highly durable decoration method perfect for football on jersey fronts, sleeves and backs with sewn twill appliqué (Figure 4). Sewn twill appliqué numbers are the most popular type of decoration in the sport. Not only does twill offer a professional look, but it is highly durable, which is a must in this contact sport. Oftentimes, teams also will want individual player names above the numbers.

Don’t forget about the “TV numbers” on shoulders (use a sleeve platen to apply) and a standard platen for the rest of the jersey. It’s popular to place the team name above the numbers on the front of the jersey.

Another highly decorated area on football pants is the hip, and it’s an ideal spot for a team logo (see Figure 3 again). Make sure to use a highly durable, abrasion-resistant heat transfer material that holds up for contact sports. Use a 7” round platen for sleeves and legs for this application to make it production friendly.

“You’ll need to start with a heat transfer material that has a high stretch and rebound – one that can keep up with popular performance fabrics.”

Add a unique personalization option with shoe and helmet numbers. Apply shoe numbers using a heat transfer vinyl and a shoe platen. Team managers can keep number stickers on-hand in their team’s colors to personalize player helmets on the spot.

Whether it’s for players or fans, there are plenty of areas perfect for decoration. Or get creative and custom print on anything to set your shop apart from the competition. With the right materials, the right heat press, platens and accessories, and just a touch of imagination, you can corner your team market with ease.

Paul Sabatini is the marketing sports coordinator and product line champion for letters and numbers for Stahls’ (asi/88984), based in St. Clair Shores, Mich. With 21 years of sports industry experience, he is the go-to guy for all things sportswear and uniforms.