What Kind of Printing Should I Use for Team Jerseys?

For some people, spring means cleaning. For others, it means garden season. And for the rest of us, it means it’s time to play ball!

Spring is most famously baseball season, but with the weather warming, other sports are getting into full swing too. And while you might not be playing professionally or at school, odds are good that there are local community or recreational business leagues for you to be involved in. And of course, there are always opportunities to sponsor a little league team or help coach your child’s team.

We can’t help you coach your team into being the best in the league. However, we can help you look great while you play! When you’re looking for team shirts, the many different techniques, prices, and qualities of printing can be bewildering. That’s why we thought a brief guide would be helpful.

What kind of printing you use (screen printing, heat press, or embroidery) for any given project will depend on how big your batch is, how highly you want it to be customized, what material you’re printing on, and what kind of look you’re going for.

In the case of team shirts, here are a few of your most important considerations:


Your ideal printing method will depend on the kind of fabric you’re using. Although sports jerseys used to be commonly made of wool or cotton, now almost everyone favors mesh, nylon, and polyester blends. Different forms of fabric will be more or less flexible, washable, and be able to withstand heat better or worse.

Customization and Batch Size

In screen printing, the preparation takes a lot of effort. We actually make customized screens with the print you want, and use it like a stencil on your chosen apparel. That’s why it’s cost-efficient for large batches, but not so much for small ones.

Considering that most team shirts are in smaller batches (10-30 items) and need specific customization, like the player’s name or team number, screen printing is usually not the best technique.

Embroidery creates a mesmerizing effect, and it’s often used for apparel when you want to create a luxurious effect. However, it also only works on certain fabrics, and can be difficult to customize beyond color, since programming embroidery machines to do a certain pattern takes some specialized development.

That’s why we usually recommend heat press, or heat transfer, as the preferred printing method for team jerseys. Heat press is a printing method wherein either a digital print or a vinyl swatch is used as a sort of stamp on the fabric. With a combination of pressure and heat, the ink or material is transferred to the apparel.

High-Quality Printing

Your team is going to sweat, fall, and get wet in their jerseys. We anticipate that each shirt will go through a lot of washes and a lot of abuse. That’s why we use the highest quality materials and techniques when we print your apparel. Because heat press is one of the more inexpensive options for big batches, there’s often a misunderstanding that it’s also the lowest quality. That simply isn’t true. However, it is true that there are many low-budget options out there that tend to warp material, chip and peel, and fade. Here at Elevate, we’re highly experienced with digital and vinyl heat press printing, and we can give you the best options for your budget and your chosen fabric.

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