The Scary Truth About Decorating Team Sports Uniforms – Heat Press Vinyl

The Scary Truth About Decorating Team Sports Uniforms with Heat Press Vinyl

Heat applied film gets a bad name sometimes.  It’s easy to understand why when you look at the photo below of one of the most popular brands on the market (not Stahls’).

Washed just 2 times and put through the dryer on low heat.

Imitator's Heat Transfer Vinyl

The photo above can teach us quite a few lessons about decorating:

  • There are countless brands of heat transfer vinyl materials on the market intended for t-shirts – cotton/poly fabrics.
  • There are not many films intended for sports uniforms – polyester fabrics, nylon and mesh.
  • Some suppliers will recommend their “t-shirt” heat press film for polyester, sometimes this does not work – just like the example above.
  • So before committing to decorate team uniforms trust, understand and test your heat applied film brand.
  • Likewise understand the fabric that you want to decorate – if it’s a nylon use a material that works on nylon.  Polyester – a material that work on polyester.  If it’s a mesh construction, verify compatibility.
  • Lastly, pick a material that works for it’s intended sport.  If it’s football – odds are that there will be hard helmet contact on the lettering, make sure that the material will stand up to this.  The material above failed through basic laundering, imagine if it were worn on the field

The photo can also teach us a few things about selling…

  • Based on the common problem above we need to do a good job of explaining to customers the advantages of the film we use (assuming you are using us) and how it has been lab tested for durability and performance.
  • To avoid having to overcome the objection of using vinyl, you may want to identify the process simply as ‘personalization’ or another creative name that does not conjure up a negative connotation.

So to end on a positive note….how can you be assured that the scary situation above does not happen to you?


As you may have guessed, Stahls’ CAD-CUT Direct has a material – actually we have two depending on whether your decorating nylon or polyester.

Take a look at Thermofilm® on the other side of the same exact polyester mesh jersey put through the same exact wash cycle.

Thermofilm® on a poly mesh team uniform

To conclude today’s post below are two videos demonstrating our solutions, Thermofilm® and Thermogrip® for decorating team uniforms.  You can buy these products by visiting

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  1. Hi Josh, I am in desperate need of advice. I printed on 100% black cotton shirts. Out of the 6 one returned with the print totally gone from the shirt. There were no letters that had peeled off, so it kind of dissolved. I have an old heat press so I up the heat up. I am using Thermo Grip to print. White Thermo Grip. Do you think I over pressed it, and after one wash it is gone?

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