Ball printing is a novelty printing business that allows you to print full-colour images onto balls using the heat transfer method. It is more lucrative than other novelty printing businesses such as mug printing and has far less competition, but this comes at a price as you might have to import some of the stuff if you can’t find it locally.
What is ball printing
Ball printing is the process of printing an image onto a sports ball such as a rugby or soccer ball. The desired image is printed onto a sheet of heat transfer paper and applied to a ball using a heat press. Much the same as a t-shirt heat press or cap heat press works.
What do you need to print your own balls
To print your own balls you need the following:
A computer to design and layout artwork on
A laser printer
Laser transfer paper for hard surfaces (the same used for tiles and wood)
Heat press able to accommodate balls (some cap presses can be modified)
Blank balls to print
How to print your own balls
Design artwork on computer
Print artwork onto transfer paper
Put transfer paper onto ball
Use heat press to transfer image from transfer paper onto ball
Heat transfer ball printing is usually a novelty printing area as the printed balls are mainly for display purposes. And often fall into three areas: promotional items (includes company logo), personal gifts (contains a person’s photo) and memorabilia which contains a team’s logo or photo of mascot. You can target sports teams, even schools with this business.
Suppliers & the local landscape
The biggest player in the novelty ball printing business is a US company called BallStars, they used to have an agent in Cape Town (in the Westlake area) but they closed down years ago. Essentially you have a few options: You can look around locally for equipment or you can buy from BallStars in the US (which will cost the most) or you can look on Alibaba for Chinese suppliers. If you look hard enough, you will be able to find equipment and balls that can be used locally, like I said you can modify a cap press and you can coat any ball to be printed on.