A personalized mini soccer ball makes a nice gift for a little one or junior soccer player. This page with show you how to print a photo on a mini soccer ball using the laser heat transfer printing method.
You will need:
[Also see What You’ll Need To Print Your Own Balls]
• Printable or coated mini soccer ball – this is what the photo artwork will be transferred onto.
• Computer with graphics software – used to design and layout artwork/photo.
• Laser Printer (compatible with transfer paper) – used to print the image onto transfer paper.
• Laser Transfer Paper (hard surfaces paper) – the artwork will be printed on here
• Heat Tape – Use the stick the printed image to the ball so it doesn’t shift when being pressed.
• Ball heat press – this will be used to transfer the image from the transfer paper to the ball.
• Infrared thermometer – to double-check the heat press machine temperature.
Steps to follow:
Inflate the ball to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. I pumped this ball up to 20psi:
Prepare the photo for printing using the computer and graphics software. I’m using vector graphics software to make the image the correct size as well as add a black frame to it. The vector graphics software can also be used to add a message such as “Happy Birthday” to the photo:
Mirror the image and print it onto the transfer paper. If your printer has a mirror/reverse setting you can use that as well. Transfer images need to be printed in reverse or it will show up back to front when transferred.
Put the laser transfer paper into the laser printer and print it out
(To avoid wasting paper you can print multiple images on one page)
Cut the image out leaving only a thin border, then stick the image to the ball using heat tape:
Heat the heat press up the temperature recommended by manufacturer. I am heating the machine up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (the machine reading is in Celsius), also choose the time you want to press to press the ball if you using a pneumatic machine. I’m pressing it for 25 seconds (see bottom gauge between 2 and 3).
Double check if the machines temperature is correct using the infrared thermometer:
Put ball in heat press and press:
Remove transfer paper and heat tape while hot and then press for other five seconds for a shiny look and to lock in the transfer.
You now have a printed ball: