How are custom stress balls printed?

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Custom stress balls are a top promotional product for many reasons. You can imprint your logo, a catch phrase, or a website address. You can use them as a messaging product to advertise an upcoming event. Most stress ball shapes are sized to fit in the palm of your hand – literally so you can squeeze your daily stress away! Because of the size of a stress reliever ball the imprint area is small. The average stress ball has an imprint area of less than two inches wide by less than two inches high. But you would be amazed at how much you may be able to “squeeze” into the imprint area. The average customer logo plus a tagline or phone number and website will usually work. But what many shoppers don’t realize is how a stress ball is imprinted. Most people equate branded products or promotional products with the most well-known imprint method called screen printing (also known as silk screening).

Screen printing utilizes a mesh screen (or stencil) through which ink is transferred to the products surface in the stenciled area, while the disallowing the ink to transfer beyond the specified area. The ink is pressed through the opening in the screen using some sort of tool or machinery. Many smaller, local screen print shops that do popular products such as t-shirts may still manually use a roller or squeegee like tool for printing. Larger factories that sell wholesale in large quantities utilize machines – automatic printing presses-to do the work. Huge volumes of products can be printed and shipped out in records times utilizing machines.

While it’s true that screen printing is the decoration method of most products with logos, it is not the imprint method used on custom stress balls. Pad printing is a much lesser known imprint method which involves transferring ink from a silicone pad to the object. Many customers use the word “stamping” when inquiring about customizing a stress ball. This word, while not industry correct, isn’t too far off from what pad printing is. It’s a much more labor intensive process. Though a machine is still utilized the stress balls are run through a machine that holds both the pad and the product steady. The pad is pressed to an inked plate which has been etched to the design of your artwork/logo. Next the pad is pressed into the object (your stress ball) and Abra Cadabra! Branded stress balls for you next big event or giveaway. Pad printing came about in the early 1970’s and quickly became popular with printers because this process excels at printing on unusual or irregular shapes and surfaces.

Custom stress balls can really impact your brand exposure. They are available in a huge variety of shapes and themes and they are budget friendly. To get the most out of your imprint we suggest that “less is more”. If you have a simple logo it will look great on a promotional stress reliever.  Unfortunately, logos with small details, shading, hues, and photographic logos will not work on a stress ball – if you need them delivered within a few weeks. The vast majority of stress balls are stocked domestically in the USA and also printed in the USA facility using the pad printing decoration method discussed above. However, if you have a logo that cannot be pad printed AND you have plenty of time, another decoration option may be available to you. A decal is an alternate imprint method used on stress relief balls for logos that are too complex for pad printing. The down side is that decal application is done overseas so it only works for those of us who can plan well in advance of needing your promotional products. The actual production time is relatively fast, but it’s getting your stress balls from the factory abroad to your office in the United States that can take a while. Unless you are prepared to shell out the big bucks for air shipping, orders done abroad ship via ocean. They must pass through the customs process and then be delivered to the domestic factory. After this long journey, your order is now ready to be shipped to you at an affordable ground shipping rate.


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