Fundraising Shirts

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Shirts are a great way to show your support for your favorite cause or charity. Not only do they unify your group but they share your message in a clear and concise way. I have had the privilege of helping various groups and organizations with shirts for diabetes, ms and cancer. Each time it is an honor to help spread the message!

Retractable Banners


Retractable banners are a highly visible and highly affordable way to professionalize your business!  Available in a variety of lengths and widths from cute little table top retractors to mega 8 foot ones!  They all come with necessary hardware and a warranty.  Nice too that you can change your graphic as your business needs change.  These are perfect for trade shows but also very convenient for a stand alone in the office or storefront!

Pricing starts as low as $52.00 for the tabletop to an average of $300 for the standard 31 inch wide.  Why wait, upgrade your image today!

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Dog Tags

The history of the dog tag is an interesting one.

During the American Civil War of 1861–1865, some soldiers pinned paper noteswith their name and home address to the backs of their coats. Other soldiers stenciled identification on their knapsacks or scratched it in the soft lead backing of the army belt buckle.

Manufacturers of identification badges recognized a market and began advertising in periodicals. Their pins were usually shaped to suggest a branch of service and engraved with the soldier’s name and unit. Machine-stamped tags were also made of brass or lead with a hole and usually had (on one side) an eagle or shield and such phrases as “War for the Union” or “Liberty, Union, and Equality”. The other side had the soldier’s name and unit and sometimes a list of battles in which he had participated.

Since then dog tags have become standard military issue and in some arenas a fashion statement.  They are a sure fire fun way to promote an event!

Buttons oh Buttons!

Buttons are a great way to share a message.  The first photographic image on pins or buttons dates to 1860. Abraham Lincoln and his various opponents used the tintype or ferrotype photo process.

The first mass production of metal buttons dates to the 1896 William McKinley campaign for president with “celluloid” buttons with one side of a metal disk covered with paper (printed with the message) and protected by a layer of clear plastic.

Since 1916, buttons have also been produced by lithographing the image directly onto the metal disk.  A celluloid-type button is fastened to a garment using a pin on the back side of the button (in recently-produced buttons, the pin generally fits into a safety-pin-style catch). A lithographed button may fasten with a pinback or with a metal tab which folds over a lapel or pocket.

One of the most famous uses of campaign buttons occurred during the 1940 U.S. presidential election, when Wendell Willkie‘s campaign produced millions of lithographed slogan buttons in rapid response to news items about President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Now that we have a history of buttons, let’s look at what options we have for today!

Our custom buttons are an inexpensive and effective advertising tool. We offer nine different sizes and styles ideal for any campaign, even or function!

Buttons come in various shapes and sizes.  The company I use is located in the USA (Made in the USA) and does not charge a set up fee which makes these one of the few items in the industry to do so.

If you are thinking that a pin back is the only way to go, think again. Buttons now come with mirrors on the backside (great for ladies), magnetized for fridges and even have a bottle opener on the back!  Some other unique options are zipper pulls and key tags.

And if you think round is the only shape, think again!  Square, rectangular, oval are all available!  With prices starting at just .21, these are an affordable way to help get your name out there!

Direct to Garment or Digital T Shirt Printing

Direct to Garment Printing or Digital Printing.  This process uses printer technology to print one shirt at a time with a full color digital graphic.  There are plenty of “home machines” that were first sold to do this process but I utilize a half a million dollar machine to ensure excellent ink adhesion and longevity of the garment. This process is particularly good for intricate designs with multi colors, you can even do photos as the process is just like printing with your printer.

Digital printing makes one to 24 shirts very affordable as there are no screen costs.  It has a great effect and has a soft hand (feel) just like screenprinting does.  Only cotton garments can be used currently with success.  The other plus of this process is for clients who are getting away from a “corporate store” and want to go all online with a product offering.  We can now do just one shirt or sweatshirt at a time very cost effectively.

I use digital print most often with any of the above mentioned scenarios, also what I call one up shirts or single designed shirts for family reunions, birthdays or as gag gifts.  Share your funniest t shirt below!

Embroidery Decoration

I am constantly amazed at how many ways apparel can be decorated.  I will cover them in the next few posts:

First, embroidery.  Embroidery is the most recognized and is perhaps the simplest to explain.  Thread sewn in a pattern to create an artistic design, plain text or a company logo.  Embroidery can be combined with the other types of decoration to give a garment a unique feel.  Embroidery is most often used on corporate apparel such as jackets, polos and hats.  It can also be used on giveaways such as bags, coolers and scarves.

Today I saw a jacket back embroidered with a logo and then they used foam under part of the stitches to create a 3D banana with a flap that represented the peel hanging off the back.  You can also combine embroidery with screen or heat prints for a distressed or vintage look.  Not all elements of logos convert into embroidery well so it is always best to consult with a professional decorator if you are creating or redesigning your logo.  There are different ways also that embroidery can be used such as sewing on applique (a twill material to enlarge designs), and reverse applique which I will cover later.


Our portfolio does have examples of most of these processes so be sure to visit and let me know if you have questions I can help answer!

Please comment on your favorite apparel decoration method.

Athletic School T Shirt Designs

One of the most difficult things in my line of work is having a visual for clients to make a decision on. There are many sites that allows consumers to create their own designs or buy those that others have created for them.

We are pleased that you choose to Shop Local and allow us to come up with your design.  We have access to several different partners that help us in this endeavor as well as continuing ed on our part to stay current with the latest trends.  One such site for school designs is and then click on idea gallery. You can search by event or category.

In addition to one color graphics, they also have animal prints, glitter, flock (that 70’s fuzzy stuff!), full color, photo and brand new is their distressed line.  All of the designs can be customized with your name, school or company name.  These are great options for dance teams, school clubs, benefit shirts, cheerleading squads and many more!

In addition Alpha can customize any of these designs.  For example, we selected a cool flame “Class of” shirt for a race program.  With just a few clicks, we changed the text from Class of to the name of the racing team and ended up with a pretty cool custom design!

Check out our page on facebook here where we have examples of many of the looks you can get for your next design!

Custom T Shirts

With all of the technology out there, t shirts are not expensive anymore to make even on a Custom One by one basis.  This can be achieved in a few ways. Digital printing which is simply taking your design straight out of its design program and printing it right onto a shirt. We can also heat press which is creating the art in single or multi colors, cutting it out of shirt vinyl and then applying with a commercial heat press. The heat press is fun as you can do glitter prints, sparkle prints, neon prints, animal prints and much more. The newest process is dye sublimation where we take a white or light colored polyester shirt and heat press the ink directly into the garment, very upscale and clean. If you watch any pro sport including our Olympics you will see this process everywhere.

All of these are great options for start up businesses and those one of kind gifts or fun shirts you have always wanted!  We have done them for family reunions, small business start ups, birthday’s, special achievements, smaller groups or clubs.  The nice part is that you don’t have to figure out which process to use, we do that for you, you just need to have a vision for what your end product should be.
Heat Press Application  One color heat press

Full Digital Print  Full color digital print



Dye Sublimation Jersey

Please share what you learned from this article below!