How to print numbers on t-shirts

How to print numbers on t-shirts

Are you in a jam to get some numbers on a t-shirt fast?

I’ve got a quick solution!


So, my daughter’s basketball team was in a jam to get some numbers printed on their jerseys/t-shirts in a hurry.  Of course, I volunteered!

These are very simple instructions, as long as you have the right supplies.



fabric ink or fabric paint

stencils – I used 6″

masking tape

paper – I prefer construction paper, but newspaper will work too


stencil brush

I had eleven shirts to make and 4 days to get it done.  Since I work full-time, I really had 2 days to get it done!  No problem, it only took 2 hours!  Probably less without interruptions, why is it every time I start crafting, some little one needs something!

I began by putting a piece of construction paper into each shirt – I used 12″ x 18″ pieces.  (paper is to keep paint/ink from leaking through onto the cardboard or other side of the shirt).  I cut a piece of cardboard a little bigger than I needed for the size of the numbers.  I needed something with a little cushion, rather than my hard table.  I layered the cardboard behind the paper into one of the shirts and I was ready.

Some measuring is necessary to get your numbers centered.  I also put all of the numbers 4″ down from the bottom of the neck.  That seemed like a good spot, when I put the t-shirt on my daughter.  Taped in place.

how to add sports numbers

Ready for the fun part?  Adding ink/paint.  I used some fabric screen printing ink that I had from my other printing adventures, but if you have a small bottle of fabric paint that will work.  It really doesn’t take a lot to get these printed.

I used a stencil brush so I could “pound” the ink into the stencil – this works best to avoid leakage under the stencil.

I first did the edges of the section and then filled in the middle.  Make sure to hold down the stencil in the spot you are working on – t-shirt bounces around.

printing numbers on t-shirts

Fill in everything, before removing stencil.

adding numbers to shirts

Carefully remove stencil and put to the side to dry before you use those numbers again.  Don’t want to get paint where you don’t want it on next shirt.

numbers on shirts

I let the shirts dry for 24 hours and then put them in the dryer to heat set the ink.  All done!!

Side note:  Did you know basketball numbers can only include the numbers 0-5???  I didn’t, good thing my friend Missy did!


Hope this helps you with your printing adventures!

Let me know if you have any questions?