Sublimation, without a shadow of a doubt, is the newest, biggest trend in cheerleading–stretching from the sidelines to the mat and everywhere in between. With sublimation, designs of your choosing are infused into stretch or double knit fabric using heat, allowing items that don’t crack, peel, or fade over time. Sublimation not only is durable and long-lasting, but it also gives cheer teams a well-rounded, polished look at every cheer event. With so many benefits that sublimation brings to the table, it can get a little confusing knowing when and how to order it. It’s important to get exactly what you purchase, so here are four hacks to help you place your next sublimation order.

1. Order months in advance.
Knowing that sublimation brings your team a unique look at cheer events, it’s tempting to order sublimated items for a specific competition, fundraiser, or other cheer excursion. What you probably don't know is that after you order your items, it takes approximately four weeks to six weeks to produce your items–let alone for them to be shipped and delivered to your door! Your sublimated items are well worth the wait, though, so it's useful to know some insightful ordering tips ahead of time. First, if your future cheer event has a set date, subtract a good two months to schedule an ‘order by’ date for yourself. If you follow this general sublimation rule of thumb, then you’ll almost always get your gear on time. Secondly, every cheer retailer is different, so make sure to check what a company advertises for processing and shipping time on their website before you follow through with a sublimated order.

2. Take advantage of extra design areas.
Sure, you want to build the best uniform for your squad using sublimation, but did you know there are extra customization areas on sublimated items than just the front and back? Try adding your team name and logos to the side of a skirt or up the arm of a matching bodyliner sleeve. By doing so, you end up with items that boast your team name or mascot at any angle, meaning your audience knows who they’re watching while your cheerleaders flip, fly, and tumble.

3. Order everything together.
It’s always smart to order in bulk–no matter what cheer items you may be shopping for! This is because you usually get special deals like free shipping or a free gift when you reach a minimum dollar limit for your shopping subtotal. When it comes to sublimation, however, it is especially imperative for you to place your order for the whole team at once versus individually due to the long processing and shipping time. You don’t want to add onto the already long amount of time it takes to receive your items. Therefore, gather all the team information you need, reference a Fit-kit for style sizing from your cheer retailer of choice, and place your sublimated order only after you complete your due diligence.

4. Take it to practice!
If you get hooked on the sublimation look (like everyone else in cheerleading), don’t stop there–introduce it to your gym! Make practices look as close to the real thing as possible with sublimated practice wear. Sublimated practice items are multi-versatile, since you can have your team look like a united front if they wear it to camp, community events, or fundraisers! The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for? Start designing your team today!

What other sublimation ordering hacks do you know of? How was your experience ordering sublimated items? Tell us in the comments!