Like a lot of things in life, its knowing about the best way to do something. Sublimation is just the same. If you know the best sublimation hints and tips, your crafting life will be much easier.
As I am sure you know, for the sublimation process to work, heat is applied. This causes the inks to turn to gas and to penetrate the surface of the item your sublimating. So why do I need to know that you might be asking? Well the important part here is heat, but more importantly the cooling down process. I always find that letting things cool down naturally is the best. If you try and but an almuminium product like a license plate or key ring on a metal surface to cool quickly, it had warp. I just tend to put them onto a towel and let nature take its course.
So what is ghosting? It is when you remove the sublimation paper and you see a slight shadow of the image. This has been caused by the paper moving in the heating process. The best way to stop this from happening is to use heat tape. The idea behind this is to stop the paper moving when you apply the heat. Another tip is when lowering or raising your heat press is to do it gently as to cause no movement on the item your pressing.
Check your temperature and pressing times
Now I know what your think, thats obvious! It is, but do not take for granted that each product from each manufacturer is the same. Also every heat press or mug press is slighlty different. Usually the item your pressing will have a heat range e.g. 180 – 200. Now, if your heat press runs hot as some of them do, 180 will be plenty enough, but if you have an old press that does not get up to temperature so well, you may need 200.
What can I sublimate on?
Well the list is endless but the first thing to say is that it has to be a sublimation product. You can not just pick up any old item and hope it will work. So here the list goes T shirts, Tote bags, Key rings, Bookmarks, Cushion covers, Coasters, Alluminium signs, Coasters, Placemats, Tea towels, Makeup bags, Socks, Fridge magnets, the list just keeps on going.
What I would recommend is to get yourself a sample pack. Here is an example from Blanks Sublimation.
This pack contains a Coaster, Fridge Magnet, Hanging Ornament, Locket and 2 different Shaped Key rings.
By buying a sample pack it first of all allows you to see the quality of the items and also lets you try a few different designs on various items to see what you enjoy making. For me it is coasters and alluminium products, expecially the license plates.
I hope this article has helped to answer a few of your sublimation questions and if you need any more Sublimation Hints and Tips, please feel free to drop me a message.