So what is sublimation printing you ask? The easiest way to explain it is that you use a sublimation printer and paper, print your design and use a heat press to put the design onto your desired product. Sounds easy?
What do I need to start Sublimation Printing?
The first thing you need is a sublimation printer. This differs from an ordinary printer as it uses special ink. There are two ways you can go about this. The first is to buy a printer that is already adapted to use the ink or secondly you can buy a kit to convert your own inkjet printer.
How do I print an image?
The printing method is just the same as you would print with an inkjet printer. The difference is in the ink and paper. Sublimation ink is water based, which makes it good for the enviroment. The advantage of sublimation printing is that you can have any design, as many colours as you like unlike an SVG image where you have to layer. This means you can go wild in the design stages.
Once you have your image on the transfer paper it is just a case of using your heat press to apply the image. The ink then penetrates the fabric of the garment ending in a high definition print with extremely intricate details.
What are the Advantages of this process?
There are many advantages:-
- Speed – you can produce the finished product as quick as you can print them. No weeding needed!
- Quality – it’s as good as any shop bought item.
- Versatility – you can actually print on many different items as long as it has been treated for sublimation. Examples are mugs, coaster, pens, tins to name but a few.
- Longevity – Sublimation printing means that the ink penertrates deep into the fibres of the garment.
- Ink – you can fill your ink as and when needed so there is no wastage.
What are the disadvantages of this process?
There are a few disadvantages:
- Cost – the initial set up cost.
- Ink – it can be a messy job using a syringe to refill your inks.
Although there is an initial cost to set up your sublimation process it is no different to buying your Cricut to start off cutting vinyl. The advantage is definitely the quality of the end product and the fact that you can print on so many different types of media. Sublimation printing is becoming cheaper to do and become more and more popular.
Why not look at some of the images you are able to print?