What is Sublimation – July 2022

Are you curious to know what sublimation is? How does it work? How do you get unique prints by the process of sublimation printing? And everything relevant to it? If yes! Then that’s a perfect thing! Because in this particular article, we will share the top secrets and amazing hacks about the sublimation printing process. So, try not to waste your time on futile activities but read it out!

First of all, you must understand what sublimation means? Sublimation is a process, or you can say, a very famous method of printing. The primary purpose of this method is to transfer a designs, photos, and images uniquely from a piece of paper to a particular fabric or material. But you have to do it by providing specific heat and pressure.

How it Works.

The specific sublimation process uses ink (that got made up of solid dying particles). In the initial steps, this particular ink gets printed on the transfer paper (with the help of a sublimation printer), where ink particles get embedded in the paper. After that, you have to place the transfer paper on the required product and apply heat-press.

It will initiate the chemical process of sublimation, where the ink on the transfer paper gets transferred onto the product you want.

Four Things You Need to Start Sublimation Printing.

  1. Sublimation Printer
  2. Transfer Paper
  3. Sublimation Ink
  4. Heat Press Machine

So, without any further long talk! Let’s dive deep into the process of sublimation!

Process of Sublimation

With this fantastic and straightforward process, you can quickly transfer your favorite quotes, designs, images, and photos to a specific material or even on fabric. There is a specification regarding pressure and heat, and you need to provide that within the limit of 350-400 degrees. By sublimation, solid particles of ink get changed into a gaseous state.

The process of sublimation depends on three significant steps. And these steps include: creating artwork or design on a specific product with the help of product design software. In the second step, you have to send the design to the sublimation printer and then recreate it onto a transfer paper. Finally, you have to use the heat press method to print the design on the required product.

1.   Create the Best Design

Just imagine you are running an online store. And you aim to provide your customers with the best images via the process of sublimation. Then it would be best if you opted for a product designer software. It will help your customers choose a product (without any hassle) and make a design for it.

Once your customers choose the right product and design, they will place the order. After that, you will receive the order and file produced by product design software (that carries every information about the graphic). In this way, you will easily create the best quality product design with the help of the sublimation process. This process indeed gives an excellent quality picture with sharpness and quality.

Note: The image will be great if the print quality is best on the print file. Otherwise, it will be blurry!

2.   Print Design on Chosen Product

This process uses ink that contains dye particles; that’s why it is also called dye sublimation printing. These dye particles get easily attached to polymers. It happens mainly in the case of polyester-type clothing. The more dye will bond, the sharp, clear, and vibrant result you will get.

Note: Remember, sublimation printing does not work well on 100% cotton items. But it works well on metals, ceramic, and glass.

3.   Heat Press Sublimation Printing

The heat press or heat transfer method does not entirely depend upon the machine you are using. Different devices give different results; even other models of the same company give different results. There are three critical factors: time, pressure, and temperature.

Importance of Time

If you use a more complex product like ceramic plate or mug, you need a longer time to sublimate it perfectly. It only takes 30-60 seconds to sublimate a T-shirt, but it takes about 12 minutes to sublimate on ceramic items like tiles, mugs, plates, etc. In this regard, dwell time is also essential. Now, what is that? It is the total time in which a product stays under heat pressure.

Note: Remember that if the image is blurry, you can increase the dwell time by 5 to 10 seconds!

Importance of Temperature

Usually, you are suggested to set the heat press temperature at 204 Degrees Celsius. But keep in mind that it is not specific for every product. The temperature directly depends upon the melting point of the sublimating product and recommendations given by the manufacturers.

Importance of Pressure

It is the pressure that you exert by a heat press machine. Generally, you are required to exert medium or low pressure according to the breaking point of your product. For ceramic plates or mugs, you need a pneumatic heat press and a pressure of 30-40psi. So, the pressure varies from product to product, so exert accordingly.

So, that was the sublimation process; now, let’s check out other essential things about sublimation!

Dye Sublimation

It is a digital printing technology that applies the heat transfer method on an image to the intended substrate. It is also called digital sublimation. This process is commonly used to print on apparel, banners, signs, and other items with sublimation-friendly surfaces.

This process takes place in two significant portions:

  1. Printing of images on specific transfer paper with the help of sublimation inks and printer.
  2. Use a heat press to transfer the ink to paper and the substrate.

In the first step, special sublimation dyes get transferred to sheets of transfer paper with the help of liquid gel ink. This ink then gets settled on high-release inkjet papers and finally gets used for the next step of the sublimation printing process.

In the second step, the printed transfer sheets get transferred through heat, converting the solid dye into a gaseous form without going through a liquid phase. Heat, along with pressure, causes the dye to get embedded in the interior of the substrate. It will create a permanent color bond. Once you remove the heat, the dye returns to solid form, and the process gets completed.

Remember: Once the color gets embeddedin the fabric or substrate, the image won’t crack or fade away even after multiple washings!

Sublimation Transfers

it is a simple way to sublimate directly onto the fabric without even changing the surface texture. Its single-layer application is for multiple colors and a weightless finish. You can quickly achieve vibrant, full-color prints, even neon. This method is highly economical as it gives full-color digital transfers for 30% less than other transfers. 

Note:This method allows you to print not only on limited products but on various including headbands, apparel, mugs, coasters, mousepads, photo frames, phone cases, and much more!

Sublimation Business Ideas

There are so many business ideas in the field of sublimation, including:

  1. Printing of flex
  2. Customization and designing of mugs.
  3. Art headboards.
  4. Customization and designing of phone cases.
  5. Mouse mats making
  6. Promotional sticker printing
  7. Sublimation T-Shirt Printing

Can You Do Sublimation on to Anything?

You can sublimate on a lot of things like:

  1. Ceramic tiles
  2. Ceramic mugs
  3. Glass sheets
  4. MDF coasters
  5. Aluminum sheets
  6. Polyester cushion covers
  7. Polyester aprons
  8. Polyester bags
  9. And much more.

The Bottom Line

The concluding line is sublimation is a unique process. It allows you to have amazing designs on a variety of different products. The method of sublimation depends upon three significant steps. The very first step is the creation of the design and the second step is printing of design on your chosen product. And the last step is the heat press sublimation process.

And the process is not very complex, and you don’t need a lot of stuff to carry on it. But you only require four essential things: a sublimation printer, sublimation ink, transfer paper, and a heat press machine. There is another crucial thing mentioned in this article, which is about dye sublimation. This process consists of two basic steps.

The first step is printing images on a transfer paper with the help of sublimation ink and a printer. And the second step includes using a heat press method to transfer the ink on a paper and the substrate. And then, there is a method called sublimation transfers. By this method, you can sublimate directly onto the fabric without any change in surface texture.

And then there are some fantastic sublimation business ideas, including flex printing, mug designing, phone case designing, photo frames, and much more. And yes, you can sublimate on various products, including ceramics, polyester, and glass. In short, the process of sublimation is worth it!

Hopefully, this article will help you understand a lot about sublimation!

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