Sublimation has become a very popular stamping technique today. Perhaps you are thinking of giving a personalize object and you are not sure what the best technique is, or you even want to start your own sublimation venture. In this post we will talk about the 5 things you should know before starting to sublimate
Either way, here we tell you what you need to know before launching.
What is sublimation?
Do you remember chemistry classes at school? When they explain the states of matter to us, we learned that there are three: solid, liquid and gas. Normally you cannot go from solid to gaseous state directly, but it is necessary to go through the liquid state. For example, we cannot turn ice into steam, but first the ice melts into water, and later, with heat, it evaporates.
The sublimated provides a finished much sharper, stylish, durable and among the many things that you can customize are jugs, cups, rocks, dishes, glasses, thermos, mates, hats, shirts, keychains, pens, cushions, bags , backpacks, pins or diaries.
Peer there is a process by which the solid state passes into a gaseous state without going through the liquid state . This is what we call sublimation.
But what does all this have to do with stamping?
Among the different printing techniques that exist, surely you have heard of sublimation, and now you do not understand very well what all that chemistry has to do with it.
In the sublimation printing process, the ink goes directly from the solid state to the gaseous state , which allows it to penetrate the material that we print permanently.
Screen printing can be printed on 100% cotton garments or fabrics or polyester / cotton combinations. It can be printed on: T-shirts, Polerones, TNT ecological bags, cotton cloth bags, polyester, canvas and blends.
I always use this technique when I am looking for a high quality of the images , which I cannot always achieve with other techniques such as screen printing. Sublimation allows me to obtain vivid colors that remain even after many washes.
In addition, this technique allows you to create personalize gifts in a very simple way, since we can capture all kinds of images on the support we choose . And also, with an enormous graphic quality.
In fact, if you are thinking of starting a personalize gift business, sublimation is definitely the technique you should start with, as it is very easy to learn and gives fantastic results.
Are you interest in this topic? Keep reading because below we will tell you what you need to get start in the sublimation business. 😉
Advantages and disadvantages of sublimation
As we have seen, sublimation is a very simple technique to apply and that allows us to obtain an enormous quality in the images we print.
But not only this: sublimation has many other advantages, which we will tell you below:
Advantages of sublimation:
- FITS ON SURFACES THAT ARE NOT FLAT – Want to kick your boss around by giving him a mug with a team photo on it? Sublimation is what you need
- His impression is so long lasting . So your boss is not going to forget about you easily.
- It is a very simple technique to learn , so it is perfect to get start in this type of business.
- Its production cost is low . Yes, you will need to make a first investment in quality machines (like the ones we have here [hyperlink to the machines section of the page]), but once you have made your daily expenses in materials will be minimal. ☺
- By having a low production cost, you will have a high profit margin in relation to the time and money invest.
- In the case of objects such as cups, you can wash them perfectly with a scouring pad, in the dishwasher or put it in the microwave . The high quality of the stamping will prevent it from deteriorating.
Disadvantages of sublimation
Although there are many advantages, unfortunately not everything is rosy. Sublimation has a slight drawback: it cannot be use on any type of surface.
Therefore, it is important that you bear in mind that this technique can only be use on a surface that meets these characteristics:
- It must be polyester . In the case of objects such as mugs, they must incorporate a special polyester coating that allows sublimation to be carried out.
- The background on which you make the stamping must be white , since the inks are transparent (remember that they are in a gaseous state) and they blend with the color of the support. Therefore, the only way to make them stand out and make the image appreciate is with this color.
But why only this color? For more or less the same reason that photographs are print on a white background: what produces the image (in this case, the ink for sublimation) is transparent. The origin of this technique is in photography . So if we think about how translucent the material is, it stands to reason that it can only be seen on extremely clear material.
Does this mean that I cannot use this technique on backgrounds of another color? Uhm… It means that if you want to take advantage of the enormous image quality that this technique gives you, it is best to use white. As the ink melts with the color of the medium you are using, the colors will be distort if the background is not white . In other words: the result will be rather tacky (and the rally effect with your boss can work against you ☺).
What do I need to start sublimating?
But let’s get to the mess of what we had promise you: what do you need to start sublimating right now? What are the 5 things you should know before starting to sublimate?
As we have told you, learning this technique is very simple, especially if you have the right materials.
We assume here that you already have a computer from which to generate, save and send images. Therefore, here we stick to the specialize equipment you will need:
- An inkjet printer . You can decide between different sizes, depending on the type of projects you are going to sublimate. If you are starting with small prints, such as mugs, phone cases or photo holders, a small format printer such as A4 or A3 will suffice. Later you can decide if you want to enlarge the business and go for medium or large size prints.
- Sublimation inks . No, the pirate ink that the neighbor sells you is useless. As we have told you, it is a specific ink for this type of technique, and it must be of the highest quality to achieve good results. In addition, we give you an extra tip: it is preferable to use seal cartridges. In this way you will guarantee the purity of the supply channel and the quality will be total. As long as you have the four basic colors (yellow, cyan, magenta and black) it will be more than enough, since with them you will be able to achieve the full range of colors necessary (and if you don’t believe me, remember the plastic classes at the institute). You will need to use the color profile compatible with your printer model, so before buying, ask the manufacturer. In digital sublimation, piezoelectric printers are used to transmit an image on paper that is then transferred to the customizable product, by the action of a heat press. It is a process of change of state where the ink to sublimate goes from a solid to a gaseous one, penetrating the substrate .
- Sublimation paper . It is a kind of ink carrier: it is print on the paper and from there the design is transferred to the object with the help of a transfer plate. You will see that the colors on the paper are muted. Don’t worry: on the final support the colors will be vivid and very similar to the original image.
- Transfer plate . There are different types of plates, depending on the type of object you are going to customize. Thus, you have plates that allow you to sublimate flat objects, such as key rings, T-shirts or mobile phone cases, depending on the size of the plate you choose. And on the other hand there are specific plates for cups or plates. If you have in mind to sublimate different types of items, what is surely best for you is to acquire an iron with several interchangeable plates. That way you will have more flexibility and you can print on various media. Another alternative is the 3D oven, which allows you to sublimate on the entire irregular surface of an object. These types of devices have become very popular, especially in phone case printing.
- Sublimable items . Obviously, you can have all the materials, but if you don’t have the mug, the shirt or the photo frame, where are you going to print? Of course, remember that they must be made of polyester or incorporate a special polyester coating that allows sublimation. Today there are a huge number of sublimable items ready for printing, which will save you a lot of work.