What is dye sublimation printing and what can it do for my business?
Dye sublimation printing is the method of applying an image to specially coated hard surface items such as ceramics, metals, fiber board and polyester cloth, using three main ingredients: sublimation ink, heat and pressure.
Sublimation is ideal for printing on hard surface items such as: mugs, license plates, ceramic tiles and hundreds of other hard surface items. Keep in mind hard surface products have been specially coated to accept sublimation inks.
The coating process requires special equipment and training in order to achieve consistent high quality results. Therefore, it is not practical to coat items yourself. However, there is an abundance of sublimation ready blanks on the market (already coated) for sublimation printing. See what’s available in sublimation blanks.
Sublimation is also perfect for creating high quality printed garments, mouse pads, can wraps, puzzles, totes, caps, etc (no coating required). Keep in mind sublimation will only work on 100% white polyester fabric or light colored fabric. Since sublimation does not use white ink, if you want white in your image then the fabric must be white. Any portions that are white in the image will be replaced with the color of the fabric. Also sublimation inks will only show up on light colored fabrics. This means light ash, pale yellow, pale blue, etc. and the image will not show on black, red, brown, etc.
Sublimation ink is able to convert from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid form. Similar to dry ice. The conversion is initiated by heat and controlled with pressure and time. Learn more about sublimation printing.
The sublimation ink is printed on sublimation heat transfer paper –This transfer paper does not have a coating on it. This paper has a special finish on the surface so the inks do not soak into the paper. Learn more about sublimation transfer paper.
Using a heat press to apply the sublimation transfer to your product – After you print the transfer paper it is then placed on the product to be applied with a heat press. Heat presses come in many sizes and types. However, they all do basically the same thing, apply heat and pressure, based on a specific time for sublimation application. Learn more about heat press machines.
Sublimation printing systems are available for beginnings, intermediate and higher production environments. Learn more about sublimation printers.
When selecting a sublimation system you might want to consider a turn-key sublimation package. You can start out with a smaller printer, heat press and supplies or a larger printer, heat press, etc but a more cost effective sublimation solution. Learn more about sublimation systems.
You should know printers are not available directly from the printer manufactures with sublimation inks. Sublimation inks, printers, heat transfer papers, sublimation blanks, etc that are used for sublimation is something you would need to buy from a wholesaler that specializes in sublimation solutions. If you’re ready to take the next step, see a what a full service wholesale distributor has to offer to get started with sublimation printing.