What is sublimation?
Sublimation is a digital printing technique used to decorate various products and materials that are polymer coated. How exactly does it work and what can you do with it? You can read all the details at this information page.
Step 1 - Design a new creation
Step 2 - Print your created design
Step 3 - Sublimate your blank
Sublimation process explained
Sublimation is a unique chemical process where the substance transitions from the solid phase to a gaseous phase under the right heat and pressure.
The items that can be sublimated are polyester fabrics or items that have been coated with polymer. Once the polymer is heat activated, the ink which is made of a special dye, has the ability to adhere on a molecular level to the polyester, making the images permanent.
1. Use sublimation hardware, ink and transfer paper
Print your design with special sublimation printer and ink on sublimation transfer paper. Depending on the blank product you will decorate, you will have to mirror image the graphic. The ink is temporarily absorbed by the microporous coating on the sublimation transfer paper. Once it is dried, the image can be heat applied to your blank polyester coated product.
2. Select the sublimation blank
Select the blank sublimation item you want to decorate. Sublimation items can be made of many different materials, such as ceramic, glass, and stainless steel. These items are provided with a polymer coating. Unless the item is made of polyester, such as phone cases, polyester fabrics, and lunch boxes.
3. Print your sublimation blank
Using heat resistant tape, affix the printed design with the image side to the product, and place it in the mug press or flat transfer press. The press provides the heat and pressure needed for the sublimation process to take place. Under the heat press two things are happening, the polyester is being activated to open and receive the ink, while the ink turns into a gas adhering to the polymer pores. As soon as you cool the product, the polymer pores "close" permanently sealing the image into the product. It is important that you set the correct temperature, pressure, and time based on the item that you will decorate. To obtain the best results, be sure to have the right settings on your heat press.
The final result? It is razor-sharp, photo-realistic prints that are permanently bonded in the sub-surface of the product. An item that has been sublimated, the image will not fade, scratch, crack, or peel and it is wash resistant! It’s extremely sustainable digital printing process to create many products that can be used time and time again!