There are a few things you should consider whether you’re just getting started with sublimation or if you already have a successful company.
1. Get the Right Equipment
Sublimation is a popular choice since it is both easy and inexpensive to set up. Only a printer, sublimation ink, sublimation paper, and a good heat press are required.
Those who are just starting out in sublimation, the Sawgrass Virtuoso System is an excellent choice. The system is simple to use and works well for small and large volume projects, as well as receiving prompt customer service from Sawgrass on both the printer and inks.
The ink is made of a gel-like substance that prevents drying and clogging, and the printers have automated self-maintenance as long as they are left on, which ensures that the nozzles are kept clean at all times. Virtuoso is available with either an SG400 printer or an SG800 printer, depending on your demands. What is the best Sawgrass sublimation system for you? provides details about the differences between the two systems.
A fantastic heat press is required in addition to a high-quality printer. The pressure and temperature that you use during the sublimation process are critical. Swing-away presses, which can accommodate larger objects over time, are our recommendations. Clamshell presses are more cost-effective and suitable for thinner things and clothes, but they don’t provide
- Have These Sublimation Accessories on Hand
The following accessories are recommended to get the process started:
Avoid using gloves on a surface that is less than 30°C (86°F). Gloves that are too chilly might cause burns on your hands.
heat-resistant tape to keep your paper in place on objects and avoid shifting or moving, which might ruin the transfer. A tape dispenser reduces the manufacturing process by keeping your tape readily available.
Another option for keeping papers in place is to use spray adhesive – a method that works well with paper. Suitable for clothing and textiles.
Water-resistant Teflon sheets – Keep your lower heat platen clean and tidy with this water resistant Teflon that can be simply wiped away and maintained. A Teflon sheet may also be used as an additional layer of protection on top of a transfer.
2.eflon’s thinner and more temporary cousin, you can also use them on the bottom platen and on top of the transfer to capture any seeping ink from damaging the heat press or preventing dirt from inadvertently moving onto the substrate.
Heat transfer pillows – When it comes to pressing difficult surface items, garments with seams or zippers, or raising a section of a T-shirt to avoid the dreaded indentations caused by the paper edge, these are the lifesavers. Having this on hand is always a good idea.
Alternative for ironing clothing on a regular basis. – You’ll save time, money, and effort by not having to iron your clothes every day when you have these three items in your wardrobe! -> Alternative option for ironing clothing on a daily basis. – If you have these three items in your closet, you’ll spend less time, money,
Related: best sublimation printer
3. Plan Ahead, Always Have Blanks on Hand
Sublimation can be difficult at times. New issues arise, mistakes are made, and goods run out of stock on short notice. If there is a large purchase due in a month, plan ahead by considering additional testing time, extra blanks that may be wasted, ordering as soon as possible, etc. Holidays are a particularly high-risk period for inventory fluctuations because items may be in stock one day and backordered for weeks later.
- Know Your Design Software
The majority of sublimation designs are designed in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar design programs. nSublimation is not difficult to learn if you have some basic design software skills. At the bare minimum, you’ll need to know how to trim and resize photos to fit a certain product. But don’t worry! You can find many online tutorials and guides to get you started right away.
Tutsplus is one of our favorite websites at Coastal, which provides a wealth of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials as well as broader topics in the areas of graphic design, photography, and even business. On the commercial side, there are a number of websites where you can find paid experts to help you out. One is Lynda, which requires an account but offers a free trial. A simple YouTube “How-to” search is another choice for locating many instructional videos on various design programs.
If you have a Sawgrass Virtuoso printer, you may be familiar with their software CreativeStudio. It’s free to use with your Sawgrass printer and is designed for non-graphic designers. It’s really simple to get started designing for sublimation. It also comes with hundreds of pre-made free designs that you can use.
- Watch How Other People Do It
It’s no secret that people like to find their own methods to sublimate items, but it’s also a good idea to keep up with the latest videos and blogs about what’s new in sublimation or how to press an item. It’s possible that in that procedure, you’ll discover something simpler or better than what you’re used to. Or if you’re starting out, a little bit of study might go a long way.
Our YouTube channel has a complete collection of our sublimation videos on a variety of themes.
6. Heat, Pressure and Moisture
Check for three things: heat, pressure, and moisture if you’re having trouble with the last transfer fading, burning, being too light or uneven.
Over or under pressing of the substrate is caused by too much or too little heat. A problem with uneven heating on the press is that certain areas of the substance spottily melt while other parts do not. It’s recommended that you invest in temperature strips or a thermal gun, both of which will allow you to track the heat platen’s temperature. If there are any anomalies or cold spots, contact the manufacturer of the press.
It’s important to remember that the pressure may be adjusted as well. Pressure is equally crucial, and sometimes uneven movements can be remedied by simply increasing the pressure. However, it’s possible for the press to give uneven pressure, and in most situations, the manufacturer would walk a customer through how to adjust the press and offer further help to resolve it.
If everything looks good, moisture may be a problem. Moisture can distort flat items and act as a barrier between the surface and the sublimation ink attempting to penetrate it. It’s a good idea to pre-press things for 5-10 seconds at high heat and light-medium pressure to allow moisture to escape and flatten out the substrate. Pre-pressing both sides of warped materials, such as MDF boards, may be necessary.
- Test, Test, Test
Variables in the sublimation world vary all the time, and even overnight. A heat press may stop heating to the displayed temperature or provide consistent pressure despite working for two years without an issue. Some equipment may need to be adjusted for manufacturing purposes, which generally occurs without notice. It could also be a completely new product you’ve never utilized before.
Fortunately, however, you don’t need a lot of additional materials to conduct testing. For testing, blanks can be pressed many times. The coating will fade with each press but the underlying layer will remain unaffected. The quickest method to try it is with little black squares (perhaps throw in a few primary colors). When over pressed, black appears brown, but when under pressed, it looks grey. That is a great technique to figure out which temperature, time, and pressure combination creates the darkest black with sharpest edges. It’s usually a bad idea to test a complete picture on the final item and just expect it to work right away. This frequently results in a useless item with no more white space that may be reused for testing..
We suggest that you print out an RGB color chart and press it onto the items that will be major sellers to ensure that you get the perfect black. Remember that light may generate more color combinations (what you see on a monitor) than physical pigments can (what you get on the actual item).