If you’re new to sublimation and need some easy project for starters, here’s our list of easy sublimation project ideas. Theses projects are simple and don’t require much skill. If I can get good results then anyone can.
Sublimating is fairly easy and inexpensive to get started. Apart from a computer, the main items you need to get started are the right printer and a heat press. For some items a toaster oven can be used. The rest of the supplies are paper, ink, and heat tape.
Once you have the necessary supplies for sublimation you can begin with some simple and easy blanks. You can always start with t shirts or tumblers if you want to. But I like starting with these items since they are easier to work with.
A baby bib is much easier to handle than a t shirt. It’s only one layer so you don’t need to worry about putting a sheet of paper between layers to prevent sublimation ink bleeding through to the back.
You can make designs with mostly large text or small graphics for baby bibs. There are plenty of retail bibs to draw on for inspiration. Even if you want to make one with a custom photograph, the material is forgiving when it comes to print quality.
A baby bib lets you get used to using you heat press, trimming your printed design, and coming up with designs to create. Holiday themes, slogans about eating, or personalized bibs make great gifts.
Also easier than a t shirt, a bandana is a great item to start sublimating with. It will have some overhang in your heat press but you only have one layer to work with. Which will give you a simpler experience than a t shirt.
Designs can be anything from a pattern to custom photograph. In addition to holiday themes, you can do sports, club, or team themes. Bandanas are good for pets or people. They make good promotional items as well.
Moving on to a rigid item, a coaster is an excellent item to start sublimating on. Coasters are a great way to test the waters for rigid blanks. They are flat and easy to work with.
Many rigid blanks can be difficult since they are odd shapes and have many contours. For example, tapered tumblers may seem about the same as a regular one. But tapered tumbler are hard to get good results without special equipment and setup.
You’ll get experience setting up rigid blanks with heat tape and handling hot items out of your heat press. Fabric generally doesn’t need heat tape during setup or feel very hot after it’s done in your heat press.
Coasters designs can range from simple patterns to custom photos. A good way to explore your creative side and come up with some ideas for the small canvas.
A keychain is an excellent rigid item to start sublimating on. It’s on the small side but they are much simpler than tumblers. They’re probably one of the easiest items to sublimate on.
You don’t need to worry too much about handling them right out of the heat press since they cool off quickly. They don’t retain much heat to begin with either.
You can go with basic designs like labels or get creative with patterns and images. It’s a great way to get started with every step of the sublimation process.
Just about everyone can use a keychain of some sort. Even if you just make some plain label keychains they will last much longer than other types of keychains. Sharpie ink will rub off in time. Paper inserts can get ruined if they get wet.
Sublimated keychains are permanent. Whatever you put on them will last as long as the keychain itself.
Similar to keychains, an ID tag is another great item to begin sublimating on. You’ll find they are easy to work with since they are small and flat.
You can also do more than one at a time in your heat press. Like keychains, they don’t retain much heat so aren’t too hot right out of your heat press.
An ID tag can be pinned on, stuck on like a label, or worn like a necklace. You can also use them as dog tags.
The ink is permanent so won’t wear off or fade with use. Whether you use them to label your items or wear them for special events, a custom id tag is an excellent sublimation project.
Who doesn’t love a nice ornament for the holidays? An ornament is a good item to start out with for sublimation. They come in different sizes and shapes. But aren’t too large or bulky.
Most ornament blanks are a poly type plastic but some wood blanks are available. It’s a terrific way to get experience sublimating on wood.
Ornaments are easy during the design phase too. If you need ideas most design programs include holiday or special event themed images.
You can’t go wrong with sublimating ornaments. They don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed.
A bottle opener is another item for beginners to sublimation. It’s not an item that immediately comes to mind when thinking about sublimation projects. But they are great for beginners.
Bottle openers are small and easy to work with. Some blanks have an insert that you sublimate on and snap in afterwards. Which makes the process even easier.
They make great promotional items for your business or brand. They also make good gifts when you’re not sure what to get.
This list shows you don’t have to start with tumblers or t shirts. Any small blank is easy to work with.
Design ideas don’t have to be difficult either. You can start with simple labels or patterns. Which also have excellent results.
Hopefully this list will inspire you to start sublimating! There are plenty more small, easy to work with blanks available. Browse a printing supply website for more ideas!
The equipment you need is: a computer with a design program, a sublimation printer, and a heat press.
The supplies you will need include sublimation ink & paper, a protective layer of paper, heat tape, and of course a suitable blank.
It doesn’t require any special training. If you can follow instructions you shouldn’t have any problems operating a printer or heat press. You don’t need to be an expert to get terrific results.
Canva is my go to program for sublimation. It has the simplest learning curve. Creative Studio from Sawgrass is another easy program to use for sublimation. While Adobe Illustrator is the most powerful program, it’s difficult to learn everything. CorelDraw, GIMP, and Inkscape are also great programs but I wouldn’t describe them as the easiest.
While you can use a Cricut machine to sublimate, it isn’t necessary. If you have a sublimation printer then you don’t need a Cricut for sublimation.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes over 23 years. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.