Sublimation printing is a terrific way to get your designs onto textiles or solid materials. If you’re new to sublimation and not sure where to start, this article can help.
Sublimation printing is a relatively low cost hobby or start up business. All you need to get started is a sublimation printer, sublimation ink & sublimation paper, and a heat press. And of course, something to transfer on.
- Non thermal type of inkjet printers (Epson, Brother, Sawgrass)
- Sublimation ink or ink cartridges (Cosmos Ink, InkPro2day, Hiipoo)
- Sublimation paper (Heat Transfer Warehouse, Heat Press Nation)
- Heat source (Heat Press Nation, Heat Transfer Warehouse)
- Blank (Heat Transfer Warehouse, Heat Press Nation)
Equipment Necessary for Sublimation
There are only two pieces of equipment you will need for sublimation:
- Sublimation printer
- Heat Press
Helpful tips for choosing the best sublimation printer are covered in other articles. Basically, the printer you need depends on what you plan on sublimating.
If you plan on doing smaller designs for mugs or tumblers you won’t need a big printer. There are many Epson printers to choose from. For example, an Epson SureColor F170 is a great printer for sublimation.
If you want to do t shirts your best option is a large format sublimation printer, such as a Epson Ecotank ET-15000.
Once you get a dye sublimation printer, the only other equipment you need is a heat press. If you desire to make t shirts you will need a platen style heat press. This type of heat press is also good for sublimating on other relatively flat blanks. If you need ideas for sublimation these articles can help.
If you only plan on doing mugs or tumblers you can get by with a mug press. You can’t use this type of heat press for anything other than mugs or tumblers.
An alternative to a heat press is an oven. A caveat to this is you blank must be able to survive the heat. You have to get certain blanks compatible with an oven. You can get a conventional oven, a toaster oven, or specially made ovens for sublimation.
Supplies Needed for Sublimation
The supplies you need for sublimation:
- Sublimation ink
- Sublimation paper
- Heat tape
- Butcher or parchment paper
Some dye sublimation printers will need refilled or use special ink cartridges. Others, such as Epson Ecotank printers use bottles of ink. You can get compatible sublimation ink from many supply companies such as Cosmos Ink, InkPro2day, or Hiipoo.
You can get sublimation paper from just about every retailer which carries paper or printing supplies. Whether you do t shirts or mugs you will need sublimation paper. Getting the appropriate size paper for your design will reduce waste.
You will need heat tape to hold sublimation paper in place. In certain instances you can get by without heat tape. But it’s always better to use it.
You can get heat tape in different widths and strength. It’s available at any printing supply company or retailers that carry office supplies.
You will need butcher or parchment paper to protect your heat press. Copier paper is a good alternative too. Either way you need a barrier to prevent sublimation ink blowout.
Beyond those crucial supplies, you may want to get some additional supplies. Optional supplies include:
- Lint brush
- Oven mitt or gloves
- Silicon tumbler wraps
- Alcohol swabs
- Tape dispenser
A lint brush or alcohol swabs are called for to clean your blank before transfer. List brushes are for textile material while swabs are for rigid materials.
You should have a mitt or gloves to handle blanks once they are done in your heat press. Gloves with grips are best. Silicon mitts are convenient to take on or off. You can handle some blanks with tongs.
A tape dispenser is invaluable when sublimating. Ones capable of dispensing multiple roll widths are especially practical.
Other Considerations for Sublimation
Are you chomping at the bit yet? If you want to get started, sublimation printing is a relatively low cost hobby or start up business. A reasonable setup will cost you less than $1,000.
You can get a versatile printer that can use sublimation ink for under $300. A decent heat press will cost you $600 and $100 is ample for sublimation supplies.
The least expensive setup is under $600. You can get a Cricut mug press for around $200, an Epson printer for under $300, and supplies shouldn’t be more than $100 .
Starting out sublimation printing isn’t as hard as you’d think. Making your designs can be fun. Converting your printer isn’t as messy as it sounds, and using a heat press is simple.
All in all it’s not hard and even beginners can get great results. Get yourself some t-shirts or tumblers and have fun!
You will need: 1. Equipment – one sublimation printer, one heat press, one computer. 2. Supplies – sheets of sublimation paper, heat tape, roll of butcher or parchment paper. 3. Designs to print.
The only equipment you need is a sublimation printer and a heat press.
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.