How to Use a Sublimation Printer
Using a Sublimation Printer
A sublimation printer is a special inkjet printer that works with water-insoluble disperse dyes. These printers are used for printing on polyester fabrics, rigid substrates and polymer-treated products like glass, plastic and aluminum.
These printers can be purchased in different sizes and with different features. They all print high-resolution designs onto transfer paper that can be printed on to merchandise and polyester clothing.
1. Set up the printer
Sublimation printing is one of the hottest trends in the crafting industry right now. It allows you to make professional-quality shirts, tumblers and other crafts from the comfort of your own home.
However, this process requires specialized equipment that is not always affordable. It can be hard to find a printer that is compatible with the special dyes needed for sublimation printing and some of these printers can run up to $800+!
To get started, you need a computer and design software. You can find a wide range of these programs, but many are designed specifically for sublimation printing.
The printer itself must be able to print with sublimation ink, since regular printer ink won’t transfer onto t-shirts. The EcoTank line of Epson printers are great choices for sublimation as they use the correct piezo pressure to handle the ink.
2. Select the design – How to Use a Sublimation Printer
Using a sublimation printer allows you to create custom designs on products, such as t-shirts and mugs. However, it is important to select the right design for your project.
Luckily, there are many sublimation-friendly design software programs available. These programs make it easy to create high-quality sublimation prints.
For example, Canva offers a variety of pre-made templates for different products and has an extensive selection of design tools. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to design sublimation prints with ease.
Another great benefit of using Canva is that you can use it to create sublimation graphics for free. It also has a range of other features that can help you create high-quality designs.
When you’re ready to print your design, choose a sublimation-friendly format and export your image. Then, follow the instructions for your specific product to ensure that your design will be printed correctly. After that, use a sublimation printer and transfer paper to print your design onto the product.
3. Select the material – How to Use a Sublimation Printer
Sublimation printing is a great way to make custom items that will last a long time. It can be used with a variety of products and materials, including fabric, glass, metal, mugs, and wood.
The material that you use is a crucial factor in how well your designs will turn out. The best material for sublimation printing is polyester or a polyester-blend.
Choosing the right material can also prevent white creasing and ghosting. This happens when there isn’t enough of the design that’s reached the fabric.
It can also happen if the paper isn’t set correctly. The paper could be folded over or wet, which could cause random white creases on the fabric.
Other materials that aren’t ideal for sublimation printing include all-natural fabrics such as cotton. This is because cotton and similar natural fibers don’t allow the ink to penetrate them properly.
4. Place the material in the printer
You can use sublimation to print on a variety of materials, including polyester fabrics and hard surfaces with a poly coating. However, the material must be able to withstand heat.
The main benefit of dye sublimation is that the image will remain vivid for a long time. This makes it ideal for products that will be used frequently, such as shirts and mugs.
To print using sublimation, you need to place the transfer paper and the fabric together on a heat press. The heat opens pores in the fabric and pressure cools the ink, embedding it into the material.
The ideal substrate for printing with a sublimation printer is polyester, which is made of synthetic fibers. Other materials such as cotton and silk do not have the cellular structure necessary to absorb dye properly.