Sublimation at the Makerspace
Have you wanted to experience the magic of transferring a design onto a product? In this blog post, we will introduce you to sublimation at the Makerspace!
What is Sublimation?
Sublimation is a printing process that uses heat and pressure to transfer dye onto specific materials. The dye is applied to a transfer paper and then pressed onto the material using a heat press. This process allows for vibrant colors and detailed images to be printed onto products, making it permanent!
How Does It Work?
The Makerspace converted a budget friendly inkjet Epson ET2803 printer into a sublimation printer by simply replacing the inkjet liquid with sublimation ink and printing only on sublimation paper. The process is fast, cost-effective, and produces high-quality results. With sublimation, makers can quickly and easily create custom products!
Designs may be transferred to many different sublimation blanks; however, materials must be made of at least 60% polyester or have a polyester coating on the material. Makers can use sublimation to print designs onto t-shirts, mugs and other products. The image below includes just a few examples of sublimation blanks we've experimented with.
Once you have a design you want to print, it’s important that your image and text are mirrored so your print transfers the correct way on the material when heated. There are many free sublimation designs online, but a popular site we suggest makers to browse is Design Bundles., opens a new window The site updates free designs seasonally and offers a variety of design applications.
Once your design is printed on sublimation paper and you have the polyester material you wish to transfer it to, it is time to “heat set” using a heat press that can go between 350-400* in temperature. There are a few factors to consider to ensure you get the best results.
Depending on the size of your material, we offer a large, medium, and small heat press. We also offer the Cricut Mug Press for transferring designs onto mugs, cups, and tumblrs.
Another element to consider is how long and how hot the material needs to be heated so your design is transferred. Thankfully the Creative Specialist team has had their share of experiments and have documented tried and true settings for patrons to refer to when sublimating.
How Do I Get Started?!
Book a one-on-one appointment, opens a new window to become familiar with the process and materials in the space. We supply the printer, ink, paper, and heat press. For appointments, we have a variety of sublimation blanks for you to choose from. Once you are confident and familiar with the process, you can browse our shopping list on Amazon, opens a new window to purchase your own set of sublimation blanks!
Already familiar with the process and have your own materials? Makers can reserve the sublimation station, opens a new window!