Welcome to sublimation printing at the Hunterdon County Headquarters library makerspace. Our sublimation printer is free to use, charges do apply for sublimation printer paper used and the maker supplies their own sublimation ready material for printing on. Our getting started in sublimation printing classes are available with all materials provided free. These classes are a good introduction to the workflow of sub printing.
To register for an upcoming class please visit our Makerspace Calendar.
Sublimation uses a special ink from the dye-sublimation printer that can be transferred to another object with a compatible coating. You first print a design with a sublimation printer — which uses special sublimation ink on special transfer paper — then use a heat press at high temperatures and pressure to transfer the ink permanently to something else that has a coating that can absorb the ink, such as polyester T-shirts or a coated ceramic mug.
Sublimation printing permeates the ink into the object being sublimated. Most of us are used to inkjet printing or heat transfer printing where the ink lays on top of the paper or shirt it is being printed on. Sublimation printing lasts as long as the shirt , mug or paper does because the ink is heated to a gas and goes into fabric, ceramic or paper that it is being transferred to. This is one of the advantages to sublimation, it does not wear off.
It's important to note that not all materials accept sublimation printing. Polyester shirts work, cotton does not without a treatment spray. Fabrics that are at least 65% polyester work best if no treatment spray is used. Ceramics need to be sublimation ready, check to be sure with the seller that they work well with sublimation.
Sublimation gives many options for printing personalized objects like key chains, oven mitts, ceramic mugs and tiles. Crafting and business promotion are heavy users where customization is needed.
Images sublimated correctly will not crack or fade. Objects that are used repeatedly or exposed to outside elements (think signs) will remain vibrant as long as the item is around. Apparel and bedding can be repeatedly washed without fading or cracking.
The intricate detail available through sublimation allows for photographic quality images on sublimation ready materials.
Sublimation vs. Heat Transfer vs. Direct to Garment vs. Screen Printing
Confused on all these different processes? The article below does a pretty good job of comparing them all.
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