It’s 2021 and I’m so excited to try new things this year. My husband had heard me talk about sublimation for months now and finally asked me, “What do you need to make it happen?” So, of course, I gave him my list for Christmas. (Don’t think I hadn’t been setting that up for months..haha!) So here we are with new equipment and I want to help you learn about sublimation to expand your crafting experience as well. Let’s Go!
What is Sublimation
So if you’ve tried printing graphics on printable heat transfer paper (HTV) and pressing them onto fabric, then you know that sometimes the vinyl can lift. So with sublimation, you print the design on special paper and press it on fabric as well. However, what makes it different is that it actually transfers the ink from the graphic and fuses it with the material so that it is permanent regardless of how many washes it goes through.
Materials It Can Be Used On
There are many materials you can use sublimation to expand your crafting experience. However, it is highly recommended that on fabrics you use those with at least an 60+ Polyester count. That way you get high ink transfer, vibrancy in color and the image will remain permanent. If you use it on cotton fabrics, it may not be as vibrant and the design may wash off after a certain time. Also, it is recommended on light-colored fabrics, like white and light grey. I have heard of new methods where you can do sublimation on cotton but it involves adding another layer of either vinyl or other printable paper first.
In addition to fabrics, I have seen sublimation on ceramic, hardboard, certain hard plastics and steel. The surface needs to be able to withstand heat temperatures ranging from 360 degrees to over 400 degrees Farenheit. I’m excited to try them all.
So What Do You Need to Print Sublimation?
It is important to have the right equipment if you are going to try sublimation to expand your crafting experience. The first thing you need is a printer that can be converted to print sublimation. It must be a new printer so that no inkjet has ever run through it. Epson seems to be the brand of choice as it is easy to convert and with their Eco-tank systems you can have a supply of ink that lasts for a very long time, depending on how often you use it. You will also need the special sublimation ink and either a Cricut EasyPress2 or a Heat Press. Here are links to some of the items you will need.
- Epson ET-2760 – this is the one I have and paper size is traditional 8 1/2 x 11 or 8 1/2 x 14
- Epson ET-15000 – this one allows larger printing – 13 x 19
- Sublimation Ink – this is the ink I used
- Cricut EasyPress 2
- 12 x 15 Heat Press
- Sublimation Paper
- Butcher Paper – make sure it is not coated with wax
- Heat Resistant Tape
Make sure to watch the video at the bottom on the conversion process.
What’s the Benefit of Sublimation?
- You can easily use designs you’ve already created in Cricut Design Space for print then cut for sublimation
- You don’t feel the design on the fabric; it fuses into the fabric
- It is permanent
- It’s easy to learn how to do; once you know Cricut Design Space, you can do this
- It’s cost effective as you don’t need to store tons of different color vinyl
- Much faster to produce large quantity of items if you don’t have to cut different layers
Where To Find Blanks for Sublimation
So there are several places where you can find products for sublimation to expand your crafting experience. I personally always start in Amazon because it’s so easy to just search and get a bunch of results. So far I have purchased the following on Amazon and have tried the keychains, which came out super cute!
In addition to Amazon, you can find blanks at the Dollar Tree or Walmart. As long as the fabric/item has a high Polyester count you can sublimate on it. Usually plush dolls, microfiber towels, mesh laundry bags, kids art smocks and socks usually have a high Polyester count; but always double check.
Where to Find Graphics for Sublimation
So if you’ve ever created a print-then-cut project in Design Space, you can use that same file and print in sublimation. Basically a flattened filed is perfect for a sublimation project. In addition, I have found a great site where I get a lot of my sublimation images at really low cost and sometimes free. Click below to explore all of their sublimation and regular SVG images.
Cant’ Wait To Start and Share
So needless to say I have a lot of fun projects and tutorials coming your way and I can’t wait to see how you use sublimation to expand your crafting experience.
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As always, Do What You Love, Love What You Do