Sublimation can be a great profit center for almost any garment decoration or souvenir or gift shop business, but getting your printer and inks and sublimation blanks only gets you half way to your profits. Once you’ve got the necessary items, you still need to know how to use these products to their fullest advantage. This post contains some tips that will help you do just that.
Tip 1: Remove the protective film carefully – To keep the surface of the sublimation blank from being marred or scratched, most are covered with a plastic film. When trying to remove the film, do not pick at the plastic covering with a fingernail or sharp object. The best way to remove the film and reduce the risk of damage is to use something like tape with a sticky side to pull the adhesive from the blank. If you don’t have any tape, use the pad of your thumb or forefinger to peel back the edge of the plastic. Do not use anything sharp as this could nick or leave gouges in your unprinted sublimation blank.
Tip 2: Add a “bleed” to your artwork – Enlarge your artwork so it is 1/16″ to 1/8″ larger than the blank you will be sublimating. Align your blank by placing it with the side to be printed covering the transfer. When you can see an even amount of ink on all sides of the transfer, the blank is aligned properly. Hold the transfer in position by folding two sides of the transfer over the back of the blank and securing it with heat resistant tape.
Tip 3: Avoid “blowouts” – The term “blowout” is a reference to an image that has colors which have “blown out” of the borders of the design and appear smudged. Blowouts are generally caused by uneven heating, excessive pressure or overheating. To avoid this issue, use a Teflon pad to cover your transfer and lessen the variations in temperature. You can also detect temperature variances through the use of a digital pyrometer.
Tip 4: How to store finished product – Do not place sublimated products in direct contact with each other or with any other synthetic product. The inks will migrate from the substrate to the synthetic material as time passes. There is also the risk of scratching the substrate. It is recommended that you store sublimated items with a piece of paper inserted between each item. This will help eliminate ink migration and the reduce the potential for scratches.