Multimedia decorating, which is essentially decorating a garment or wearable by combining two or more decoration techniques, is a popular way to add a lot of visual interest to a garment. When people talk about multimedia decorating, however, they tend to talk about adding rhinestones to embroidery, or combining vinyl with screen print. Sublimation is often left out of the conversation, which is sad, because sublimation can combine quite well with a number of other decoration techniques to create a one of a kind garment for your customer.
Let’s start with embroidery. One of the fun parts of machine embroidery is that it can be done with polyester thread. Polyester is the material that can be dyed by sublimation inks. So, it is possible to embroider a design using white polyester thread, and then to sublimate another design in color on top of the thread. This also has the advantage of giving the design a bit of a 3-D effect, since the embroidery will be slightly raised. Another option is to sublimate the garment first and then embroider over portions of the sublimated design. Either way, combining sublimation and embroidery will add visual interest and definition to the finished design.
Next up is vinyl. There are many heat transfer vinyls that will also work for sublimation. Get some glitter vinyl and make a sublimated design that sparkles! Another advantage to using vinyl is that a vinyl transfer can often be applied to fabric types other than nylon. If you want to put a sublimated design on a cotton shirt, put the design on vinyl and it can be added to the shirt without a problem and without loss of color. Sublimating on vinyl, particularly glitter vinyl, could prove very popular with cheer and dance teams and certainly could add some sparkle to fashion designs.
Another option for a multimedia design using sublimation and another decoration technique is rhinestones. Anyone who likes bling will already be aware of rhinestones and how they can be used to add sparkle and shine to garments. Combining rhinestones with sublimation allows for full color prints embellished by rhinestones, which give the design flash and a bit of height. Rhinestones can be incorporated into the design by hand, or through the use of a rhinestone template.
When considering which decoration techniques to combine with sublimation, there are a few things to keep in mind. One is that sublimation requires heat, and relatively high heat at that. Some inks or vinyls might not react well to the temperatures that sublimation requires, so keep that in mind. Another thing to remember is that the decoration technique chosen must compliment sublimation and work with the sublimated design. The best multimedia pieces are the ones where both decoration techniques combine to make a design that is fresh and interesting.