Category: Supplies

Buying a Heat Press

dc16ap3A question that often comes up in forums and groups about sublimation is what kind of heat press is necessary.   Do you need specialized presses for mugs?  How big should the press be?   Is a cheap press made in China that you found on eBay going to work?  What brand of press do experienced sublimation experts recommend?   A heat press is a larger purchase,  so it’s easy to understand why there would be a lot of questions.   Since we’ve been sublimating and dealing with sublimation supplies (and heat presses) for a lot of years,  I thought I’d try to answer some of the questions I see most frequently.

Q1:  Do you need a specialized press for any good that isn’t flat?  For the most part,  yes.   Hats,  mugs,  plates,  anything that isn’t flat will most likely require a specialized press in order to take a sublimated print.    In some cases,  where a lot of different items will be sublimated,  a combo heat press might be the best option.  This type of press is usually a flat swingaway press that comes with attachments that will allow you to do mugs and other goods that aren’t flat.   A standalone cap press will have a curved platen that allows you to sublimate caps faster and more easily.    Mug presses are generally adjustable and are designed to handle different sizes and shapes of mugs.    If you’re planning to sublimate a lot of one particular item,  investing in a specialty press can be a wise move.

Q2:  How big should the press be?  What’s the biggest thing you’ll ever be likely to sublimate?   The answer to that question will help determine how big your press should be.   Keep in mind that smaller presses may have smaller price tags,  but they aren’t always suitable for a production environment.   When deciding on the size of your press,  you should also take into account how often it will be used,  and for how long each time.    Optional extras like air operated opening should also be considered.   They may add to the cost of the press,  but they’ll save a ton of wear and tear on the operator.

Q3:  Is a cheap press worth the money? There are a lot of off brand heat presses from China available on eBay,  with prices that can be very attractive when you’re on a budget.   Two things to consider before purchasing a press like this are 1) who will service it should it break down and 2)is cheap necessarily going to translate into reliable and accurate?   A press from an eBay seller that may have been made in a foreign country is not likely to have maintenance or tech support attached, and that matters.   Service for a malfunctioning machine can help extend its life and get you back to work faster.   Tech support can help you solve problems and teach you how to use your heat press more efficiently and profitably.     A cheap press may also come with a set of reliability and accuracy issues.   Temperature gauges may not accurately reflect temperatures.   The platens may not heat to the required levels.   There are good bargains to be had,  and there are people who have purchased off brand presses and had them work fine,  but it’s a calculated risk.

Q4:   What brand of press do experienced sublimation experts recommend?  To answer this question,  all I can do is tell you what we know,  from years of experience.    We sell George Knight heat presses,   and the reason we sell them is because we’ve used them.   Our parent company has six plants across the United States,  and all of them have heat presses.   George Knight presses have been in our shops,  working day in and day out for years.     The presses are reliable,  easy to use,  and George Knight has top notch technical support.   So,  when asked,  George Knight is what we recommend,  and not just because we sell them.   We’ve used them,  so we know how well made and reliable they are.   Yes,  they may cost a bit more,  but they’re worth every penny.

If you have a question about sublimation,  please feel free to leave a comment here or to contact us and ask.   We’ve been working with heat presses and sublimation for quite some time,  and we’re always happy to help.

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New Sublimation Blanks = Great Holiday Gifts

beltbuckle1_lThe holidays are coming,  and one thing that is always true about the holidays is that people love personalized gifts.   EnMart has added some great new sublimation blanks to our offerings this year.  We’re sure one of these new items will make the perfect gift for someone on your gift list!

Belt Buckles – Our belt buckles can be easily personalized with sublimation.   The sublimation insert is large enough that the image can be clearly seen,  but not so large that it looks like the gift recipient is wearing a championship belt of some kind.   All buckles are made of brass and accompanied by a sublimatable insert.

State Ornaments – While we don’t yet carry every state,  our stock of state ornaments is growing.   Celebrate the sun with an ornament in the shape of Alabama or California or Florida.    Show your midwest roots and display an ornament in the shape of Illinois or Michigan.    Create ornaments to celebrate a favorite vacation spot or to commemorate a hometown that may now be far away.    Keep in mind,  this item can also be used as a luggage tag or a souvenir.

Pendants  – A personalized necklace is something anyone who wears necklaces would be sure to love.    Available as both a square and a round,  these pendants have patterned embossed back and are recessed to accept an aluminum sublimation insert.    Sublimate a family picture,   a favorite saying,  or simply an intriguing design to create a one of a kind piece that is sure to be treasured.

Pet Tags – Don’t forget Fido or Fifi when handing out the gift wrapped packages this year.     Sublimatable pet tags are a great way to identify your pet and give them a bit of style.   Our pet tags are aluminum and can be printed on both sides.    These tags are also great options for key fobs,  luggage tags,  zipper pulls or necklaces.

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Sublimation Section Update

sublimation blanksIf you haven’t been to the sublimation section of our website lately,  you may want to pop in and take a look.   We’ve added some new things and rearranged things a bit to make it easier to find the items you want to purchase.     Today I thought I’d give you a brief tour.

First let’s start with the sublimation blanks section,  as that has probably had the biggest overhaul.    We added some new items,  like blank fabric and Christmas stockings and also now include Vapor Apparel in the sublimation blanks section.    If you’re looking for mugs,  mousepads,  t-shirts or ornaments,  this is the section to visit.

In the sublimation ink section,   you can find all the ink you would need for your Ricoh or Virtuoso sublimation printers.   Inks are sorted by the printer for which they are intended.   If you have an Epson printer,  or don’t see the ink for your Ricoh printer on our list,  please contact us and ask about it.  We sell all currently available Sawgrass inks, and can obtain and stock anything that isn’t in our current inventory on request.

We are proud to say we still offer Mpres Paper,  the only paper we carry and exclusive to EnMart.    The paper is still getting rave reviews on our Facebook page.   It’s a great paper and one we not only sell,  but use as well.   If you’re interested in a sample,  send your request with address information to mpres@myenmart.com.    We’ll be happy to send you a sample via USPS.

Finally,  we should talk about the sublimation accessories category,  which has also had some new arrivals.  We’ve added individual PFTE pressing pillows as well as a pressing pillow kit.  We also have waste ink collectors,  heat tape and mug and bowl wraps.  If you need items to make your sublimation go more smoothly,  this is the category to visit.

 

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Custom Sublimated Patches

sublimated patchesSublimated patches can be a great way to present artwork that may have traits that would not allow it to render well in another decoration discipline.   Gradients and fades don’t work well with embroidery.   Tiny details may not show up as well on a screen printed emblem.   Sublimation offers photographic detail and the ability to play with color,  all at a price that is easily within most shops’ budgets.

Many shops will elect to create sublimate patches themselves.  For those that have a sublimation system and access to blank patches,  this may seem like the easiest route to take,  but that isn’t always the case.   EnMart can create custom blank patches at very reasonable prices,  relieving a shop’s burden of production and freeing up time for other revenue generating activities.

If you’ve never ordered a sublimated patch from EnMart,  it’s really quite easy to do.

  1. Go to the sublimated patch section.
  2. Select the shape for your patch.
  3. Select the size.
  4. Select your merrow color (this should harmonize with the colors in the artwork) and the number of patches you wish to order (minimum order is 25).
  5. Complete the order.
  6. E-mail artwork to design@myenmart.com.   Make sure to include your order number in the subject line.

It’s that simple.   Creating sublimated patches will take a few days at most,  depending on the size of the order.    If your shop sells patches,  but doesn’t have the ability to sublimate them,  or if your shop sublimates patches in house,  but could use the time to do other things,  order your sublimated patches from EnMart.   You’ll save time and money,  and your clients will get a quality product they can wear proudly.

 

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Sublimated iPhone Cases – Made in the USA

We all know that personalization is a trend that never dies.  People like giving their possessions individuality,  and adding names or miphone-5-black-rubber-usa-3onograms or a picture that has special significance is one way to do that.    When it comes to mobile phones  which,  less face it,  are pretty bland and boring right out of the box,  the way to add individuality is with a personalized case.   If you’re a company selling sublimation,   this could be an entirely new market for you,  provided you can get the blank product at the right price.   Fortunately,  EnMart is here to help you with that.

We are proud to offer rubber iPhone 5 cases for sublimation. Instead of being made of hard plastic,  like most cases, these iPhone 5 sublimation cases are made of durable, flexible black rubber that is comfortable to hold.    These cases are also anti-micobial.  They also have pre-applied adhesive with an easy to remove backing paper, and come with one high quality gloss white sublimation metal insert.  Instructions for pressing and a template for creating artwork are available on our website.

The cases are for the iPhone 5,  but may be compatible with other phones as well.   If you would like a test sample,  please contact us.   We would be happy to provide a sample upon request.

 

Don’t Limit Your Sublimation Success

sublimation blanks. jpgWhen most of us think of sublimation – we probably think of coffee mugs or t-shirts,  which are great items and which can bring in a nice profit,  but which are kind of limiting if that’s all that you do.   The fun thing about sublimation is that there are a number of products that can be sublimated,  some of which can be made into unique gifts or souvenirs.  If you’ve been stuck in a coffee mug or corporate polo shirt rut,  make 2014 the year that you investigate some additional things you can sublimate.   Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Many people put time and effort into creating the perfect kitchen,  and accent pieces can be the ideal way to complete a decorating scheme.    Sublimated cutting boards offer the option of monograms or scenic views,  as well as protection for counters and other surfaces.     Use sublimated tiles to create a backsplash behind a sink or a border along the edge of a counter.    You could also offer unique sublimated place mats that compliment the decor of the room,  are easy to clean off, and which protect fragile table linens.    These placemats can also double as message boards, so that grocery list is easy to write.

Pets are another area where sublimated items can be big sellers.   All pet owners want their pet identified in case of loss,  so sublimated pet tags can be a great seller.     Personalized pet bowls are also a fun idea,   and can help separate Fido’s food bowl from Fluffy’s.    Another big area of animal related products is patches and decals for service dogs and search and rescue animals.  Blank patches which you sublimate can allow you entry into that market.

You should also remember not to neglect the gift and souvenir market.  Jewelry boxes with scenes from well known landmarks in your area can make great keepsake boxes.    Collaborate with local vendors to create boxes that showcase local food items or crafts for a one of a kind souvenir.    Puzzles are another great option when it comes to preserving a scenic view.  Personalized puzzles are even more fun,  offer to put a favorite vacation photo on a puzzle and preserve a memory forever.

The main thing to remember is that there are a number of items out there which can be sublimated,  your job is to find them and figure out how to sell them to your target market.   Money is out there waiting to be made.  Why shouldn’t it end up in your bank account?

Uses for a Heat Press

Collage_SwingNote:   It’s very rare that I post the same post on both blogs because the subject matter of the two blogs is so different.  In this case,  however,  I made an exception.  A heat press has so many uses across the spectrum it seemed a shame to not share the content in both places.

Even though it might not seem like it at first glance,  a heat press is a very versatile piece of equipment.  While it’s true that all a heat press can do is heat up and press things,  the variety of  techniques for which it can be used may well make it one of the most valuable instruments in your shop.    Adding a heat press to your set-up can open up a whole host of opportunities for new markets and new sales.    If you’ve never considered adding a heat press to your shop before,  here are some uses for a heat press that may make you think again.

Use 1:  Sublimation – Dye sublimation is a process by which a special ink is printed on a special paper and then the transfer is heat pressed on a polyester garment or a poly coated substrate.  Sublimation offers you the ability to do more complicated designs on garments,  as well as widening the number of items you can offer to your customers.  If you’ve ever wanted to offer mousepads or coffee mugs or jewelry boxes,  then sublimation is the discipline for you.

Use 2:  Screenprint or plastisol transfers – Screenprint is a very popular decorating technique,  but it does have a learning curve,  and setting up a shop can be expensive.    Plastisol transfers allow you to offer screenprinted garments and items to your customers without having to do the screenprinting yourself.  All you need is a transfer,  an item to embellish,  and a heat press and you’re in business.

Use 3:  Vinyl –  This is another popular decoration technique that can be used on garments and other items.  Vinyl is often popular for the names and numbers on sports jerseys and team uniforms.   If you have a lot of school or sports league business available in your area,  vinyl may well be a great addition to your product offerings.

Use 4:  Rhinestones –  If bling is your thing,  then you’ll love rhinestone transfers.   A heat applied rhinestone transfer allows you to add sparkle to garments and other items without having to deal with the hassle of buying rhinestones and placing them yourself.

Use 5:  Decorated patches –  A blank patch,  embroidered or screenprinted by you,  can be heat sealed onto a garment,  backpack or other item.   Sublimated patches are a terrific way to make complicated designs with many colors simple.     If you have a design that won’t translate well into embroidery or screenprint,  put it on a sublimated patch and then heat seal it to the item to be decorated.    Your complicated design is now decorating the item of your choice with one easy press.

Finally,  if all else fails,  and you’re having a busy day at the shop,  you can always make a quick snack on your press.  Now,  we don’t recommend this option,  but it can be done and apparently,  the grilled cheese sandwich turns out quite tasty.

 

Create Your Own Fabric with FabricMaker

FM-Composite SMOne of the joys of working with EnMart is the fact that we get to deal with so many companies that are working to create new products for various decorating markets.  Sometimes,  the new products that are being offered introduce us to a new market,  which is always fun and exciting,  as it gives us a chance to learn about new decorating disciplines while also offering new products.

EnMart’s latest new product is FabricMaker,  a digital printing solution which combines professional pigment-based textile inks,  specially prepared 100% cotton 60×60 4.5 oz quilt fabric, and a range of printers.   The result of this combination is the opportunity to produce quality dye-fast fabrics in the comfort of your shop,  home or studio.     If you’ve ever longed for custom fabric you could print on your schedule,  FabricMaker is the perfect system for you.

Keep in mind,  this fabric is not hobby grade.  This is high quality, commercial grade fabric that is wash-fast,  color-fast and offers vibrant colors and deep blacks.    This fabric is also resistant to crocking,  so you won’t have to worry about dye transferring from your custom fabrics to other items.    If you’re looking to create heirloom quality items,  like memory quilts or Quilts of Valor,   FabricMaker will let you create personalized fabric that will remain colorful and unfaded through repeated washings.

EnMart is proud to offer the Quick-MakeR-1 FabricMaker package to help those of you who want to print your own fabric get started.   This package includes a Ricoh SG3110dn printer,   a complete set of the FabricMaker ink, 1 pack of 25 sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ FabricMaker 100% Cotton Quilt Fabric,  1 USB cable as well as color management profiles,  printer drivers and instructions on CD.   If you have an iron or a heat press and a graphics program of some time,  you can begin creating your own fabric immediately.

Fabric figures in so many things in our daily lives,  and many decorators,  including quilters,  use fabric to create not only art,  but also memories that will be passed down from generation to generation.   Memories,  art or simply something that keeps a child snug on a cold winter night deserve to be created with the best tools and products available.   We believe FabricMaker is one of those tools and we’re very excited to be able to offer it to you.

 

Introducing the Ricoh SG7100DN

RicohSG7100DNEnMart is proud to announce we will have a new larger size desktop sublimation printer available within the next week.    This printer replaces the Ricoh GX e7700N  which formerly was the large desktop printer option.

The new Ricoh printer is the Ricoh SG 7100DN.     First introduced to the European market in early 2013,  this printer has been tested and proven to be a trouble free sublimation solution with a robust printing capacity.    This is the sublimation printing solution of choice for rapidly expanding shops that want a sublimation solution that is both reliable and fast.     Print speed for the SG 7100DN are comparable to previous Ricoh models,  making it the perfect next step in the line of high production sublimation systems.

Ink for this printer is available in standard and extended size cartridges.  Standard size cartridges are designed for moderate and seasonal print flows,  and provide lower start up costs while business is ramping to full capacity.  Extended cartridges , by contrast,  are ideal for high volume sublimation environments and provide extended uninterrupted printing, without adding a bulk system to your printer set-up.

EnMart offers the printer as part of our popular sublimation combo packages.     The SG 7100DN package retails at $1678 but is currently being offered by EnMart for $1545.   The printer package comes with the printer,  a full set of ink,  1 pack of 8.5 x 11 paper and 1 pack of 11 x 17 paper,  a USB cable and more.

EnMart adds New Products for Sublimation

IMG_20130410_162617_212-2EnMart is proud to announce we’ve added a few new products to our sublimation blanks.   The first new product category is one I like quite a lot – tempered glass sublimatable cutting boards.   These are available in 8 x 11 and 11 x 16 flats and a 12″ circle.    These cutting boards have a full 100% sublimation surface area in white and rubber feet for added stability.  Instructions on how to sublimate the boards as well as information on settings for your heat press are included on the EnMart website.

I watched one of each size of cutting board being sublimated the other day and it’s quite easy to make a great item that looks terrific and unique.   You just need to print your transfer a bit larger than the size of the board and then sublimate as instructed by our guide on the website.  The finished product looks beautiful and is also useful.  I have to confess, I’ve been angling for one of the circular cutting boards to make its way to my kitchen,  but that hasn’t happened yet.

The other new product category we’ve added  is black rubber  iPhone cases.   These are another fabulous addition,  and the best part about them is that they’re made entirely in the USA.   If you have customers who are very firm about wanting U.S. made products,  these cases would certainly be an easy sale.  These cases are also antimicrobial,  so they’re great for cold and flu season.   Adhesive is pre-applied and the backing paper is easily removed.  The sublimation insert is high quality white gloss metal.  These look great and they’re made in the U.S.,  what more could be necessary?  Currently the iPhone cases are on backorder,  but we expect our stock to arrive very soon, so we are taking pre-orders for this item.