How Do I Use Sublimation Transfer Markers?

For those who are new to Artesprix Permanent Thermal Heat Transfer Markers,  let’s first start with what they are.    Basically,  this is sublimation ink in a marker,  which means you don’t need a printer to create sublimated products.   These markers are a great option for preserving children’s artwork,  creating a one of a kind craft project and personalizing almost anything that’s polyester or poly coated.    If you’re a great free hand artist,  these markers would allow you to create original works of sublimated art.

Unlike using a sublimation printer and sublimation ink cartridges,  these markers allow art to be drawn on any type of paper and then sublimated on to the polyester garment or poly coated item of choice.  The first step is to make your drawing,  it can be line art or colored in as you prefer.   The next step is to press your drawing onto the item you want to embellish.    You can use an iron (making sure not to use steam and have the iron on its highest setting)  but the best results will probably come from using a heat press.

One little quirk of the process is that the final product is a mirror image,  so any text will need to be reversed in the drawing if it is to come out properly in the completed version of the product.  Stencils or light boxes might be helpful for this part of the process.

Once you’ve completed your drawing,  secure it to the item you want to sublimate with thermal heat tape.   The tape will secure the drawing and ensure it doesn’t move during the transfer process.  Heat tape, rather than regular tape, is necessary since sublimation requires a fairly high temperature.   Make sure to remove any protective covering on the item you’re sublimating as well.

Place the securely taped blank and drawing under a heat source.   For best results, the manufacturer of the markers recommends using a heat press.  As stated earlier,  the temperature,  time and pressure used with the press will vary based on the item being decorated.    If using an iron,  use the highest heat setting with no steam.   You will need to press (hold the iron on the transfer and keep it stationary) for anywhere from one to five minutes.    Mugs can also be put in an oven using a mug wrap.   Remember that you should never leave a transfer under a heat source unattended.

Once the press is complete,  allow your item to cool and carefully remove the transfer.   You should now have a unique decorative item or garment customized with your hand drawn artwork.   Artesprix Markers come in a 10 pack and include the following colors: yellow, magenta, orange, red,  light blue, green, dark blue, purple, brown and black.

How To Sublimate Without a Sublimation System

In a previous article I wrote a tongue-in-cheek bit about people who shouldn’t do sublimation.  I said how if you couldn’t use a computer, sublimation probably wasn’t for you.  Like most generalizations though, it isn’t 100% applicable in all cases. Hey, at least I used the word “probably”.

Now, I’m going to tell you how you CAN create unique and interesting items, sublimate them to the sublimation blank of your choice, and sell them to others – even somewhere like Etsy – all WITHOUT a sublimation system.   In fact, you don’t really need a computer, printer, or heat press!  What? Heresy you say?  Read on.

I’m talking about Artesprix Sublimation Markers.  Basically, they took sublimation ink and put it into a set of 10 colors of chisel tip markers that you can draw and color with.  With these markers, you can draw anything that your artistic talents render you capable of drawing, and then put it (sublimate it) onto any of the thousands of available sublimation blank items.

If it sounds simple, it is, and there are a few different ways you can use these markers, depending on your level of sublitivity (sublimation + creativity).

The Artist:  If you have lots of talent in the drawing and painting department, then this opens up a new way for you to create and sell unique one-offs of your work.  Artesprix markers lend themselves well to sketches, line art, and other methods of drawing that aren’t extremely finely detailed.  As an artist you have the most flexibility, since you truly don’t need any of the normal sublimation equipment.

If you do have a sublimation system, you can produce numbered copies of your designs on the system and then use the markers to paint or color and make each one unique in its own way.

While application of the drawing to a sublimation blank is definitely easier with a heat press, you can use an iron for many fabrics and flat goods, or a mug wrap and oven for several different kinds of drinkware.  And, unique, hand crafted items are especially well suited for selling in your Etsy store.

The Colorist:  Love to color in coloring books?  Using your regular non-sublimation printer, paper, and computer, you can find or design and print patterns and drawings for coloring (or just tear out pages from a coloring book).  Then, take the Artesprix markers, trace the lines, color in your design, and sublimate away.  If you happen to already have a sublimation system, you can print patterns and drawings on plain paper using the sublimation ink, and then color in with the markers.

The Memorist:  For lasting memories, give the markers to the kids (or adult kids) and let them draw or color something on paper instead of on the wall.  You take it, sublimate it, and you’ve created a lasting keepsake.  You can do this for your own kids or for other groups such as birthday parties, classes, or even art classes in schools.  Sell the sublimated products to the parents (or the kids), and they’ll have something they can use and will last a lot longer than a refrigerator drawing.

The Craftist:  Check out some craft stores, craft meetups, make-and-takes, or other craft related classes and venues.  Crafters love making unique items and learning something new.  Show them how it works, sublimate their work on site with a heat press (or even show them how to do it), and rake in the dough.

There are probably other categories of people who can use Artesprix markers, but I couldn’t think of more clever words ending in “ist” to name them with.  At any rate these should give you lots of start-up ideas on how to use them.

For full directions on using Artesprix markers or to order up a few sets for yourself, see our product page and click on the “Instructions” tab (and the other tabs as well).  As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.

Article by Tom Chambers; Artwork by Carolyn Cagle, Strikke Embroidery
Tom Chambers is EnMart’s sublimation guru,  the guide and mentor regarding all things sublimation.   Tom was instrumental in introducing inkjet sublimation to industrial laundries, and has been working with the process since the early days of thermal ribbon sublimation.