What Is A Sublimated Patch?

californiaSealSometimes,  when you ask a “what is” question,  you’re asking it in a larger way –  inquiring into the meaning of a particular object or thing.   Other times,  you just want to know how something is made and how it can be used.   This post deals with one of those times.

One of the popular items we sell is our sublimated patches.   These patches are a great option for hats,  for backpacks and jackets,  for anything that needs a logo or decoration,  but is too awkward or bulky for embroidery or screen print.   They’re also a terrific workaround when artwork has a lot of colors, gradients or fades,  making it difficult to reproduce correctly with other decoration techniques.   Since sublimation is a digitally printed method of decoration,  it can create photo quality prints which can then be transferred to an emblem.   The most complicated and colorful artwork can be printed with ease.

Blank Patch Construction

All patches from EnMart are made of 100% polyester twill.   The twill is die chopped into the size required.   Before the patches are chopped,  all fabric is laminated with a layer of pellon and a layer of backing,  either sew on,  which is a fabric backing or heat seal which is an industrial strength adhesive.    One the fabric is chopped to the necessary size,  it is merrowed with merrow floss – which is 100% polyester as well.     These patches are designed to withstand an industrial wash and dry,  so they are durable and will most likely last as long as the garment to which they’re attached.

Adding Sublimation

Sublimation is the process of printing artwork onto sublimation paper,  creating something called a transfer.   The printed image is then transferred, using heat,  to polyester fabric or a poly coated item.   Sublimation only works if sublimation ink,  paper and polyester fabric or a poly coated item are used.

When we sublimate the patches,  we create the sublimated images first,  then die chop and merrow the patches.    For those who want to purchase blanks and do the sublimation themselves,   both the patch fabric and the merrow can be sublimated,  although we make no claims about how well the merrow thread will sublimate.  If the blank patch being sublimated has heat seal backing,  put a piece of Teflon under the patch when pressing the image.   The adhesive on the patch can be easily peeled off the Teflon and,  once cooled,  can be sealed to a garment without issue.

What About Artwork?

As with any decoration technique,  great artwork leads to a great finished product.   Vector artwork is always preferred,  although our Design Department can work with .jpgs and pdf files if necessary.   The thing to keep in mind is that quality artwork,  high resolution,  which can be resized up or down without loss of crispness or integrity,  will produce the best prints and the best final product.   EnMart’s sublimated patch costs do not include a separate artwork charge unless we have to redraw or extensively manipulate the submitted artwork to create an acceptable finished product.   In those cases,  there will be an art fee charged.

Where To Use Sublimated Patches

Sublimated patches are a great accent for almost any item.   They’re particularly useful for items that are perhaps tougher to embroider or screen print,  either due to size or construction.    Hats are one item that work well with sublimated patches.   Backpacks and totes are another.   A sublimated patch can be a great option for a uniform or corporate wear,  particularly if the garments might change owners regularly,  as patches can be removed.   Sublimated patches are also great brand building tools,  as they allow the addition of branding to almost any item of apparel.     Keep in mind that the ability to withstand high heat is not necessarily a qualification for the use of a sublimated patches,  even though the standard backing on a sublimated patch from EnMart is a heat seal backing.   This in no way precludes sewing the finished patch on the item to be decorated.

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 Patches: You Can Make Them (And So Can We)

A lot of our customers are loving our sublimated patches,  and it’s easy to see why.    They’re cost effective,  can display almost any artwork in a stylish and colorful way,  and EnMart turns sublimated patch order in a matter of days.   If you’re looking for another product to offer your customers,  or a great way to present detailed artwork that isn’t suited for embroidery,  sublimated patches are your answer.  EnMart has been creating these patches for years,  and we know how to create a sublimated patch that is durable and attractive.

Now, of course,  we don’t have to be the people making the sublimated patches.   All of the blank patches EnMart sells are 100% polyester and suitable for sublimating.   We have many customers who purchase the blanks and sublimate them in their own shops.   Since EnMart also sells sublimation supplies including printers and paper,  we can be your one stop shop for purchasing what you need to create sublimated patches on your own.

If, on the other hand,  you’re too busy, don’t want to sublimate,  or simply don’t have the time to learn something new,  EnMart can also serve as your fulfillment house and create sublimated patches for you.   For best results we ask that you supply vector artwork,  and include a .jpg of the art you want put on the patch.    This allows us to create a patch with minimal design work on our part,  and also to see what the finished art should be.  The minimum sublimated patch order is 25.

If you have any questions about sublimated patches, or if you would like a sublimated patch sample to wash test, please feel free to contact us.  We’ll be happy to answer  any questions you have.

Sublimated Patches vs. Embroidered Patches

Anyone who ever seen a patch or emblem on a uniform knows there’s more than one way to decorate that emblem.  Embroidery is one popular method, and it works great for a lot of applications,  but not for everything.   Sublimation is another good method for adding graphics and text to a patch and it allows you to do some things that embroidery may not allow.   If you’re looking for the best method of adding decoration to your blank patches,  here are some things to consider as you decide between embroidery and sublimation.

How intricate is the design? – Embroidery is great for certain kinds of designs,  but it doesn’t do well with gradients,  fades,  or designs with lots of small lettering and intricate features.  Because sublimation is printing,  sublimated patches can have designs that are very intricate and full of color, and can also handle gradients and fades.

Does you design need a particular color behind it? – Color in the background of an embroidered patch is achieved by the color of the fabric used to make the patch.   EnMart, for instance,  has 25 different colors of fabric available,  which may be enough for most situations,  but not all.   Sublimated patches,  by contrast,  create a color background using reverse print,  which means they print the background color and then sublimate it on to the emblem.  If you need a very specific color background,  sublimated patches may be a better choice.

 What sort of artwork do you have? – While it’s true that the artwork for either an embroidered or a sublimated patch can be created from a drawing on a paper napkin,  that’s generally the long way to go about it.   Embroidered emblems usually require vector artwork and the designs also need to be digitized.  Given the constraints of embroidery, the original design may have to be altered to eliminate details that are too intricate to be embroidered.   Sublimated patches, by contrast,  are photo-realistic,  and can be printed with as much detail as necessary.

Will your patch have to be weatherproof ?– While we’ll back our Iris UltraBrite Polyester thread against any other thread in the business when it comes to colorfastness and washfastness,  thread can fade over time.   Sublimation ink is not completely oblivious to sun and repeated washing either,  but if the emblem will see a lot of outdoor exposure,  it may be a better choice than embroidery in some situations.

Whether you choose an embroidered patch or a sublimated one,  you’re making a good choice,  both for the identification of your business  and in terms of a product that is cost effective and an effective method of advertising.

Back to School with Sublimation

If you’re in the sublimation business,  this time of year,  whether you have kids or not,  is probably focused almost exclusively on those who are getting ready to go back to school.  Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten or the first day of college,  returning students need a lot of equipment,  and your goal as a businessperson should be to capture some of the dollars they will spend.   Fortunately,  there are a lot of products for sublimation that are also great for back to school.  Here are just a few of them.

Mousepads –  When I was a kid in school, and yes I know this dates me, we used electric typewriters.  These days the kids work in computer labs.  Each computer lab is probably going to need mousepads,  and wouldn’t it be awesome if they were personalized with the school logo instead of a cartoon character or a random picture?

Water Bottles –  From the football team to the cross country runner to the drill team,  there are a lot of school teams working out in the hot late summer sun.  Those teams need to stay hydrated,  and water bottles with the school logo are a great way to make that happen.

Sports Bag Tags – Teams are traveling to away games all the time,  and that means a lot of luggage and equipment bags.  Sublimated sports bag tags and luggage tags can help ensure that each students belongs and equipment are easily identifiable.

Aluminum Bookmarks – Kids have textbooks and book report books and a lot of things that need to be read.  A bookmark with a school logo or mascot on it is a great way to make sure they don’t forget where they left off reading.

Message Boards – Walk down your average college dorm hallway and you’ll see message boards on a lot of doors.  These boards are a great way to personalize a dorm door while allowing communication.

Canvas Bags – The one thing that remains constant about school is that fact that there’s a lot of stuff to carry.   A personalized canvas bag will make toting books and paper and all the other necessary supplies a lot easier.

Patches – Patches are a great way to add personality and identity to book bags, backpacks or school spirit wear.   You can either buy blank patches and sublimate them yourself,  or send us the artwork and have us create custom sublimated patches for you.

School Logo Wear – From coaches to boosters to the students themselves,  almost everyone needs or wants a shirt with the school logo or mascot.   EnMart has access to the entire Vapor Apparel catalog,  so if you’re looking for a size you don’t see on our web site,  give us a call.

Back to school time is also a great time to learn something new yourself.  If you’ve been thinking about trying sublimation,  take advantage of EnMart’s QuickStartR or Epson Workforce 1100 Sublimation packages.   These packages are a great way to get started in sublimation without spending a great deal of money.

Sublimated Patches

When the average person thinks of sublimation, I’m guessing he or she would most likely think of   mousepads or t-shirts or tiles or jigsaw puzzles.  There are literally thousands of items that can be used to create sublimated products, some less well known than others, and among those items are the blank patches that EnMart sells.   That’s what I want to talk about today.

EnMart’s  standard color blank patches are created with 100% polyester fabric, which is ideal for sublimation.   Creating a template is easy, since we can provide precise dimensions  for our blanks.   All blank patches are merrowed with 100% polyester colorfast merrow thread, so the color of the merrow won’t run when exposed to the heat of a heat press.

Sublimated patches are ideal when you have a graphic that is intricate, or you need to create a patch with subtle shadings.  They’re also a great option for those who prefer to do photo-realistic emblems.    As with other products that can be sublimated, our blank patches allow you to transfer a photo through sublimation directly to the patch.

While sublimating a patch yourself can be done,  it is not the only option that EnMart offers to those who want sublimated patches.   We also offer custom sublimated patches created by us to your specifications.   EnMart’s custom sublimated patches are a terrific way to get the photo realistic emblems you want without the time and effort of creating them yourself.    Our web site gives you all the instructions for selecting your patch and submitting your artwork.   Our standard sublimated patches are white.  Colored backgrounds can be sublimated onto the white patches if that is what you desire,  but that must be specified at the time the order is placed.

If you have any questions about EnMart’s blank patches, or about our custom sublimated patches, give us a call and we’ll be glad to assist you.