The 5 Ws of Sublimation: Who Should Sublimate

Note:  This post is the start of a series called the 5 Ws of Sublimation.  The traditional five Ws are who, what, when, where and why.    For the purposes of this series, however,  I’m changing the five Ws to who, what, why, which and when.   This post deals with who would be a good candidate for taking up sublimation.

Let me start off by saying that sublimation is not for everyone.   It would probably be something most people would enjoy and be successful at doing,  but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.   Sublimating an item well requires at least a basic knowledge of a graphics program.   It requires a willingness to try something new and an understanding that you will make mistakes and ruin an item or two along the way.   There has to be a certain level of precision,  the ability to place items properly,  to follow instructions on timing and temperature,  and a certain amount of critical thinking which will allow you to figure out what to correct when something goes wrong.   Sublimation is relatively simple, and a lot of fun,  but it does require some thought and some practice.

If you already own a screen-print or embroidery shop, than you understand the discipline that is garment decoration,  and would most likely be a perfect candidate for sublimation.    Adding sublimated mugs and mousepads and other items to your inventory would also open your business to new markets  and provide opportunities for upselling current customers.   Sublimation equipment is also, at least in relation to most other decorating equipment,  fairly inexpensive,  which means you could add a new profit center for a reasonably small investment.

Another group of people who would be suited to sublimation would be those who are looking for a second income or a job they could work on the side.   The fact that sublimation ink is considered “green” ink means that it can safely be used in a home or garage.  Proper ventilation is, of course,  still required,  but sublimation ink is generally considered to be less harmful than some other types of decoration ink.   Sublimation equipment can also be housed in a relatively small area.  The biggest amount of space would be required for the heat press.   Sublimation also has relatively low costs of entry.   You can purchase a printer package for $399 which is a relatively small investment when it comes to equipment.

White Paper and What You Make of It

I have to admit,  I’m long past the days of sitting in front of  a blank piece of paper with a pen waiting for inspiration to strike.  Nowdays I sit in front of a computer screen looking at a blank white square with a blinking cursor,  both waiting to be used to create a blog post, or a piece of collateral material or whatever else I may want to create.   My mind conceives,  my hands do the work, and the end product is something more than the white space, whether paper or programmed, where everything started.

While it’s true that everything combines to create something bigger than the sum of the parts,   that doesn’t make the parts inconsequential.  The right ingredients matter.  Your white paper,  whether computer generated or an actual piece of paper,  needs to be quality stuff,  which will work well for the purpose to which you are to put it.   You have to have experience and knowledge of how to use the supplies you are given,  whether those supplies are things like words and ideas,  or ink and printers. Finally,  you have to have the courage to take the leap between where you are and where you envision you could be.   After all blank paper and unused supplies don’t really amount to anything.  It’s what you do with those things that gives them meaning.

Sublimation starts with a piece of blank paper,  or a blank white surface of a mug or a mousepad,  and an idea.  The idea may be an abstract design,  a photograph,  or simply a logo or name.   When these things are combined,  the end result is a product that can be sold,  which might become a sign for someone’s shop or a keepsake on someone’s mantel.  The magic ingredient that changes the blank white space into something special is your imagination,  your knowledge and your willingness to try something new.

If you’re starting out,  looking at the white paper or the white sublimation blank may seem a little overwhelming,  but really all you’re looking at is a blank slate that is waiting for you to leave your mark.  We know that leaving your mark can seem like an intimidating thing to do,  or that you may think you need more knowledge before you make an attempt, and that’s why we’re here to help.  Whether it’s guiding you to the right resource,  or sharing with you some of our own knowledge and expertise,  we’ll be happy to help you find the assistance  and knowledge you need.

It all starts with a blank sheet of paper.  Where it ends is up to you.