Avoiding Intimidation by Sublimation

At least once at every trade show we do we’ll ask someone if they’re interested in sublimation and get the response, “Oh no,  it looks too complicated.”  or some variation.   Because sublimation is used to decorate garments and poly coated substrates,  some people tend to think it’s some arcane and mystical procedure that’s too complicated for the average decorator to master.  In reality,  nothing could be further from the truth.  If you’re willing to spend a little time experimenting,  and you can accept the idea that there may be some failures before success is reached,  then you’re perfectly qualified to take up sublimation,  and I’m guessing you’ll find it’s not intimidating at all.

The first reason sublimation is not intimidating is that it uses a standard inkjet printer.   Pretty much everyone in today’s world has used a printer,  and the printers for sublimation are just like the ones you could buy at your local office supply store.  There are no extra parts,  no magical additions,  it’s just a printer.   Plus,  if you do have issues with set-up, Sawgrass Ink offers installation and set-up videos that can help.

The second reason sublimation is not intimidating is the variety of help that is available to those who are new to sublimation.  Sawgrass Ink has a blog.  There’s the blog you’re reading now.   We also provide tech support,  as does Sawgrass.   If you get stuck,  have a question or just feel lost as to how you should proceed,  there are resources available to help you solve the issue you face.   All you have to do is ask for help.

The third reason sublimation is not intimidating is the fact that you can use graphics software you already own to create your designs.   There is software specifically for sublimation but,  if you are familiar with Corel Draw or Adobe or any graphics program,  you can search out free templates and create your designs with the software of your choice.   If you’re not familiar with any graphics program,  there are a variety of classes available that can teach you to use these programs.

The fourth reason sublimation is not intimidating is the fact that there are a variety of step by step videos to walk you through the process of sublimating a particular item.    EnMart has favorited some of these videos on our YouTube channel.   Sawgrass offers a variety of how to videos as well.   If you’re uncertain about how to sublimate flip flops or mugs or shirts,  you can find a video that will guide you step by step through the process.

Like many things,  sublimation can appear a bit intimidating at first,  but it’s really much simpler than it seems.   As I wrote back in April of 2010,  sublimation really can be as easy as create, print, press.  Sublimation can also be a great source of additional revenue for your shop.    If you’ve been considering sublimation,  but thought it was too complicated, take a moment to look at all the resources available to you.   I think, once you’ve seen what’s out there,  you’ll find you’ve changed your mind.



EnMart Introduces the Epson WorkForce 1100

Recently  EnMart has been spending some time examining some new Epson printer models and reevaluating how Epson fits into the Enmart business model.  Epson was, after all, at one time the only option available for desktop sublimation printing.   Epson printers also offer options that the Ricoh printers do not.   Depending on what you want to do,  an Epson printer may well be the perfect choice for your business.  Given those facts, and some relatively recent improvements to Epson’s printing technology,  EnMart is adding at least one additional Epson model to our sublimation printer selection.  That is the Epson WorkForce 1100.

If you are looking for an inexpensive sublimation printer that can do 13 x 19 prints right out of the box,  then look no further than the Epson WorkForce 1100 Inket Printer.   This is the industry’s first entry level wide format desktop sublimation printer! Improved technology, faster printing speeds, HUGE 13 x 19 prints, and efficient, economical printing with a much improved Quick Connect CISS bulk system from Sawgrass combine to make the Workforce 1100 THE sublimation printer of choice for start-ups needing large sublimation prints.  Save over $200 and buy the printer as part of Enmart’s Epson Workforce WF 1100 Sublimation Package.

The WorkForce 1100 is also a great way to upgrade if you’ve been using an older printer.   If you currently have an older C84, C86, C88, C100, or C120 sublimation system that uses a bulk system, you can upgrade to the WorkForce 1100  and use the SAME Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow ink refill bags you currently have – you just need the new Jet Black refill bag, and a Quick Connect Kit.  If you currently use a Workforce WF 30, you can even use the SAME Quick Connect system – you just need the Jet Black refill bag and you’re all set.

EnMart is also offering a great sublimation combo package featuring the WorkForce 1100.   This package includes the following:

If bought separately,  the items in the package would retail for $949.98.   The Epson Workforce 1100 Sublimation Package will allow you to purchase all the items listed above for the low price of $749.00.   Save money and buy everything you need with this incredibly economical entry-level wide format sublimation combo package!

What Is Sublimation?

When I started writing this blog I made a mistake that many writers make, I assumed that everyone who read this blog would have the same level of knowledge that I do.   I didn’t remember that giving out tips about finding the right printer or sublimating a certain product wouldn’t be very useful if you didn’t even know what sublimation was or why you’d want to do it.  Today I wanted to correct my mistake and start at the very beginning,  with a basic overview of what sublimation is and what the process can do for you and your business.

First, let’s start with exactly what sublimation is.    Dictionary.com defines it this way:

In chemistry, the direct conversion of a solid into a gas, without passage through a liquid stage. (See phases of matter.)

When it comes to garment and product decoration, sublimation printing allows businesses to create  specialized, customized images on demand.  The specially formulated ink actually bonds with the fibers in polyester garments or the coating on the sublimation blanks and create a colorful and personalized image.

Sublimation is relatively simple to learn.  If you can run a graphics program, print to a printer, and use a heat press you can sublimate.  The steps in the sublimation process are as follows:

1. Create and import your artwork.  To do that, you can use a program like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDraw.  You can also use specially designed sublimation software like Hanes SublimationMaker 2.0.

2. Print your image using Sublijet Ink and one of the sublimation printers for which the ink has been formulated.  You will also need to be sure you are using transfer paper that has been designed for sublimation.

3. Press your transfer on to the sublimation blank you have chosen.   You can either use a standard heat press or a mug press.

When sublimation inks are heated to 400°F, they turn into a gas and bond permanently to 100% polyester fabric or any items with a polymer coating. The image that remains is a premium full-color, photographic-quality image that will not crack, peel or wash away from the substrate.

Sublimation can add a wide variety of new products to your business.   If you embroider, and were formerly limited to fabric items, sublimation allows you to add mousepads, mugs, jewelry boxes and much more.  If you’re a photographer, sublimation gives you the ability to create personalized mementos using your own photographs.   For a relatively small investment,  sublimation can be a great way to increase your business and your profits.

For a complete description of what sublimation is, what it does and how it can be useful to your business,  please download the Dye Sublimation Guide from the EnMart website.