Proper Storage of Sublimation Supplies

Once you’ve purchased your sublimation or ChromaBlast supplies,  you need to make sure they are stored properly so you’ll be able to get the most use from them.   You can often find tips on how to use the supplies you buy,  but finding tips on how to properly store them so they’ll be in the best shape to be used can be a bit harder to find.  Today I thought I’d share a few tips we’ve discovered about how to keep your supplies in the best shape possible.    Proper storage and care can help your ink, paper and other supplies last longer and be much more useful.

ChromaBlast Ink Storage

  • ChromaBlast Ink should not be stored in extreme temperatures.  Anything above 104 degrees F or below 0 degrees F should be avoided.
  • Do not expose ink cartridges or bags to direct light or sunlight for extended periods of time.
  • Make sure the room in which the ink is stored is not too humid.

SubliJet Ink Storage

  • Optimum storage temperature is 70 – 80 degree F
  • Optimum humidity of room is 35% – 65%
  • Do not expose cartridges to direct light or sunlight for extended periods of time
  • Allow SubliJet ink to reach room temperature before installing and printing

Paper Storage

  • Store paper flat
  • Store paper in a cool, dry environment.  Avoid excessive humidity.
  • Once paper has been opened,  store unused paper in ziplock bag

Printer Care

  • Never mix inks.  SubliJet and ChromaBlast inks do not perform well when used in a printer through which other ink has been run.   Even if the lines are purged,  traces of the other ink may still remain and will interfere with the optimum performance of SubliJet and ChromaBlast ink.
  • Keep printer free of lint, dust and other debris that may be in the air of the work space.
  • Run nozzle checks and printer cleanings on a regular basis, particularly if the printer is not in use every day.

Humidity and Sublimation Paper

We’re having another hot and relatively humid week in  Northern Michigan today,  and I know other parts of the country are currently experiencing something like a steam bath.  Humidity levels have reached 100% on some days,  and dew points are very high.   That type of weather is generally pretty uncomfortable for humans,  and it doesn’t do your sublimation supplies, like paper,  all that much good either.   Since the weather has provided me with a ready made subject,  I thought today would be a good day to discuss humidity and sublimation paper.

First of all,  let’s discuss what humidity does to sublimation paper.    Your sublimation paper can retain an enormous amount of moisture,  so  exposing it to humid air is like setting a sponge in a pool of water.    Excess moisture in your paper is not a good thing and can lead to problems like color shifting (colors lose accuracy), bleeding of the image, and uneven transfer of solid filled areas. If you can,  store your sublimation paper in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.   If that isn’t possible,  try to avoid humidity related problems by keeping  your sublimation paper  sealed in a plastic bag.

If you paper is exposed to humid air and does soak up some excess moisture,  you have a couple of options.  One is to set the paper on your press for a few seconds. Do not press it. Just expose it to the warmth. The heat radiating from the press should help evaporate most of the moisture.  If you’ve already printed a transfer  you can try to save the transfer by heating it in your heat press.   To eliminate the excess moisture,  place the printed transfer 2″ to 3″ below the heat platen for 30 – 40 seconds.   When you do this,  the result may be that the colors in the transfer appear washed out or faded.  This is normal and the anticipated result of color adjustment for the transfer process.

As a general rule,  the optimum environment for sublimation printing is one that has low humidity and is reasonably cool.   You may have to do some experimenting to find the correct humidity and temperature levels for your particular climate.