Are you interested in sublimation but have no idea of where to even begin? If the answer is yes, then you have come the the right place!!
Sublimation is a great way to start your own business, make a little extra money, or to just make items for yourself. It is really fun and easy to learn!
The first thing you need to begin sublimation is equipment. In this post I will show you everything you need to get started. Did you know you can start your own sublimation business for less than $500??
First of all you will need a printer. This will allow you to print your own sublimation transfers. You can skip the printer and order already printed transfers if you are just wanting to make items for yourself or friends and family. But if you are starting a business, you will definitely need your own printer to be able to make a decent profit.
The printer that I recommend is the Epson WF-7210. This printer is a steal of a deal currently priced at $149.
With the Epson WF-7210, you can print images up to size 13″x17″. Print size is very important when considering a printer. The print size needed will depend on what items you plan to make. But you can’t go wrong with this printer! The 13″X17″ will be plenty big enough for just about any project.
Also, it is best to start with a new printer that has never had any ink in it. If you do happen to have a used printer you would like to use, you will need to flush out all of the regular ink and clean your print heads before attempting sublimation. Regular ink will not transfer to your project.
Printer Ink & Ink Systems
You have a printer, now you need ink! You will need a special sublimation ink for the designs to transfer to your projects. I recommend INKXPRO Inks & Inks Systems. Inkxpro has amazing products and spectacular customer service.
Refillable Cartridges is the method I chose. These are ink cartridges that go into your printer but you can take them out and refill as needed. It is very easy to refill them, just use the syringe and inject the ink into the cartridge…it’s kind of fun too! 🙂
Refillable is recommended if you do not plan to use your printer every day. I just print for myself, friends, and family so sometimes my printer goes weeks without any use. These refillable cartridges work great!
Continuous Ink System is another great option. It consists of cartridges that go inside your printer and has tubes linking it to a container that you will place near the outside of your printer. To refill you simply pour the ink into the container. If you are going to be printing pretty regularly, continuous ink would be a great option.
Next, you need a sublimation transfer paper. This is a special paper that is designed to release all of the ink onto your sublimation item when applied with heat. My choice of paper is TexPrint….I can always remember this one, it makes me think of a T-Rex. I especially love this paper because it has the logo printed on the backside so you always know which side to print on.
Bring on the heat! The heat press is one of the most important elements of sublimation. You need a regulated temperature and even pressure to get a good transfer. You can not use an iron for sublimation transfers.
There are several types of heat presses. There are clamshell and swing away types…this just refers to how they open and close. A clamshell opens in an up and down motion and takes up less space. A swing away opens up but then you can swing it to the side to add and remove your items….easier to use but requires more space. There are also specialty item presses such as: mug presses, hat presses, plate presses and presses that have attachments for several different items.
Heat presses also come in many sizes. I suggest you decide which items you are going to sublimate then choose your size based on the dimensions of the items. The 15″X15″ is usually big enough for most projects but may not be needed if you only plan on sublimating smaller items such as can coolers, mousepads, coasters, keychains, etc.
You can get a great heat press for less than $200! Here are a few heat press options:
Now that you have all of your main supplies to get started….here are a couple of items that I have found helpful.
Last of all, you will need items to sublimate. Sublimation will only work with polyester or polyester coated items. You can find polyester items anywhere…just check the tags!
Sublimation blanks are available for many items such as shirts, can coolers, key chains, mouse pads, plates, mugs, hats, license plates, socks, bags, flags, phone cases, ornaments, canvases, towels, and many others!
I am compiling a list of where to shop that I will post here soon.
But in the meantime, here are several items from amazon that can be used for sublimation.
I hope this gives you an idea of what all you will need to get started with sublimation. Check back for our next blog post, “So I got the sublimation equipment, now what?” to be posted soon.
If you have any questions or comments about sublimation, leave them below and I am happy to help! 🙂
Thanks for reading and Happy Crafting! ~ Shawna
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