Sublimation is an entirely different monster of its own. If you have ever dabbled using the infusible circuit ink, that is the same process that we will talk about today. Infusible ink is based on the same principles, and I only bring it up because infusible ink is often used as an introduction to test out the process of sublimation.
So, what exactly is sublimation and what are the best sublimation printers for beginners? What can I use sublimation for? What can I use it on? And what do I need to get started?
Sublimation Printing Description
We will answer all that and more and give you a nice little welcome guide into the world of sublimation. Let’s get started. So, the first thing to know about sublimation is I call it ‘my ‘special craft. And there’s a reason for that, I promise.
Not because I like it, but I do. But I call it ‘my special craft’ because you need a special printer with special ink, and you use special paper and need special substrates.
Sublimation Types and Working Methodology
So, what that means is, to break it down, you need a sublimation printer that’s able to print using sublimation ink. Only sublimation ink can be used with sublimation substrates, specifically coded substrates, or they’re made of a certain material, okay? So hopefully, you’re following along.
The two most common printer types are going to be a Sawgrass printer or an Epson printer. And of course, there’s a whole slew of reasons why you would want to choose one or the other.
So, we won’t get into that today, but know that you have two options to research, and of course, we’re going to have a video on that for you because I want you guys to have as much information as possible making this decision.
Alright, so we talked about the printer. So that’s step one: Buy a printer. Step two: Either make sure it is using sublimation ink, or buy sublimation ink, okay? And again, that will depend on your printer.
About Sublimation Paper
So those go hand in hand. You also want to use sublimation paper. Many people are having fair success or pretty success, depending on how you look at it, using regular copy paper, okay?
Now that is true if you are going to print and press. The difference is a sublimation paper is specially coated so that the ink pretty much sits right on that top layer. I have used sublimation prints that I printed last year, and they still look good after pressing them today.
Now I go into that to prepare you that, of course, you can do some research and use regular copy paper, but there is a reason you would want to invest in the sublimation paper. So, one more topic for you to research, right? I recommend using the sublimation paper. So, printer, ink, paper. Those are all your basics. That’s your basic setup.
Now, what do you use sublimation on? There’s a whole slew of vendors that you can find, where you can order sublimation blanks online. Even some of your favorite vinyl vendors, because sublimation is such a booming topic right now, they have started carrying sublimation blanks. So that’s a perfect place to start. Of course, you can do a basic web search for sublimation blanks. But you know, if you have companies that you already trust, why don’t you check out what they have.
Now, of course, I always recommend Dollar Stores because guess what? All your things are going to be $1 or right around $1. Something that you can find at a Dollar Store is going to be polyester socks, microfiber towels.
You know, it’s not going to be like the best of the best because they’re cheap items, but what you’re looking for here are cheap, inexpensive blanks that you can practice on, just like we don’t practice on expensive stuff when we start with vinyl. We don’t want to practice on expensive stuff when we start with sublimation, alright?
On top of that, you know, you often get your printer in, and you want to try it now. “Let’s do it. Now! I want to do it now!” You can go, to like, your local Dollar Tree, your local Walmart, Target, and you can find things locally that you can sublimate on.