July '20

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1 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M products. Typically, this would be a busi- ness with equipment like industrial sewing machines, cutting equipment, and embroi- dery machines. In addition to custom-made textile products, she also suggests that shops with a CNC router can use the machine to cut custom-shaped substrates and of- fer unique sublimatable hard goods to the market. TACKLING CHALLENGING ITEMS While some specialty items are generally made for easy sublimation, other products can pose challenges for producers. Specifi- cally, colored garments, thin fabrics, and odd-shaped substrates all take a little extra preparation and attention so that the job is error-free. For colored garments, sources all recom- mend printing either a color chart or color wheel and sublimating it onto the colored garment. The consensus is that this method helps a decorator determine the color on a final product much more accurately than referencing a color chart on paper or a com- puter screen. For thinner fabrics, Jeffrey-Andersen rec- ommends placing a protective sheet like Kraft paper underneath the garment before sublimating. "With thinner fabrics, the ink has the possibility of going through the fabric and dyeing what's underneath," she adds. "By having a protective sheet under- neath, you protect the lower platen of the heat press." Additionally, she advises insert- ing a protective sheet inside the shirt to pre- vent designs from pressing from the front onto the back of the garment. Since many odd-shaped hard substrates are products that come pre-cut from a sup- plier, parties recommend producers consult with their dealer on how to decorate the product best. Suppliers often provide pre- made artwork templates to streamline the design process. Lisa Ellston, JDS Industries, notes that some more fragile substrates may require a heat-conductive or felt pad to pre- vent breakage. In the hard substrates category, wood products can also take a little extra work, says Josh Bender, Unisub. "Sublimating light-edged products such as natural wood items can be challenging since the gasses from the inks tend to migrate into the light sides of the product," he explains. Bender says decorators can prevent this by creating an edge within the artwork similar in color to the edges of the wood product so that if the ink gas bleeds, it is the same or similar to the color of the edges. SPECIALTY SUBSTRATES TO CONSIDER ACRYLIC: These are particularly use- ful for awards and recognition ap- plications. Plus, many suppliers carry the acrylics in pre-cut shapes like stars, pyramids, and other dimen - sional designs, which means deco- rators can apply detailed, intricate prints on a uniquely shaped product. ALUMINUM PHOTO PANELS: Photo- based applications work well for a variety of clients. David Gross, Con - dé, points to the ChromaLuxe line of aluminum photo panels, which come in several different sizes. Shops can use these panels to sublimate every- thing from a small keepsake from a family reunion to a large, panoramic shot for the lobby of a corporate office. CUSTOMIZABLE LICENSE PLATES AND FRAMES: Lisa Ellston, JDS Industries, says that depending on where a shop is based, they can use these to tap into the automotive market. "Some states only require one plate, which means that a decorative plate can be used for the second plate." If two plates are required, Ellston notes that shops can sublimate a personalized license plate frame in addition to the custom plate. SUBLIMATABLE SLATE: Similar to photo panels, shops can use subli - matable slate as a canvas for photos in multiple sizes. This product also works well for other applications like pet memorials or décor and signage for residential and business purposes. WAYFINDING AND DIRECTIONAL SIG - NAGE: Josh Bender, Unisub, points out that this category of products works great for both indoor and outdoor applications. These are particularly use- - plications. Plus, many suppliers carry - sional designs, which means deco- rators can apply detailed, intricate Sublimatable slate provides a unique canvas for photos and other custom artwork. Producers can tap into the broad base of automotive owners with sublimatable license plates and frames. (Images courtesy JDS Industries)

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