July '20

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COMMON BUT CHALLENGING: SUBLIMATING SOCKS AND MUGS In the most-common category of sublimatable goods, Darci Jeffrey-Andersen, Coastal Business Supplies, says that socks and mugs can pose some difficulty for those who aren't experienced in the process. She suggests the following approaches for each: SOCKS: Jeffrey-Andersen recommends producers use a busy pattern as the background. "You will often get a darker print along the side of the sock, and a busy pattern helps hide this feature," she states, and suggests using a spray adhesive or a dye-sublimation paper that has an adhesiveness on it. When pressing the socks, decorators can use a sandwich technique. "Make sure that you print both the front and the backside of the sock at once," she explains. "Then, fold the paper in half and insert the sock. Next, put the sock into the heat press. Press the top side first and then the bottom. When you are done, remove the transfer and your sock is done." MUGS: For this drinkware item, producers have a couple of options. Jeffrey-Andersen points out that they'll need to decide if they're using a mug press or a mug wrap. "The transfer paper, regardless of the size of the design, should completely cover the mug from top to bottom and all the way around to the handle," she states. "With the mug press, you want to test out how long you will be pressing your mugs." Jeffrey-Andersen says that the time is usually between 10 to 15 minutes per mug. If a producer chooses a mug wrap, they'll want to decide which conveyor or convection oven they wish to use as it will dictate how long the mug needs to be inside the heat source. Whichever heat source the shop choos- es, it needs to maintain a consistent temperature of 400 F. Regardless of which products they're choosing to take on, Gross urges produc- ers to keep track of their learning process. "Document the process, your successes, and failures," he advises. By keeping a de- tailed record of what works and what does not, shops can continue to accelerate their specialty sublimation services and become more efficient. WORKFLOW AND PRICING Adding specialty sublimation jobs to a production sched- ule, much like the actual sub- limation process itself, takes time to streamline. Jeffrey- Andersen says that testing is crucial, especially in the early phases. "When starting out, it will take much lon- ger to do the process because you won't be as well trained," she explains. "However, as you become more acquainted with the process, your production time will be less." Shops can order sample quantities of prod- ucts they want to explore sublimating, then start ordering inventory once they have a grasp of the approach. For bigger projects, planning out the job is especially important. Bender points to photo panels. With large metal panels, he stresses, one mistake is not easily reversible compared to, say, a botched name tag. "En- sure your designers know how to proceed, and double (even triple) check your artwork or imagery before print- ing," he says. From there, producers should make sure they have ample staff in production to handle the panels since many of them require at least two people to move and lift the material. Ellston points out that producers can also save time by having some stock art on-hand. "A shop should have sev- eral background images as well as premade artwork ready to go," she states. "Then, if all that is needed is to add some text or a logo, there will be so much time saved when it comes time to fulfill that order." Pricing can be complicated with spe- cialty sublimation since sizes, shapes, and production times vary depending on what SUBLIMATION PRICING CAN BE A TRICKY TOPIC TO TACKLE. CHECK OUT MORE POINTERS WITH THIS ARTICLE: (Image courtesy Coastal Business Supplies) Sublimatable photo panels work for a variety of appli- cations from family keepsakes to decorations for cor- porate lobbies. (Image courtesy Condé Systems) 1 6 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

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