April '21

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3 8 S U B L I M A T I O N R E P O R T 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M the mottling or saturation of the subli- mation inks. Also, your chances of repro- ducing bright, brilliant colors with this method are not high. The porosity of the paper plays a big role. So, while it's techni- cally possible to cre- ate sublimation trans- fers with regular bond paper, your results will be much better if you use a coated, made-for- sublimation paper. It's a little more ex- pensive but definitely worth it. Sublimation to cotton paper: If a sub- limation paper says it can be used to print on cotton, it's a special paper with a spe- cific coating. Usually, this is a two-step process. First, you run the paper through the sublimation printer. Secondly, you coat the wet ink with a powdered adhe- sive. The great thing about this type of sublimation paper is it allows you to print on 100% cotton shirts. The coating al- lows the sublimation ink to stay wet after printing, at least wet enough to receive the powder adhesive on the paper. Here's how it works: Put the made- for-cotton sublimation paper in the sublimation printer. Remember the inks will stay wet so you have to remove each transfer immediately from the paper tray. The ink stays wet for around 5 minutes. Then place the powder on the wet ink. Some people sprinkle it, some people dip it in and shake the powder over it. You must gently tap the paper to remove ex- cess powder. The poly- mer adhesive is what sticks to the cotton fabric, and the sublimation dyes penetrate the powder. The powder used for this process is clear, so you must still print on light colored shirts. Cuttable sublimated flock is a cuttable, white flock material that is 100% polyester. Basically, you can transfer the sublimated im- age onto the flock, which is cut- table. Print out your design using dye-sub transfer paper. You print on that in right-reading format— don't mirror the image. Then transfer the design to your flock material. Wait about 15 minutes for the adhesive to settle. You can use a cutter to cut out the design. Some cutters even read crop marks. Afterward, heat press the sublimated flock onto your garment following instructions. Sublimation paper designed for dark shirts: In order to print sublima- tion transfers on dark-colored shirts, you need to have an opaque layer under the inks. To do this, you need printable, cut- table vinyl made for sublimation inks. This usually comes in sheets that are de- signed to be run through your desktop sublimation printer. It can also be pur- chased by the roll. ALWAYS REMEMBER No matter what type of sublimation me- dia you're using, dealing with sublimation inks means you have to keep on your toes. Sublimation inks become activated when heat is applied. The gases want to escape and are looking for the next closest poly- ester or polymer molecule to call home. Here a re a few sublimation heat pressing tips: • Use a reliable, high-quality heat NOW THAT YOU UNDER- STAND THE IMPORTANCE OF SUBLIMATION PAPER, LEARN WHY THE QUALITY OF SUBLIMATION INK MATTERS: A swing-away style heat press, like the A2Z heat press from Stahls', is ideal for printing sublimation transfers. (Image courtesy Stahls') SubliToCotton print sublimation paper can be used to cre- ate a screen print- like look on cotton fabrics. It comes with powder coating. (Image courtesy Transfer Paper Experts) Sawgrass sublimation printers can be the start of a new profit center for your business. (Image courtesy Transfer Paper Experts) S U B L I M AT I O N R E P O R T 2 0 2 1

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