April '22

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7 4 S U B L I M A T I O N R E P O R T 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 7 4 S U B L I M A T I O N R E P O R T 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M F or anyone that follows my column regularly, you know that mindset and business foundations, like plan- ning, systems, and goal setting, are what I'm passionate about sharing. And while I could write books on the subject (I'm hop- ing to complete my rst book this year), I also know that as business owners and managers, we need the nuts and bolts too, and we need the how-to information to continue improving at our craft. I high- ly value all the dierent decorating tech- niques encompassed under the GRAPHICS PRO umbrella and know there is a place for each one. For me, the decorating style I have always been enamored with the most is sublimation. I love the digital nature to go from concept to nished product quickly. I love the full-color capabilities that allow for bright, vibrant designs and even full- color photographs. And I also value how sublimation is exceptionally durable, fade- resistant, and a permanent process. So, this month, I wanted to share some of the top tips I have learned about the process of dec- orating with sublimation inks. First, let me quickly share with you what sublimation is for those unfamiliar, and then we will get to the tips. SUBLIMATION EXPLAINED Sublimation is a process that uses heat and pressure to turn a liquid ink (that has been printed on a carrier — typical- ly paper) into a gas. e dye particles in the gas bond to the polyester molecules of your substrate and become part of the polyester structure. e substrate must be made from polyester or have a polyester coating on it for successful sublimation to take place. As long as the polyester coating doesn't come o or the polyester bers of a soft good stay together, the ink remain the same as the day it was printed. As you will note, I said polyes- ter, not cotton. e inks need an artif icial polymer like polyester, which is most widely used. Requiring polyester does limit the abilities of garment deco- ration, but it will work on some blends. e more polyester content, t he br ig hter the image. S U B L I M A T I O N R E P O R T 2 0 2 2 B Y A A R O N M O N T G O M E R Y In sublimation printing, the inks are translucent and the blank you are printing on acts as the reector of its color. ll images courtesy Aaron Montgomery) The Science of Sublimation 3 TOP TIPS FOR SUBLIMATION SUCCESS

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