Awards & Engraving

June '16

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50 • A&E JUNE 2016 Why is cotton a constant candidate for sublimation decorating? First, cotton is the go-to fabric in other forms of deco- rating such as screen printing and modern direct-to-garment printing. Second, com- pared to the polyester options available for dye-sub, cotton shirts have a lower cost and are readily available in thou- sands of different styles from seemingly hundreds of garment vendors. Third, most customers simply prefer cotton. As far as I know, it is impossible to directly sublimate to cotton using tra- ditional sublimation dyes and release papers. Why? The dyes, officially called "disperse dyes," need to bond with an oil-loving molecule like polyester. This stumbling block has forced folks to search for a way to either break or at least work around the laws of physics when it comes to sublimating onto cotton. I have tested a number of promising and some- times unusual methods that involved either coating the cotton with polyester or modifying the release paper. In my opinion, all of these methods had fatal flaws. Until now. INTRODUCING REVEAL S Jim Cobb and his team at Vivid Chem- ical have introduced what I think is the first commercial "self-weeding" sublima- tion transfer paper. This game-changing transfer paper, called Reveal S, allows sub- limators to decorate white/light colored cotton or blended fabrics using almost any inkjet sublimation printer. The secret to the Reveal S transfer paper is a patent-pending coating that will selectively release only in areas that have been printed with sublimation ink. This type of process is called "single-step self-weeding." (See sidebar on page 53.) As the coating is released from the Reveal S paper, the sublimation ink turns into a gas and sublimates into the ROAD TO SUBLIMATION SUCCESS Reveal S decorated shirts provide good color vibrancy and color reproduction. O ver the past 20 years, I have truly enjoyed being a "Sublima- tion Evangelist" for our industry. Looking back on those many years, I think of the countless times I have been asked the old familiar question: "Can cotton be sublimated?" I then think of the countless times I've reluctantly replied, "No." Sublimating to cotton has been on my sublimation bucket list for a long time. By David Gross Sublimating to Cotton

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