Sublimation offers full-color printing capabilities at an affordable start-up cost. All you need to being is a sublimation printer, sublimation inks, sublimation paper, and a heat press. The technology is well-developed, and there is avast support network of suppliers and users to help when questions arise. Sublimation is also easily scalable. You can start with a small format desktop sublimation printer and expand later to a large format printer for more demanding projects.

Sublimation uses CMYK printing, giving you the ability to reproduce high-quality graphics and photographs. There are thousands of blank sublimation items available, including drinkware, apparel, photo-receptive, and exterior signage panels. The process of sublimation fuses the printed graphic to the blank item, making the finished transfer very durable and able to withstand hundreds (in some cases thousands) of washes without fading.

Once you have decided to get started, in a matter of hours you can be offering your customers full-color, personalized signs, gifts and more! Plus, adding sublimation to your business is a great way to attract new customers and grow your product offering. We’ll make sure you get the right equipment and the right products to attract and retain your customers.

All you need to provide is a computer. Let Johnson Plastics Plus provide the rest. We offer small and large format sublimation printers, heat presses, ink, paper, and sublimatable substrates.

How does dye sublimation work?

Dye sublimation works by printing a design onto a special type of paper with sublimation ink. The printed paper is then placed against an item with a sublimation polyester coating or polyester-mix fabric. When heated, the ink on the paper turns into a gas and permeates the material, becoming a part of it.

What can you put sublimation onto?

Sublimation works with polyester-coated items or polyester-mix fabrics that are light-colored. You can also use it with other items like mugs, mouse pads, and coasters that have a special polymer coating. Some folks even sublimate onto treated glass.

Is sublimation ink transparent?

Sublimation ink is slightly transparent when transferred onto a blank that isn’t white, which can result in a vintage or muted appearance as the color of the substrate can show through.

How is sublimation different from iron-on vinyl?

Sublimation printing infuses ink into the material for a seamless design, suited only for light-colored polyester fabrics and capable of detailed, full-color images. Iron-on vinyl applies a distinct polyurethane layer to virtually any fabric, allowing for vibrant, single-color designs without the color blending capability of sublimation.

How is sublimation different from screen printing?

Screen printing layers ink on top of the fabric, while sublimation ink becomes part of the fabric. Screen printing works on a variety of materials and is generally more cost-effective for large batches. Sublimation offers more vibrant and detailed designs but is usually limited to certain types of materials. Sublimation can also transfer all colors in a single press, while screen printing requires multiple passes to achieve a similar look to sublimation.

What do you need to get started in sublimation?

To start with sublimation, you'll need a sublimation printer, sublimation ink, sublimation paper, and a heat press. You'll also need the polyester coated or polyester blended items you want to transfer to, like t-shirts, mugs, etc.

How hard is it to get started in sublimation?

It's relatively straightforward if you follow the guidelines and invest in the right equipment. There's a learning curve for getting the colors and pressure settings right, but plenty of tutorials can guide you through the process.

Can I use a sublimation printer for regular prints, too?

Technically yes, but it’s not advisable. Sublimation ink is specifically formulated for the sublimation process and may not produce optimal results for regular printing tasks.

What kind of paper do I use?

You'll need special sublimation paper designed to hold the ink and release it evenly when heated.

What kind of ink do I use?

You'll need to use sublimation ink that is compatible with your specific sublimation printer, which is formulated to turn from a solid to a gas without passing through the liquid stage.

What can I put my sublimation prints on?

Sublimation transfers should go on polyester or polyester-mix fabrics, as well as items with a special polymer coating like mugs, mouse pads, and coasters.

How do I test my sublimation prints for vibrancy and color?

The best way to test is to do a small sample print. Adjust your color settings on your printer or in your design software and then press it onto your chosen material to see how it looks. Note: sublimation prints may look slightly dull on the sublimation paper due to the coating. This is normal and the colors should appear bright and vibrant when transferred.

What is the difference between sublimation and Cricut Infusible Ink?

Infusible Ink, launched by Cricut, streamlines the sublimation technique by offering ready-to-use sheets and markers. These sheets are designed to be trimmed using a Cricut cutter, while the markers enable you to hand-draw designs onto paper, both of which can then be heat-transferred onto your material. Learn more about Infusible Ink vs. Sublimation.

What is sublimation vs toner heat transfer?

Sublimation is a printing method where special inks turn into gas when heated, then bond permanently with 100% polyester or poly-coated substrates, requiring light-colored fabrics for visibility. Toner heat transfer, also known as white toner transfer, uses a different technology that lays the print on top of the substrate, allowing for vibrant prints on any fabric or color and can last for about 50-60 washes. Sublimation inks can be either liquid or toner-based, and some printers accommodate both sublimation and toner heat transfer.

How do I print for sublimation?

You print your design onto special sublimation paper using a sublimation printer and ink. Then you'll use a heat press to transfer the design onto your chosen sublimation-ready material.

Can you use any printer for sublimation?

No, you'll need a printer specifically designed for sublimation or an inkjet printer that has been converted for sublimation use.

Do you need a special printer for Cricut sublimation?

If you're planning to use your Cricut to cut sublimation designs, you'll still need a dedicated sublimation printer for the printing part.

What do I need to do sublimation at home?

You'll need a sublimation printer, sublimation ink, sublimation paper, and a heat press. Don't forget the sublimation-specific material you want to transfer to!

What software do you use for sublimation printing?

Software like Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW, or specialized sublimation software can be used to design and print your sublimation projects.

Can I turn my inkjet printer into a sublimation printer?

While you’ll get the best results with a printer made specifically for sublimation, some inkjet printers can be converted into sublimation printers by using sublimation cartridges or by manually refilling the existing cartridges with sublimation ink. However, do this only after thorough research to make sure your specific printer model can handle it.