What Is Sublimation?

The JPPlus Guide To Sublimation

I want to sublimate! How do I add sublimation to my business? Adding sublimation to your business is easy and it's one of the most economical start-up you will ever do! It's a fast, low-cost way for you to expand your businesses into customized full-color gifts and signage. With a sublimation printer, paper, and heat press, you can offer thousands of new products to your customers in no time! Sublimation is a technique wherein images are printed onto a special type of paper and then transferred onto various materials, such as fabrics, ceramics, or metal, through the use of heat and pressure. The heat causes the inks to transform from a solid to a gas state, directly infusing the material with the image.

items for sublimation in front of two printers with an assortment of inks

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Sublimation Ink, Paper & Supplies

Small Format Sublimation Printers

Large Format Sublimation Printers

Getting Started With Sublimation

Our team of experts has years of experience and are ready to help you every step of the way. From installation to production, we make sure you get the most out of your sublimation experience. Our friendly service team provides free, expert installation guidance and helps make suggestions as to the right materials and supplies to give you the best results possible!

Sublimation Is Easy! Here's What You'll Need

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We recommend our Epson and Sawgrass models, sublimation ink and JPPlus sublimation paper.

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Flat, mug press, cap or plate press. JPPlus has a great selection of heat presses to fit your market need.

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The key to a successful sublimation product is making sure your blank is coated for sublimation. JPPlus has a great selection of blanks, sheet stock, gifts and apparel, as well as drinkware, plastics, wood and metals.

Technology Comparison Chart

Business Needs

Durability of printed graphics and text

Print direct-to-subtrate / 1 step process

Compatibility with uncoated materials

Compatibility with coated materials

Ability to print clear/overcoat

Fine detail text

ADA Braille and/or textured

Use of color

Marking dark materials / substrates

Fabric printing

Heat press required?

How does the purchase cost compare?













What Is Sublimation?

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 a vast 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.


You may have learned in the school that “sublimation” involves a substance that changes from a solid to a gas without ever becoming liquid. In the signage, awards, and personalization industries, it’s the process where images are printed on specialty coated paper, then transferred to a coated surface or substrate.

Unlike conventional inks, sublimation inks are converted directly from a solid to gas under heat and pressure, and upon cooling permanently bond with the fibers in polyester. It's this bond that makes sublimation such a durable personalization process. Those fibers could be the polyester in traditional fabrics and other soft goods, but also polyester fibers in the specialized coating applied to sublimatable hard goods such as mugs, tumblers, home decor items, hard board, picture frames, and more. In order for an item to work with sublimation, it has to have polyester in the material itself or in the coating or film.

Long story short, if a product isn't manufactured specifically for sublimation with a polyester coating, it won't work with the process. Thankfully, there are thousands of polyester-coated products specifically for sublimation available from Johnson Plastics Plus. You can be sure that products marked as sublimation-friendly offered through jpplus.com have been thoroughly tested and are ready to be personalized with sublimation.

How do I add sublimation to my business?

Adding sublimation to your business is not only easy but also brings numerous advantages. It's one of the most economical start-ups you will ever undertake, offering high-profit margins as the materials required are relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, it allows for the creation of vibrant, high-resolution transfer that are resistant to fading and wear over time, which means your products will maintain a fresh and new appearance even after prolonged use. It's a fast, low-cost way for you to expand your business into customized full-color gifts and signage. Sublimation is versatile, enabling you to personalize a wide array of items, from clothing to homeware, thus meeting various customer preferences and needs. With a sublimation printer, paper, and heat press, you can offer thousands of new, high-quality, and durable products to your customers in no time, enhancing customer satisfaction and potentially boosting your business reputation and reach.

What does sublimation mean in printing?

In the context of printing, sublimation refers to a process where heat-sensitive inks are transferred from specially coated paper onto materials such as fabrics, ceramics, or metals. The heat and pressure applied during this process causes the inks to transition directly from a solid to a gas state, bypassing the liquid stage. This causes the inks to penetrate the surface of the material, resulting in a high-resolution, vibrant, and durable print.

What kind of printer do you need for sublimation?

For sublimation printing, you would require a dedicated sublimation printer equipped with sublimation inks. These printers are designed to handle the specific type of dye-sublimation transfer paper required for the process. Popular brands offering these printers include Epson and Sawgrass.

Is sublimation better than vinyl?

Whether sublimation is better than vinyl depends on the specific needs of your business. Sublimation offers vibrant, high-resolution prints that are durable and resistant to fading. It works best on light-colored, polyester-based materials. On the other hand, vinyl is versatile and can be applied to various surfaces, including dark fabrics and cotton. However, it might not offer the same level of detail and vibrancy as sublimation. The choice depends on your product range and customer preferences.

Do you need a heat press for sublimation?

Yes, a heat press is essential for sublimation printing. The heat press applies the necessary heat and pressure to transfer the design from the sublimation paper onto the chosen material, facilitating the ink's transition from a solid to a gas state and ensuring a high-quality transfer.

Is infusible ink the same as sublimation?

Infusible ink works on a principle similar to sublimation, where the ink becomes a part of the material instead of simply sitting on top of it. However, infusible ink is often available in the form of pens or markers, allowing for direct drawing or writing onto the transfer paper, which can then be transferred onto the substrate using heat.

What lasts longer, sublimation or heat transfer?

Generally, sublimation tends to last longer than traditional heat transfers. Since the ink becomes part of the material during sublimation, it is more resistant to fading, cracking, or peeling over time. This gives sublimated products a more durable and long-lasting finish compared to heat transfers.

What do you need to do sublimation?

To start with sublimation, you would need the following:

Having a design software to create or edit designs would also be beneficial.

Sublimation Resources


Talk to one of our trained experts to make sure you get the right equipment for your business! From printers to heat presses and everything in between, we'll take the mystery and uncertainty out of the buying process and set you up for success!