I was asked a few questions about the sublimation of promotional products. Here are these answers to the questions; What are some “out of the box” substrates to sublimate? How can all-over sublimation be applied to promotional products? What are the biggest challenges to sublimating hard substrates?
To me, there are only two drawbacks to sublimation and with some creativity, you can easily overcome them in your decorating business. Those 2 restrictions are the lack of white ink in the process and the fact that sublimation ink only transfers and bonds to polyester.
I do think the demand for customization is only going to grow and believe it could even drastically change how we buy our clothing etc. I think this will affect the industry because it is going to change the humble t-shirt. In a recent talk I heard by Charles Ohiaeri, Chief Fulfillment Officer of Zazzle … Read more
In the sublimation world there is the holiday gift-giving season and then all of the rest. Most sublimators triple or quadruple their business during the holiday season, and a very popular product is a ceramic ornament that can be imaged on both sides. Pressing one side than the next can be done, but many times the heat tape can cause blemishes and defects. I have perfected a great way to press these items quickly and without issue over and over again. Let’s check out how to transfer a double-sided ceramic ornament.
Sublimation is still growing in the garment decorating world and I really don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. As I mentioned in a recent Impressions article, the consumers and the retailers are demanding a faster turnaround time and smaller minimum order amounts. With the wider range of polyester fabrics available today, as compared to 30 years ago, the sublimation process has become the favorite process of many fashion labels, sports jersey manufacturers, and even your local softball team. I’m writing this wearing my favorite recreational volleyball team jersey that is a moisture-wicking polyester fabric with an all over sublimation design. Our team name was the Wallbangers, as we didn’t always hit it in the court but yet we demanded a comfortable polyester jersey with no hand (the feel of the ink on the garment) for our weekend fun.
The promotional products industry is estimated by PPAI to be a $21 billion dollar plus industry and growing according to their report from 2016. Many people think of the promotional products industry as a space for trinkets and trash or an occasional single color 50/50 shirt order. The space is so much more and if you have invested in sublimation or have a partnership with a contract sublimator you can be grabbing your piece of that $21 billion dollar pie. Better yet, you will not be fighting for nickels of profit with the overseas suppliers since sublimation can supply a promotional product that has a nice margin as well.
With dye-sublimation, you can turn any image into a vibrant and permanent memento or piece of art! Take a look into the printing and pressing process of one of the most popular items, an award plaque for sports teams.
If you spend any time on the industry message boards or Facebook groups, the overwhelming theme for most people’s questions about equipment or supplies revolves around “I got the cheapest press I could find”, or “what do you think about this cheap ink?”. Unfortunately engaging in a conversation about the “cheap” item will end up poorly, and there will be someone who has made it “work”. I tend to move along and just worry that we will have another person in our industry who is going to struggle to create a successful business long term.