Sublimation blanks are specially manufactured products designed to customize or personalize with graphics/images with the sublimation printing process. Such materials are mainly polyester, polymers, or polymer-coated items available in ceramics, apparel, vinyl, spandex, bodysuit, glass, snowboards, calender, wood, hard metals, PVC, neoprene, nylon, linen, etc.
Most importantly, blank items are heat resistant because the print image gets transferred from the paper(known as transfer paper) onto the substrate under high temperature and recommended pressure. If the media is not heat-resistant, then it is likely to melt or break.
Secondly, blank products are mostly white or light-colored. Because it does not include any white inks, to get a bright, vivid & permanent print. The substrate must be white or light-colored for custom printing.
5 Things you Need to Get Started With Sublimation Printing:
In addition to sublimation blanks, you need five things to start sublimation printing. They are:
We have chosen Epson Ecotank printers for sublimation. Basically, it is an inkjet printer. We convert it into a dye-sublimation printer by filling its ink tanks with sublimation inks.
10 Best Sublimation Blanks Products:
Sublimation printing is cost-effective, faster, easy to perform, reliable & growing in demand compared to other print methods like engraving. For trophies and plaques, dye printing is the best alternative to engraving on metals and crystals. Lest explore below the top 10 blank products for sublimation printing.
Mugs or coffee mugs are the most trending blank dye sublimation products among sellers and customers. Because it is affordable and the perfect item for personal use, gifting, birthday, anniversaries, or selling items for shops.
While the in-demand custom products are always among the top-notch priorities. In fact, those who love things get personalized for themselves or their loved ones. Custom mugs have turned into their first choice.
Moreover, being a print shop or a newbie, you can invest in any mug with a white surface. You can only sublimate mugs that are made of ceramic or have a glazed ceramic coating on their surface. You can also sublimate on porcelain mugs as it has a glazed and smooth coating as ceramic. And, of course, you can only consider a mug as a “blank mug” if it has a white surface. It’s like a white paper on which you draw or customize in this case.
- Additional Equipment to sublimate mugs – Mug Press Holder
- Recommended Temperature – 400F
- Time for the press – 200 to 300 seconds depending on artwork
Cost of Sublimation mug:
The price of custom mugs costs around $25 to $30. While the pricing more or less depends upon the print shop or seller.
Blank Mugs Wholesale Supplier – Bestsub, Coastalbusiness, USCutter
Best Sublimation printer for mugs – Epson Workforce WF-7710, Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400, Professional Sublimation C88 Printer
T-shirts have been the most popular favorites among the buyers in the custom apparel fashion, so do the sellers too enthusiastic about selling. Besides the most preferred screen printing and Direct-to-garment(DTG) printing, clothing brands and private labels are also looking for polyester sublimation tees and garments.
Sublimation allows for detailed graphic printing on shirts with many coloring options. Tight-knit woven polyester fabrics are cheap and best because they can withstand heat, and the polymer bonds easily with the ink material. Not necessarily; the apparel must be 100% polyester. 60% polyester and 40% cotton garments can make up for printing as long as they can withstand heat. When you sublimate on a 100% cotton tshirt/muslin, the ink won’t embed/bond/infused into the fabric. Rather it will just remain onto the surface. As a result, the ink will fade, crack and wash off after a few laundries.
A high-quality dye-sublimation print on apparel can last for 10 years.
White or light-colored tee shirts are best because it does not require white ink. So black or any dark-colored apparel isn’t suitable for a good and vivid print. Further, you can sublimate on a red-colored hoodie with black ink.
- Recommended Temperature – 400F
- Time for the press – 45 to 60 seconds depending on artwork
Cost of Sublimation T-shirts:
The final cost of custom t-shirts with sublimation printing ranges from $12 to %15. Further, it depends on the blank apparel cost ($1 or more), printing and shipping costs.
Blank apparel wholesale distributors – Royalapparel, Blankstyle, PolyesterTshirt, Hanes, Bestblanks, bella+canvas
Best sublimation printer for a T-shirt – Brother MFC-J995DW, Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000, Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S
03. Photo Tiles:
Whether you need a personalized gallery of your own photos to brighten up your walls or a favorite gift to loved ones, it is a perfect choice for display on easels, frames, and custom murals! Furthermore, mix tiles are 8×8 photo tile that easily sticks on walls without nails and has gained popularity for interior decoration.
These are basically made of ceramic that gives a bright white glossy finish. One of the popular blanks has a perfect surface to sublimate custom prints with rich and vivid colors.
How do you Sublimate?
Take your ceramic tile glossy side face down onto the printed image of the transfer paper. Remember, transfer paper is like a tattoo sticker. You get this image onto the transfer paper with a printer. And you require a heat press to transfer this image from transfer paper onto the substrate. Fold any two sides of the paper at the corresponding edges and apply tape to the stick. Then it is ready for heat transfer.
Other blanks under this category are glass tiles, wood photo all panels, kitchen cutting boards, and more.
- Additional Equipment for photo tile sublimation – Heating Pad
- Recommended Temperature: 400 F
- Time for the press: 4.5 – 5 minutes
Cost of Sublimation Photo Tiles:
The final price of custom photo tiles with large format sublimation printing can go as high as $100 or more. Because the base price of an 8”x8” blank photo tile ranges from $10 to $100 or more. All of it depends upon the material cost and the price sold by the sellers.
Photo tile sellers– Coastalbusiness, Sepsgraphics, Uscutter, Subliblanks
Photo/ceramic tile sublimation printer – Rolanddg Texart XT-640
04. Glass Items:
Since glass is a brittle material that can break easily, you must be cautious while using a heat press for dye-sublimation printing. Remember, there are special heating machines for objects with round or cylindrical surfaces. Flatbed heat press machines are not suitable for round surfaces.
How to sublimate on a glass item(circular)?
- So, it is too easy to craft cylindrical glass items.
- First, get the images printed on the transfer paper. You can get high-resolution stock photographic images/artwork for glass items from Etsy or create your own with rip software.
- Then take your product and ensure that its surface is clean and dust-free.
- Then wrap the printed transfer around the product while ensuring it is aligned correctly. And secure its position using heat-resistant tape to prevent misplacement during heat press.
- Next, place it centrally into the heat press and press with the recommended time, temperature and pressure.
- Once the timer is elapsed, remove it from the heat press. Remove the paper in a continuous motion from the circular glass material. Be careful as the product would be hot.
- And, once it’s cool, the custom-printed glass is ready.
- Do not submerge into water immediately after the print job, as the glass may shatter.
- Recommended temperature – 400° F
- Time for the press – 3.5 to 4 minutes with heavy pressure
Cost of Sublimation Glass Items:
The final charge of a glass frame costs around $20. Because the base price of 8” glass pcs ranges from $6 to $10. And the additional cost incurred in printing, packaging, and shipment. If it is an offline store, the final price may decrease.
Glass supplier service – RPL Suppliers, Bestsub, Coastalbusiness
Best Sublimation printer for glass – Sawgrass Virtuoso VJ 628
05. Tote Bags:
Polyester Canvas Tote Bags are ideal for promotions or promotional events, trade shows, giveaways, school or college work, and mostly a great alternative to single-use plastic bags. These are sturdy and can be customized with various print methods like sublimation, embroidery, screen printing, and heat transfer. Specifically for sublimation printing, you need 100% polyester tote bags. Additionally, the bags should be white in color for applying all types of print colors.
How to sublimate tote bags?
- Place the tote bag onto the heat press(swing away or clamshell). Ensure that the handles are outside the press area as they may get crushed while pressing the upper arm.
- Use a lint roller to remove the extra fibers that remain on the surface of the tote bag. If the bag’s surface is wrinkled or creased, press the upper arm of the heat press machine for three to four seconds to smoothen the surface.
- Place the printed transfer paper with graphics, its face down onto the surface of the tote bag while ensuring minor adjustments for proper alignment. Better fix its position using heat-resistant tape.
- Now, cover the entire product with a parchment sheet or protective paper over the top of the product to protect it from direct heat.
- Then press the upper arm of heat press for the recommended time, temperature and pressure.
- After the time is elapsed, lift the upper arm, remove the protective paper while being careful the transfer paper is not removed.
- And the, remove the paper starting from any one of the corners in an upward motion.
- Finally, you are done.
- Time for the press – 50 to 60 seconds
- Recommended temperature – 394F under very firm pressure
Cost of Sublimation Tote Bags:
The final price of tote bags with sublimation printing will cost around $25 to $27. Further, the price may vary according to the base price of sublimation blank and printing costs.
Blank tote bags sellers– Totebagfactory, Sepsgraphics, Dyetrans, bestblanks
Totebag sublimation printer – Epson HD XP-15000, Mitsubishi CP-D70DW, Epson Workforce WF-7710, Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400
06. Custom Metals:
Sublimation printing is applicable on various metal accessories such as keyrings, Car signs, steel flasks, aluminum bottles, ID Badges, Fridge Magnets, Ruler Inserts, Pet Tags, wrought iron frames, Plate Insert, Pendants, and more.
How to sublimate metals?
- While you need a specific setup or frames that come with heat press devices when printing on non-flat surfaces, sublimating a metal or aluminum plate involves simple steps like other items.
- Clean the metal surface and ensure it is dirt and dust-free.
- Place the metal plate onto the transfer paper with the desired graphics.
- Fold the paper along any of the two opposite sides of the metal/aluminum plate and fix it with heat-resistant tape. Ensure proper alignment of the paper to obtain a perfect image.
- Now place the product onto the press machine and cover it with parchment paper or a suitable protective cover.
- Then lower the upper arm of the equipment and press for the recommended time, temperature, and pressure.
- After the time is elapsed, lift the upper arm of the press and carefully remove the sheet to not disturb the transfer paper.
- Then remove the heat-resistant tapes and lift the paper from one of the corners.
- The product is ready.
- Average recommended temperature – 374F under medium to firm pressure
- Time fo press – 50-60 seconds
Cost of sublimation metals:
The price of sublimation patches on metal and aluminum plates starts from $15 to $30. It may vary with the metal dimensions and customer requirements.
Blank metal supplier – Jpplus, Sepsgraphics
Best Sublimation printer for metals – Roland DG Texart RT-640
07. Phone Case:
As per Statista, currently, there are 3.8 billion smartphone users globally, and it would surpass this value in the coming years. People use their smartphones every day, and phone covers are protective and a style statement. Moreover, personalized phone cases have gained great popularity as it gives a sense of personal tastes and preferences.
Moreover, If you are into this business, you may be aware that custom mobile phone cases are as popular as t-shirts. Mobile cases come in various sizes and materials such as metal, plastic, leather, silicone, and wood. And it is quite evident that sublimation printing is suitable for substrates with wood, plastics, glass, metals, neoprene, and polyester materials.
With sublimation, you can print iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones, or other phone covers by pressing unique patterns, custom designs, and high-quality photos. Custom phone cases are not only popular but also highly profit-potential items for print shops and product decorators.
How to sublimate phone cover?
All you need is a computer, printer, transfer paper, phone case(blank), parchment paper, and a heat press. Remember, there is a difference between a blank customizable phone case and a regular phone case available in the market. A blank phone case comes with a sticky back and aluminum Insert, which takes on the print, not the phone case body. In contrast, the regular phone case does not come with the accessories required for this process. If you are clear with this, then let’s start:
- Take a printout of the images on the transfer paper from your computer.
- Place the aluminum insert to line up with the image on your printed paper and use a little bit of heat-resistant tape to secure that position.
- Once you are ready with the setup, bring it to the heat press, which is layered with one parchment sheet and a couple of sheets of paper towel to even the pressure.
- Now, place your transfer face up with the substrate face down.
- Put the other sheet on top.
- Now, place the upper arm of the device and sublimate that under recommended time, temperature, and pressure.
- Once the timer goes off, slowly release the press.
- Take the sheet off and let it cool.
- Now, rip off the little piece of paper covering the adhesive on the backside of the blank phone case. Then, very carefully line up the aluminum insert with the case to stick hard.
- Finally, you are done.
Moreover, we use the same procedure for customizing iPad cases/covers too.
- Recommended temperature – 400F under very light pressure
- Time of press – 45 seconds
Cost of sublimation phone case:
The final price of a custom mobile cover with sublimation print will cost around $20 to $22.
Phone Case blanks suppliers – Innosub USA, Gobalsource, Subliblanks, Coastalbusiness.
Best Sublimation printers for a phone case – Epson SureColor F9470H, Sawgrass SG500, Workforce WF-7210
Facemask has become an essential item for kids, youngsters, and older ones. It covers people of all age groups, so does the scope for a huge market and demand for customized facemasks.
Sublimated masks are completely safe for regular use. It does not release any toxic chemicals as the ink is strongly embedded on the outer surface of the facemask without affecting the inner surface.
How to sublimate Facemasks?
- To sublimate the facemask, you need a blank substrate. Most importantly, the facemask should be completely white. Then you need a lint roller, scissors, Teflon sheets, and transfer paper. Of course, you must have the entire printing setup, i.e., a sublimation printer and a heat press. So let’s start.
- As explained earlier, take the printout of the design on paper.
- Before starting the print job, use a lint roller to remove any excess fibers from the facemask. Do the rolling operation on both sides. Then place the facemask on the top of the sheet and just pre-press for a quick five seconds to remove any crease: wrinkles or excess moisture on the substrate.
- Once you have pre-pressed the mask, use scissors to trim down the paper to align with the print area of the facemask perfectly.
- Carefully align and place the facemask down onto the transfer and secure its position using heat-resistant tape.
- Next, make sure you have a Teflon sheet on the base of the pressing machine and an additional protective paper over it.
- Then place the facemask into the heat press so that the printed transfer is at the top.
- Then lower the upper arm of the heat press for the recommended time, temperature and pressure.
- After the time elapses, remove the printed transfer over the mask.
- Finally, the mask is cool and ready to wear.
- Recommended temperature – 400F under medium pressure
- Time for the press – 60 seconds
Cost of sublimation facemask:
The final price of a custom facemask with sublimation printing will cost around $20 to $22.
Blank facemask sellers– Blankstyle, Jpplus, Heattransferwarehouse
Best Sublimation printer for facemask – Epson SureColor F570
Custom trophies and awards are not new to the market. Trophies and are always personalized to honor the winners for specific events, shows, and games. We know that the standard procedure to customize a metal or crystal trophy is engraving. And, it is quite evident that engraving isn’t a simple and cost-effective procedure for any workshop to perform the job. You must have specialized machines and skills. Although we see great improvements and advancements in engraving, we have simple and affordable alternatives too.
Sublimation printing makes it too easy for trophy shops to print full-color images onto any surface, i.e., wood, metal, and crystal.
How to sublimate trophies/plaques?
The process is too simple:
- Print the selected images onto the transfer paper.
- Before placing the trophy plate onto the printed transfer paper, clean the surface to remove dust and dirt. Ensure the substrate, i.e., trophy plate perfectly aligns with the image on the transfer paper.
- Fold the transfer paper onto the sides of the trophy plate and fix it with heat-resistant tape to prevent displacement.
- Next, place the sponge foam on the lower plate and the protective/newsprint paper on top of it.
- Next, place the item over the setup and cover it with a parchment sheet.
- Then apply the heat press for the recommended time, temperature, and pressure.
- Once the 200 seconds are up, rotate it 90 degrees and press for another 50 seconds.
- After 150 seconds are over, release the heat press machine and move the trophy aside and allow it to cool down for approximately 20 minutes.
- After the trophy plate cools down, immerse in water and remove the sublimation paper.
- Finally, you are done.
- Recommended temperature – 400F under light pressure
- Time for press – 200 + 50 seconds
Cost of sublimation trophy:
The final price of custom Awards, Trophy plates, and plaques with sublimation printing starts from $15 to $200 or more. Moreover, the final printing cost depends upon the type of product, its dimensions, and printing cost.
Blank trophy and plaque vendor– Trophykits, Trophycentral, Hhweb, Bestblanks
Best sublimation printer for trophies, awards, and plaques – Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400
Backpacks are perfect carry bags for everyone; students, professionals, hikers, etc. These are comfortable and super easy to carry items and an essential product for corporates, businesses, and a style statement for youngsters.
Backpacks and lunch packs are similar in nature but vary in size. Moreover, blank backpacks have a bright white fabric front, also called a detachable blank flap. If the blank flap does not detach, you can fold it during heat press.
How to sublimate backpacks?
- You need transfer paper with the printed images, a sticky lint roller, a Teflon sheet, and protective paper for backpacks. The first step is to pre-press the white printable area of the backpack.
- Before that, place a sheet of protective paper on the bottom plate.
- Then place the blank flap carefully so that no other part other than the white is within the pressing area. Otherwise, the remaining areas are likely to melt.
- Use the lint roller to remove fibers and smoothen the surface. Then grab a protective paper on the top to pre-press for 20 seconds with a temperature at 400F under light to medium pressure.
- After 20 seconds, lift the press, remove the protective sheets and one more time apply the lint roller to smoothen the surface.
- Next, place the printed transfer paper onto the white blank flap and align it for perfect placement. Use heat-resistant tape to prevent displacements.
- Then place a Teflon sheet and protective paper onto the top covering the entire area, and apply the heat press for the recommended time, temperature and pressure.
- After the time has elapsed, lift and swing away from the press. Remove the setup and finally lift the transfer paper. The print job is done.
- Recommended temperature – 400F under light to medium pressure
- Time for the press – 75 seconds
Cost of sublimation backpacks:
The final cost of custom backpacks will cost around $100 to $200, i.e., minimum price. It may go high with the product quality and complex images.
Wholesale backpack suppliers – Backpacks USA, Bagsinbulk, Dollardays, Totebagfactory
Best sublimation printer for backpacks – Roland Texart RT-640, Epson Workforce 7710, Brother MFC-J995DW
Other Products for sublimation printing:
Sublimation printing isn’t limited to the 10 products we discussed above. In fact, you may choose from any of the products mentioned below. If you are a print shop, you can also get into this business with the respective compatible items from seller or Amazon to sell online/eCommerce store or at the offline marketplace-
- License plates
- Soft signage
- Wood photo panel
- Greeting/invitation cards
- Pet bowls
- Water bottles
- Wood frames
- Light switch plates
- Towels and so on…
Sublimation printing is the most versatile print method because you can print upon almost all e-commerce merchandise that others can’t.
The major advantage of sublimation printing over screen printing and direct-to-garment printing is that it can print both on soft, hard substrates, which the latter can’t. In contrast, others are best suited for soft substrates like t-shirts, socks, and similar garments.
It provides a huge scope of custom printing services for print shops and product decorators.
1. What is the right pressure to heat press 100% sublimation polyester shirts?
Medium to firm pressure is suitable for sublimating 100% polyester t-shirts using a heat press. If you are using a temperature of 200 degrees for 60 to 70 seconds, you will get a good transfer.
2. How to avoid sheen on polyester?
You can avoid sheen on polyester by lowering the temperature of the heat press. Keep the pressure light to keep the paper flat against the substrate. You can also get a pillow or pad to elevate the print area to avoid seams.
3. Can you sublimate black shirts/fabric with silver color?
No, you cannot sublimate black shirts/fabric with silver, yellow, pink, or green color as it won’t show up. Sublimation ink is opaque and can only dye if it is darker than the fabric. The fabric must be lighter than the colors to at least show-up.
6. Can you sublimate on neoprene?
Sublimation on neoprene is difficult to achieve. Because it is likely to melt, harden on crack while applying heat press. Thus, it is difficult to get an image on it.
4. Can you sublimate labels?
Yes, you can sublimate labels even with smaller text. However, well-known companies opt for screen printed canvas type label as it looks better, more durable, and textured.
5. Can you sublimate on plastic?
6. What is the recommended time and temperature to sublimate plastic?
The recommended temperature for a heat press is 190 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 seconds under light pressure.
7. Can you sublimate on dark objects?
No, you cannot sublimate on dark objects because sublimation ink is transparent. Sublimation printing works best on white or light-colored objects.
8. Does sublimation ink have white?
No, sublimation ink does not have white color. It comes in CMYK colors only.
9. Can you use blowout paper on mug press?
Yes, you can use a blowout paper between the sublimation paper and the mug press to protect the press from picking up a deposit from ink vapor.
10. How to resolve issues converting an Epson printer to sublimation?
You can resolve issues converting an Epson printer to sublimation by replacing all existing ink with sublimation ink of the tank and tubes leading to the print head. For this process, you may need syringes and tubing.
11. Which is the best sublimation ink?
The best sublimation is actually water-based and compatible with the printing equipment.