THE ART OF INKJET SUBLIMATION
A brief description of what sublimation is all about, is given in our "about us" page
Quite a number of people take the plunge into purchasing the printer, mug press and various other equipment with the intent of starting a new business, hobby, or as a sideline for an extra income.
Again, many of these individuals, especially on the African continent, have little or no experience of computers, image manipulation software or procedures and, consequently lose interest just to eventually abandon the
The tutorials are really aimed at these absolute novices. By means of step by step instructions and pictures to illustrate some basic procedures, we hope to start you on your way to a creative new hobby or lucrative business venture.
After a number of years one would often go on "automatic pilot" and give very little thought to minor steps in the image preparation procedure. This is where we would appreciate comment and feedback from other mug printers.
TO START WITH, YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING:
1.) An EPSON inkjet printer. As these models change continuously and Sublimation ink cartridges or continuous inking systems may not be available for certain models, we suggest you contact us.
2.) As mentioned, you will need a set of Sublimation ink cartridges
to replace the standard ink cartridges. Although this requires an additional outlay, a continuous ink supply system (CISS) , is the most economical in the long run and drastically reduces your cost per transfer. These however can be a bit problematic and are now being replaced by refillable cartridges. Bulk inks are available from us in either 50 ml. or 100 ml. bottles in the CMYK colours as well as Light Cyan and Light Magenta and also Red and Blue for some printers based on an 8 ink system.
3,) You will also need a specially coated paper that will ensure you transfer most of the inks onto your mug or substrate. The paper is available in A3 and A4 sizes, depending on your printer and end-requirements.
4.) A mug press, available from various suppliers. Again, if in doubt contact us, we stock a number of high quality presses and supply detailed instructions for use.
5.) A roll of special heat proof tape to fix the image to the mug for transfer purposes.
6.) A paper cutter (guillotine or rotary blade trimmer), although not essential, will certainly make it easier to trim your transfers to required size. Also keep a pair of scissors handy, a plastic bucket with water to cool the mug after transfer, and a towel.
7.) A supply of sublimation-coated mugs. These polymer-coated mugs in conjunction with the special inks, are what makes the process possible. Mugs are available as white, two-tone, (white outside and coloured inside), Stainless Steel thermo-mugs, Beer Steins, the colour-change or so-called "Magic Mugs", the SlimLine Mug and the Mini or Toddler mug. New products are constantly becoming available.
8.) Last but far from least is an image manipulation program in order to resize and resample images from your camera, scanner, hard drive or CD's. The images from modern digital cameras are often quite suitable to print directly but, often an image may have to becorrected in a software program as they could be too light or too dark, slightly blurry or out of focus or exhibit colour shifts.
We would recommend CorelDraw (PhotoPaint) or Adobe's Photoshop in order to make these corrections. Both programs are excellent but, for purposes of our tuition, we opted for CorelDraw as some novices find this program more user-friendly. Our custom designed templates are also in CorelDraw making it easy to shuttle between PhotoPaint as your image enhancement program, and the printer-ready layouts in Draw with text, clipart etc..
If your main interest lies in creating T Shirts, Tiles, Cushions or other textiles, you will need a flat bed press. These come in sizes from A4 up to 400 x 500 mm. and even larger.
The most popular all-round size for shirts would be approximately an A3. The illustrations below depict a very affordable 380 x 380 mm. Clamshell press and a Swing press.
GETTING DOWN TO IT.