Tips and Tricks for Solving the Most Common Sublimation Mistakes

Some mistakes are easy to make. Learn what causes these issues and how to fix them.

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There are several common mistakes that are easy to make in the sublimation process. Learn more about what causes these issues, as well as a few tips to correct them:

Ghosting: Ghosting is a double image on products that happens once the paper shifts after the image has already started transferring. To prevent this, make sure you properly adhere the transfer to the product using heat tape. Also keep in mind that any shift will cause a shadow if the product is still hot as the image continues to transfer. Don’t move the paper while it is still hot.

Protective film: Sublimators often try to press a product with the protective film still attached. If you try to transfer an image through the film and onto the product, this will cause bubbling, which leaves a textured-like feel or look, or causes the protective paper to adhere to the product. Not all products have this coating. The best way to discover whether a product has the coating or not is to carefully hold it under the heat press-the film should wrinkle and will be easier to remove.

Printing on the wrong side: You know that the image was printed on the wrong side of the paper if there is a static or a white-noise-type look after sublimation. There are several ways to prevent this:

  • Understand which side of the paper is supposed to be printed on;
  • Understand which way it is supposed to go in the printer;
  • Keep in mind that SPP papers go bright-side-forward in the bypass tray and bright-side-down in the bottom tray.

Clouding: Clouding happens when moisture escapes out of the coating or from the product itself, causing an interference with the sublimation process. To prevent this, be aware of which products need to be pre-pressed and for how long. Be sure to let the product cool after pre-pressing.

Lift your press: The way you lift your press doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference, but it could actually be causing your paper to shift if you aren’t doing it correctly. Lifting your press should be done in two motions-one to “unlock” the press and next to lift the press smoothly. This helps reduce paper shifting.

Create a wall of shame: Consider making a “wall of shame” in your workshop area full of product mistakes from the past. This is a great way to keep yourself from making the same mistake twice.

-David Gross, Condé Systems

David Gross

David Gross

David Gross is president of Condé Systems Inc., of Mobile, Ala. For the past 24 years, he has devoted his work to advancing sublimation technology.

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