What tools and supplies are needed for sublimation and HTV application?

Sublimation has taken the country by storm. We see dye-sub trends everywhere, from socks to T-shirts to leggings and keychains-decorators are using sublimation to create home décor items and even headwear.

Common knowledge is that you need your sublimation printer, sublimation inks, commercial heat press, and your blank substrates to dive into the sublimation market, but what are those odds and ends you’ll need that you may not know exist?

Below are some items you should ensure are included in your sublimation start-up package that will help make your sublimation printing jobs stress free!

  • Teflon sheets/Silicone sheets: While these items work in similar ways, the Teflon sheet will be something that you can reuse over and over many times. The silicone sheets, however, will need to be thrown out after a couple of uses. Then you’ll need to start over with a new sheet. Teflon sheets also come with elastic corners, allowing them to fit tightly onto your heat press platen. Both of these items are used to keep your heat press squeaky clean and free from sublimation inks that can be a headache to clean up.
  • Thermal tape/adhesive sprays: These items also work much the same. Keep in mind, though, that items work better with the spray and some items work better with the tapes. You may also find that you develop a preference for one over the other, so use whichever works best for you and your production team. By attaching your sublimation paper to the substrate with one of these items, it will help keep the paper from seeing any movement. If your paper should move when opening and closing that press platen, it can cause ghosting issues with your image.
  • Foam pillows: Ever had an issue with seeing that nasty press box on your garment after heating? You can eliminate that box by using some foam pressing pillows. Simply stick one inside the garment before pressing, and this will help raise the garment up a little and absorb some of the heat for you, allowing some eradication of that heat box. Keep in mind that some garments have dyes in the fabric that encourage the presence of that box, no matter what you do. You will see this mainly with athletic apparel and performance-type materials. You can also use these pillows to help with pressing around buttons, zippers, and pockets. By using the pillow inside the pockets, around the zippers, or button areas, it will allow you to press without the seams causing an issue.
  • Heat resistant gloves: These three words should really say it all. Save your fingers, use gloves. They come in handy especially when handling hard surface items, such as metal. It can be pretty hot after being pressed at 400 degrees F.

—Coastal Business Supplies

Allee Bruce

Alexandria Bruce

Alexandria Bruce is the former managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine.

View all articles by Alexandria Bruce  

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