Tips for Startup Sublimation

Like any other apparel-decorating discipline, sublimation has its own rules and tricks, but they’re not hard to learn. Sublimation actually has less of a learning curve than many other industry technologies. If you can run some sort of graphic software, are familiar with an inkjet printer, and can read and follow instructions, you should be sublimating items in no time. If you’re feeling intimidated, here are some things to remember:

You will mess up—I know, on the surface, this is hardly comforting, but messing up isn’t the end of the world. You will sublimate something upside-down or backwards. You will print on the wrong side of the sublimation paper. It will happen, so make your peace with it, accept that you will waste a bit of time and money, and realize that messing up is how you learn to do better. Don’t expect to be perfect right out of the box.

Find your resources—Many of the companies that sell sublimation ink and supplies have blogs, videos, webinars and other educational materials. The sublimation ink manufacturer has a complete education section on its website complete with webinars and videos that show you how to sell sublimation and how to sublimate various products. Spend some time watching, reading and learning.

Ask questions of your supplier—The company you bought your system from should provide support, so call them and ask questions. If you’re not sure how to do something, ask if someone will walk you through the process. Check your supplier’s website to see what sort of education the company offers. Some companies will offer on-site training or open houses at their facility. You never know what’s available until you ask, so make sure you do.

Ask questions on forums—There are forums centered on decorating that have a section devoted to dye sublimation. Most forums are quite friendly and experienced sublimators are always willing to help newbies. If you have a question or an issue, a forum is a great place to get lots of opinions and feedback.

—Kristine Shreve, EnMart

For a look at small versus wide sublimation, click here.