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Sublimation Training Videos & More

Sublimation Training

You are wanting to get into the sublimation business and the big question is, where do I get sublimation training? It's a very important and obvious question, so this article is designed to help you better understand the business you are getting into, and its potential. Most importantly, what is the best way to get sublimation training.

What is sublimation?

Let's start with the basics, what exactly are we talking about when we say 'sublimation'?

Dye sublimation is a digital printing technology that enables the reproduction of colorful images on common everyday items, including clothing and novelties. Prior to digital printing, reproducing images on these items (t-shirts being a typical example) required fairly involved and labor-intensive analog processes, such as screen printing. Analog printing technology is not cost effective when small quantities are involved, due to the immense amount of time preparing the artwork and the equipment for the production process. Therefore, if all you need is one, or even half a dozen items printed, analog printing is going to be expensive and time consuming.

The modern dye sublimation process is quite simple. You create an image on your computer, print it onto special transfer paper using sublimation inks & a sublimation printer, then apply the paper with the image to the item to be decorated. Using a heat press, the transfer paper is pressed onto the surface at 350-400 degrees F, which then causes the sublimation inks to "transfer" from the paper to any polymer fibers within the substrate. After about a minute, the heat is removed and the transfer paper is peeled off, leaving behind a permanent, full color image on the substrate.

What is Sublimation
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Where do you get the best sublimation training?

When you purchase a sublimation printer from ColDesi, you will get training on how to sublimate. Training includes courses and the ability to contact support agents for free.

Learn more about ColDesi Sublimation.

Now you might still be looking to learn more right now, so here is some basic sublimation training to help you understand all the steps in the process.

What are the sublimation training steps for a t-shirt?

  1. Prepare your artwork with consideration to the size of the t-shirt. The size of your art on your computer should be the same size or larger than what you plan to print.
  2. Print your art on sublimation paper with your sublimation printer.
  3. Place the shirt, face-up, on the heat press. Smooth out folds and wrinkles.
  4. Place the transfer, facedown, in position on the shirt.
  5. Cover the shirt and transfer with a Teflon sheet while ensuring that the transfer and shirt remain in position.
  6. Press with medium pressure at 380-400 degrees F for 50-60 seconds.
  7. When the pressing time is up remove the transfer sheet as smoothly and quickly as possible (this is to avoid creating a 'shadow' image)
  8. Remove the shirt from the press.
  9. Allow to cool on a clean surface.

  • Use a Foam Kit to prevent lines from the heat press
  • Use a high-quality heat press. A cheap heat press of poor quality will yield poor results.
  • Wait 24 hours before washing shirts, this helps the design set better.

What are items besides t-shirts that are popular to sublimate?

  • Mugs
  • Mouse pads
  • Puzzles
  • Tiles
  • Can Coolers
  • Tote bags

The ideas for sublimation are endless, so be sure to keep up to date with available blanks.

Sublimating Training for Hard Poly Fiber Substrates

Temperature: 400°F (195-200°C)

Time: 55-75 Seconds

Pressure: Medium

Examples of hard poly fiber substrates also known as FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) are: awards, plaques, coasters, signage, name badges, license plates, etc.
These items may be composed of material such as wood, which is ok as long as the surface is composed of a polymer-based plastic that is designed specifically for sublimation.

  1. Prepare your artwork and printed transfer with consideration to the size and shape of the specific product.
  2. It is good practice to print the artwork slightly larger than the finished product (1/8" or 3mm works well).
  3. Don't forget to remove the protective plastic covering. Many of these products have a thin plastic covering, but not all do.
  4. Place the substrate onto the transfer paper prior to taping into place as it is much easier to align the product to the image. If the image is not full bleed (i.e. a motif in the center on a white background) then it is advisable to draw a boundary slightly larger than the finished product with the motif in the correct position within the boundary.
  5. Using heat resistant tape, fasten the substrate in position facing the printed side of the transfer. (Notice how the image is slightly larger than the substrate)
  6. Spread a Teflon sheet on the bottom of the press.
  7. Turn the objects over so the transfer paper is on top (facedown) and place on the heat press.
  8. Cover substrate and transfer paper with Teflon sheet. This avoids any ink gassing onto the top platen of the press (which will then transfer onto any following items).
  9. Press the items for the correct time. This will depend on the product but small items are usually just under one minute and larger pieces (like the one shown here) could be 65-70 seconds. When the pressing time is up remove the transfer sheet as smoothly and quickly as possible (this is to avoid creating a 'shadow' image)


  • If you are using double sided items, be sure to allow the plastic to cool to room temperature before pressing to the second side.
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Here are some great sublimation training tips:

  • If you are planning to do an 'all over print,' which completely covers your substrate, print your images approximately 1/4" larger than the size of the substrate. This allows a margin of error when aligning everything under the heat press.
  • Save templates in your art software substrates that you will be creating over and over again such as tiles and mouse pads.
  • Use the recommended paper and substrates for sublimation transfers. Don't try to take cheap short cuts.
  • Moisture and humidity will cause undesirable results (color shifts, bleeding and uneven transfers) with the sublimation process. To avoid these problems, keep your paper or fabric in a dry place.
  • If you suspect moisture, try these techniques:
    • Place paper on the raised pedestal bottom of the press and let it dry under the heat platen. Don't close the heat platen!
    • Pre press fabric for 10 seconds before transferring.
  • It is important to protect the rubber pad that is attached to the lower section of the heat press. The same is true for the rubber pad found in a mug press. Covering the pad with a protective sheet of paper or a Teflon sheet will prevent sublimation ink from being absorbed into it.
  • After transferring the image to the substrate, promptly remove the transfer paper. Do not stack the transferred items with anything else until they have completely cooled. Any paper residue left on the substrate after transferring can be removed with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Recommended time, temperature and pressure settings are useful starting points. You may need to experiment with slight variations of each setting to fine tune the process. However, large variations of any setting could lead to poor quality imaging.
  • To repeat the above. If you see time and temperature settings, these might need to be altered. Things like environmental conditions or exact materials of your substrate can effect results.

There are so many things to learn about sublimation when you get training, but as you can see from the above, its all relatively the same process. First you print with a sublimation printer on sublimation paper, then use a heat press to apply it to your sublimatable item.

Learn more about sublimation with ColDesi