Starting Sublimation on a Budget
Edited on January 20, 2021.
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If you are reading this you are here to find out how to start sublimating for a reasonable price, right?
Below I will list (with affiliate links*) all that you need to get started sublimating, right away! All for about $500, now doesn't that sound fabulous?!
This blog post includes affiliate links. What does this mean? It means you will pay no more but I will get a small percentage for the referral.
First of all you will need a printer. I have an Epson WF-7710. (edited on January 20, 2021) The price of this has gone up on this printer since this blog post was originally written.
The name Epson has come up many times when referring to a startup/budget sublimation printer for me this is why I have chosen this route.
Note: It is best to start fresh using a printer that has never been used for regular ink-jet printing.
#2 Continuous Ink System
Next I find it is best to have a continuous ink system. I have a CISS from Ink xPro, not only are their products amazing, their customer service is top notch! This system will allow you to to easily change ink and not have to change it often!
Again I go with Ink xPro Sublimation Ink for my ink.
This ink is not like regular ink it is a special ink that when combined with heat it will transform and adhere itself to a substrate.
Sublimation paper is very important. You can't use regular ink-jet paper, you will need a paper that is designed specifically for sublimation printing.
TexPrint is a great brand 110 8.5x11 sheets in this pack.
The Epson WF 7710 prints up to 13"x19"... oh the options!!
Okay so now you have the printer, ink, & paper... you will now need heat!
A heat press is a must when sublimating. It will allow your print to have even pressure and print, which is very important to get a great transfer.
There are multiple Press options. I will list just two for you. You can find a decent Press for anywhere between $100-200. (Great thing is they can be used for vinyl too and the occasional ironing of clothes, lol)
Already have a heat press for HTV? There is no reason to get a new one, just so long it heats up and has pressure you are good to go!
A. Large 15x15 Clam Shell Press.
Great for T-shirt Graphics, Mousepads, Can Coolers, bags, etc.
The clamshell takes up a smaller footprint and is very easy to open and close.
B. Small Swing Away Press-
Great for small t-shirts, baby bodysuits, Can Coolers, puzzles, etc.
The swing away needs a bit more room to allow the swing but is still just as easy to open and close. (Might actually be easier than the clam shell)
#6 Thermal Tape
I could not live without Thermal Tape! This tape will keep your transfer in place to prevent ghosting. (Ghosting is the blurred look of the print when the transfer shifts).
This is unlike other regular tape because it will not leave an adhesive reside behind. Now isn't that swell.
Last but not least you will need blanks. When looking for blanks make sure they are 100% polyester or polyester coated items. You can find an array of items that can be sublimated! Some great places to purchase blanks are Coastal Business Supply, Conde, and JDS.
Just to name a few:
I hope this helps you get started with sublimation on a budget... any questions or comments, leave them below.