Growing Your Product Range with Sublimation Printing

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The print on demand market is evolving, so companies must continually work to attract new global suppliers to meet changing needs. Shoppers expect a steady stream of new products (like natural and organic clothing) and emotions (sustainable brands). The same generation Z, who, thanks to TikTok, became a kind of fashion ambassador, prefers unique and authentic things. For example, patterns and ornaments made across the entire surface of things are considered the best summer print. Therefore, it’s worth expanding the boundaries of cooperation and choosing several suppliers offering popular printing services to be in trend. 

One of the most profitable areas of digital printing is all-over printing or sublimation. It’s the process of transferring a design onto the fabric using heat. This method has become so popular that the market is expected to grow to $14.57 billion by 2023. It allows all garments to be printed, in contrast to DTG, which has a smaller working area. 

Introducing new products will help develop your online store and attract the audience's attention with its bright, persistent colors and fashionable capabilities. Let's discuss in more detail the principles of work, advantages, trends, and what do you need for sublimation printing. 

Table of contents

What is sublimation printing and how does it work?

How can you benefit from it?

The area of use

Conclusion

Sublimation printing is a technique that allows you to embed your design into the material of the selected product rather than overprinting it. If we talk about fabric, it’s only suitable for canvases where there is a synthetic component - with intense heating (350–400 ºF) and pressure, the material's structure becomes friable, and the ink penetrates the material the pores.

Note: for the pattern to hold tight, printing on textiles containing at least 60% polyester is worth printing. If you’re a sustainable brand and sell natural products, don't be upset - you can cover the surface with a special primer. Otherwise, the paint will quickly come off after 1-2 washes. An excellent example of printing design sublimation is on umbrellas - they withstand increased moisture and aren’t susceptible to mechanical damage.

Sublimation printing business directly depends on your supplier's equipment: please note that such printers are produced by well-known companies such as Canon, Mimaki, Mitsubishi, HP, Epson. Therefore, when discussing the terms of cooperation with the supplier, specify the brand and year of the equipment, respectively; the newer it is, the more progressive printing can reproduce. In addition, it’s worth considering the color gamut of the image. The colorants will differ depending on the material used. 

Note! It’s impossible to sublimate white.

How to create your own sublimation design? Of course, use inks! Lomond inks produce brighter colors than InkTec; Durafos enhances the green gamut. In turn, the Lomond carrier will cope better with ceramics, but IST is perfect for canvases. Essentially, ink selection, material matching, and sample printing testing are part of the business process.

An understanding of sublimation printing processes makes many entrepreneurs suffer from losing control over them. Therefore, our developers have specially created one of the best print on demand PodZa frameworks for three business models, including POD, dropshipping, and W&F (warehousing and fulfillment). Its distinctive feature is the automation and management of operations, the execution of which can be easily tracked by setting up reporting.

podza product

If the product on which you want to embody the designs ideas of some non-standard shape, then heat presses designed for such printing are used:

  • Flat ones are suitable for T-shirts, any textiles, ceramic and glass tiles, and even metal. 
  • Mugs and plates are also processed on a special ceramic press. So the heating temperature is relatively high, and there is a probability that the product will burst in the loading shaft; thus, it’s heated at the beginning.
  • Baseball caps and any other hats usually have tiny graphics and logos, so an appropriate printer is best for them as well.

Note! The design may shift 2 inches during the sublimation process. Therefore, we don’t recommend using products where the exact placement of the image is required.

Top 30+ Print-on-Demand Product Ideas for 2021

Durability

Since sublimation ink penetrates deep into the canvas, it doesn’t fade or flake for years. When wondering how to create your own sublimation design so that the digital version fully matches the printed one, read here.

Precise and clear printing

One of the benefits of sublimation printing is complex graphics with a wide color gamut. Of course, provided that the design is correct. For information on creating your sublimation design and choosing colors so that the digital version fully matches the printed one, read here.

Lack of toxic substances 

Many manufacturing processes include the stage of flushing the molds with toxic agents. Therefore, if you’re positioning your brand as sustainable, then use sublimation printing. It’s much more environmentally friendly than the same silkscreen or pattern printing.

Is sublimation business profitable?

Fashion and demand are constantly changing as segments of the target audience get older every year. Sublimation printing has a wide local demographic for sale: e.g., schools, local churches and businesses, photographers, consignment shops, etc. They all need personalized items, and often their purchase may depend on the season. But by implementing local SEO in your online store, you’ll be able to receive more orders.

sublimation printing business

Where to Find Images for Your Print on Demand Merch?

When choosing among many sublimation printing services, it’s worthwhile to understand what types of printing they can do - someone prints exclusively on fabric or coffee mugs, and someone is ready to take on everything. Let's look at the textile industry; e.g., it’s often divided into finished products and those intended for cutting and sewing. Items such as towels, blankets, and socks may be ready to go into the all-over process. Sublimation printing shirts and accessories, on the other hand, are first printed and then stitched together. If the manufacturer incorrectly performs such a simple sequence, then puffs, white stripes appear on the finished products, and the areas around the seams will be bent and not sublimated.

Sublimation design ideas are easy to implement on almost any product made in a wide variety of styles - for instance, crew necks, tank tops, and crop tees. 

What about sportswear, streetwear, or leisure goods? Of course, most of these products are made on a synthetic basis (polyester and spandex), but many manufacturers can also do sublimation printing on cotton products. From leggings to swimwear, you can bring any idea to life. Such products are incredibly comfortable to wear and pleasant to the touch. Bright colors - why not! 

All-over printing is trendy in everyday or niche fashion thanks to its bright and long-lasting colors and fashionable possibilities. At the same time, it’s a very profitable option for an entrepreneur: a print on demand business involves a quick start with minimal investment. 

Based on the materials you’re going to print (including environmentally friendly), you can determine your choice on one or another manufacturer. Of course, for the digital design to fully correspond to the printed one, it’s worth taking more than responsibility because the consequences of mistakes are inevitable. But despite this, you cannot worry that your image is fuzzy - deep staining of fabric or any other material will provide an almost eternal print with perfect precision.

PODAugust 2, 2021
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