At Ink Rocks, aka Mugsie, we’re all about sublimation … and our products and capabilities are truly sublime. Although the root word is similar, sublimation is a bit different than something described as being of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe. While we’re convinced our products and service are truly sublime, when we talk about sublimation, we’re referring to the chemical process where a solid changes directly into a vapor when heated—without becoming a liquid—and returns directly to a solid once it cools.
Sublimation printing requires heat and pressure to transfer ink to an item properly, and it is not the same as other forms of printing, e.g., screen printing, lithography, etc. What makes sublimation different is the artwork isn’t printed on the object, it’s printed IN the object.
Our dye sublimation process takes five steps, as follows:
- Create an image—either a photo or artwork—using graphics software. In our case we generally use Photoshop for this step.
- If desired, we can then customize the artwork/photo with a name or a personalized photo of the person ordering the item.
- We then print the image in reverse onto special sublimation heat transfer paper using specialized inks or dyes.
- Finally, we use heat & pressure to transfer the image to the substrate which, in our case, would be a polyester coated mug or a poly-cotton t-shirt or onesie. The process works equally well with clothing, flags, glass, or ceramic tile. The heat changes the ink into a gas allowing it to permanently penetrate the surface of the item being decorated, like the process used for tattoos.
- Our final step is to package the product and ship it out to our customers.
This process ensures that the artwork will remain bright and colorful (if it was to begin with) for years to come, even with heavy use and multiple trips through the dishwasher. This will be especially true if you put your mugs on the top rack, away from the heating elements. Regardless, since sublimation printing prints directly into (not onto) the mug or article of clothing, the design will last much longer than if it were merely layered onto the item’s surface.
Whatever the design or artwork you are interested in having printed, it’s important to use the highest quality tools and supplies, e.g. printers, ink, paper, heat-resistant tape and, finally, polyester-coated mugs and clothing designed especially for the sublimation process. At Mugsie we are fully committed to providing you with the highest quality possible, whether you purchase mugs, paper, or tape from us to print with yourself, or if you want us to do the printing for you. We always strive to provide you with the best available. Want to learn more? Contact us with your question or requirements. We’ll do our best to satisfy your every need and desire.
Mugsie for all things sublimation. Create Something Unique every day.