To The Drawing Board!
If you love to draw (or have little ones that do!) sublimation inks are a fun way to create unique art. Not familiar with sublimation? It’s a method where you use heat to transfer ink (either from pens or printed material) INTO a synthetic material. So it’s not like heat transfer vinyl, which is applied ONTO a material – this is instead an ink that is absorbed INTO the material.
Below is all you need to get you started.
* Printer/copy paper
* Siser® Sublimation Markers
* Siser® Heat Resistant Tape
* Baking paper
* Your material of choice to put your design onto
* Siser® Cutting Mat
* Siser® Juliet™ or Romeo™
* Siser® Heat Press or an iron
Siser® Sublimation Markers are best stored on their side, because if you store them upright, their tips will dry out, and if you store them down, the tips will become oversaturated. However, it’s best to put them tip down for about 15 minutes before you’re ready to use them.
When your markers are ready to go, remove the blade housing from your Siser® Juliet™ or Romeo™ machine and swap it out for the marker adapter. A handy tip for installing it is to put your finger under the tool housing until the bottom of the marker adapter is flush with the tool housing, and then tighten the screw.
The great thing about sublimation markers is that you don’t need to draw on specialty paper – all you need is plain copy paper. Simply load it into your machine on a Siser® Cutting Mat and you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to mirror your design, because the paper will be flipped when it comes time to apply it!
Once the design is drawn on your machine, choose whether or not you want to colour it in by hand. The markers in the Primary and Pastel packs have a chiselled tip, which is great for colouring either a small or a large area, because you can use the tip or the edge. And while most colours will come across as very dark at this stage, they’ll looked completely different and much lighter once applied.
Sublimation ink needs a synthetic material to adhere to, so if you’re applying your design to a material or fabric, it will need to be at least a 50% polyester blend or else it will wash straight out. And remember that this is ink, so whatever you’re applying it to will need to be either white or a light colour. Think writing with a pen on paper – a blue ballpoint pen wouldn’t show up if you tried to write on black paper.
With it all coloured in, it’s time to apply the design face down onto your material.
Sublimation works by using heat to transform the ink into a gas which is then absorbed into the fabric. For that reason, the design needs to be securely in place, otherwise the inks could shift while in gas form, so use Siser® Heat Resistant Tape to secure it to your material.
You’ll also want to place some thick card underneath the material so that the ink doesn’t transfer through your top layer. Put a sheet of baking paper over your design (and not a non stick silicone sheet) because sublimation inks are absorbed into synthetic materials and you don’t want them to transfer onto the base of your iron or your silicone sheet.
Your heat settings will vary depending on if you’re applying your design to a soft material or a hard one, so check online before you start.
If you’re using an iron, it’s best to apply pressure straight down, and not move the iron around, otherwise you can cause the inks to shift. If you need to move at all, gently release pressure, lift straight up, then apply the iron straight down again.
Once enough heat has been applied, sublimation designs should be removed whilst hot, so very carefully peel it away from your material. And you’re all done!
Sublimation markers are such a fun way to create lasting art, whether it be something you wear or something you put on your fridge.