Russell HD T Sublimation Guide

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1 Russell HD T Sublimation Guide *10 Colours available from the 1 st September 2014

2 Contents 1. What is sublimation? 2. Benefits of Sublimation 3. Debunking the myths 4. Equipment 5. Images 6. How to sublimate? 7. Troubleshooting

3 1. WHAT IS SUBLIMATION? Sublimation is a simple but effective form of digital printing, used for printing high quality images and graphics onto polymer surfaces. It can be used to print onto promotional items such as mouse mats and mugs, and in the case of textiles, t-shirts with a high polyester content. What makes sublimation unique is the chemical process. Sublimation inks are actually dyes, which only bond with polyester fibres. When the dye is heated during pressing, two important things happen: the dye turns from a solid straight into a gas, and the polyester fibres in the garment open up. The sublimation ink then permeates the fibres, instead of sitting on the surface like other transfer methods. When the heat is removed, the fibres close back up and permanently retain the sublimation dye. The end result is a picture-perfect image that is embedded into the fabric so you can t actually feel that it s there. With sublimation, you can print a t-shirt in 2 minutes or less by following these 3 steps: Think! Use your imagination, get creative or use an existing image/artwork why not take a look at our Pinterest board for some inspiration. Create! Open your image/artwork in a graphics program for editing and printing Print! Transfer your image onto a T-shirt using the specified sublimation accessories detailed in this guide and a heat press. 2. BENEFITS OF SUBLIMATION Image is permanently dyed into the fibres of the fabric It will not fade, crack or wash out It has minimal time, labour and set up costs Equipment needed can be purchased for under 1000 You can produce and edit an image in a standard computer program You can use virtually unlimited shades of colour and print in seconds It s a constantly expanding market due to social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest

4 3. DEBUNKING TWO COMMON MYTHS There are 2 common myths about sublimation: 1. Sublimation only works on white 2. Printing only works on 100% polyester Neither is true. 1. White might be best for colour reproduction but it s not the only option we offer 9 marl colours and they produce a fashionably muted, retro feel, just what a large chunk of the market demands. The trick is to find a suitable design that works with the colour of the fabric. The important thing to remember is that this is not truly an ink, it is a DYE that re-colours the fibres it is attached to. You cannot dye a dark garment a light colour; you would first have to bleach it. In addition, the sublimation dyes are semi-transparent, which means that the background colour will always affect how the dye looks in the end. This is the same with any lightweight ink or dye. For example, print a full-colour image on a white piece of paper. Now print it onto a yellow piece of paper. The background colour of the paper will affect how the print looks, and it is the same principal for sublimation. So for sublimating onto coloured fabrics, the design should be a significantly darker shade than the fabric. Black or tonal solid colours work well. If you want to add some colour, choose the right design. Remember that any white areas in the image will not be transferred onto the fabric and will appear the same colour as the garment. Example of sublimation on coloured t-shirts

5 If you really wanted a coloured T-shirt with a lighter print, you could use all-over printing. Say you wanted a black T-shirt with a white print. Here you would use a print large enough to cover the whole garment (you would need a wide format industrial printer and heat press). The background colour of the print would be black, and the design would be white. Printing this onto a white t-shirt, you would essentially be re-colouring the garment with black while adding the design. Examples of all over sublimation 2. You cannot sublimate onto cotton because the dye particles are designed to bond with polyester, and ignore everything else. The higher the polyester content in the material, the more dye will bond to it, and the brighter the final image will be. That doesn t mean to say that you cannot use blended fabrics our HD T is a 65% Polyester/35% Cotton blend and the results speak for themselves. However the lower the polyester content is, the more muted the print will look it will not have the same vibrancy as a 100% polyester garment. 4. EQUIPMENT

6 The sublimation process works with selected inkjet printers. Not all inkjet printers will work only models that do not use heat to print will have sublimation capabilities. The most popular models are manufactured by Epson and Ricoh. Various sizes are available, from A4 right up to full garment size. Sublimation ready printers will usually come with colour-correcting software, which helps make the printed image as close a match to the screen image as possible. The software will also automatically flip the image, as the image must be mirrored for heat pressing. Special sublimation inks and paper must be used: Heat presses come in various sizes, and must maintain constant degree temperatures.

7 5. IMAGES As with any printing process, to produce high quality results you must start with a high quality image. No matter how good your sublimation printer is, it will never be able to output an image that is higher in quality than the initial image. GARBAGE IN = GARBAGE OUT!!! No special software is required to create images for sublimation any standard graphics software will do. If you can open up a photo on your computer and print it out, then you can sublimate it. For creating artwork from scratch, or for editing artwork and photos before printing, you may need to use a standard graphics program such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop or CorelDraw. There are 2 basic types of image formats: raster and vector. The type of format will determine how and what can be edited within the image. A raster (or bitmap) image is made up of pixels or points of colour, for example a photograph. Most pictures taken with a digital camera or found online are examples of raster graphics. Be sure to start with an image that is a decent size and resolution, as these elements are fixed. As a rule of thumb, you can make a large image smaller without losing quality, but increasing a small image will make it become blurry and lose clarity. Common raster files are JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, PSD and PNG Vector graphics, unlike raster images, are comprised of paths and points. These paths can be used to create simple drawings (e.g. company logos) or complex diagrams, and can be scaled to a larger size without losing image quality. Common types of vector files are AI, SVG, DRW, CDR and EPS.

8 6. HOW TO SUBLIMATE There are 3 key elements in the sublimation process: 1. Time 2. Temperature 3. Pressure Sublimation is not an exact science, and the above will vary depending on the garment and the equipment you are using. Use the guidelines from your dealer as a starting point, and experiment to find out what works best. A very general guideline for our HD T would be 50 seconds at 180 degrees, using light to medium pressure (approx bar).

9 1. Prepare your artwork and print onto sublimation paper 5. Press with light to medium pressure for seconds. 2. Set the temperature of your heat press to degrees and between seconds. Spread a Teflon sheet on the bottom of the press 6. When the pressing time is up, the heat press will beep. Remove the transfer sheet as quickly and smoothly as possible. 3. Place the T-shirt face up onto the press and smooth out any folds 7. Remove the shirt from the press and allow to cool. 4. Lay the transfer on top of the t- shirt, face down. Put a second Teflon sheet on top.

10 7. TROUBLESHOOTING Some common problems are as follows: Blue Specks: Sometimes tiny stray fibres from the manufacturing process are left on the surface of the t-shirt. They are almost invisible to the naked eye, but once heated during pressing they turn into permanent blue specks on the garment s surface. The solution is quite simple run a lint roller over the T-shirt before putting into the heat press. For our HD T you only need to do this for the White and lighter coloured ones. Fabric changing colour: White fabric may turn yellow and coloured marl fabric sometimes changes shade. This can be avoided - for white reduce the temp by 10 degrees and reduce the pressure a little as sometimes heat press aren't always perfectly calibrated. The change in colour on the marl colour will disappear when the fabric cools down after printing, again this can be avoided by reducing the time and/or pressure. Image Bleeding/ Faded Colours: One reason that these problems may occur is that there is excess moisture in the fabric. Moisture can be absorbed into the fabric from the atmosphere. To eliminate this, pre-press the T-shirt for 5-10 seconds before pressing the image on. This will remove the moisture from the fabric. Ghosting : this is when the print comes out blurry, typically around the edges. This is caused by the transfer paper shifting on the shirt s surface when the heat press is opened the movement causes the print to blur. The solution is to either tape the print in place using heat resistant tape, or use a special spray adhesive on the transfer prior to applying it to the shirt.

11 Transfer lines: Transfer lines are razor thin lines embedded in the garment, where the edges of the transfer paper have made contact with the fabric s surface (using a square outline). There are a few things that can be done to prevent this happening: *** NOTE: for the Russell HD Tee, the back neck sticker must be removed before printing and can be stuck back after printing!!! Tear the paper around the design, to soften the edges Use lighter pressure. Light to medium pressure is recommended. (You may need to adjust the time to balance this out) Press again once you have removed the transfer, to press out any lines If this doesn t work, use heat resistant foam/ Teflon pads.

12 The information here is intended as a guide only. ***The information in this booklet was supplied by Sawgrass Europe, a leading provider of digital printing technologies (sublimation inks, colour management software etc.). For more information visit: *** *** Our equipment was supplied by The Magic Touch, who stock printers, heat presses, paper, inks, etc. ***

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