Creating a Workflow.

The importance of a good work flow:

Sublimation may seem like a complicated process, but once you have sublimated your first few items everything gets a lot easier. Sublimation blanks are generally the same size per product, so once you have your design template all set up you can just import your image into your design program time and time again with ease.

Time is money, as they say.. so you want to make sure you have a good workflow in place to make the most of the products you are making.

Our sublimation blanks are set sizes, so you can be assured of a consistent and accurately sized product each time you order.

Step by Step method for sublimation printing:

#1 Creating your design:

You can approach this in a few ways, either custom images or images you have decided you want to sell from your own image library.

Custom printing  This method is where the customer sends you their own image for you to print. Whilst it seems an easier option there are factors to consider. Possibly more processing time involved sizing the image and confirming the final design with the customer. Not to mention poor quality images to consider. It does however give great results and lasting memories for your customer.

Pre-designed images  If you have a natural flair for design then it makes sense to design something eye catching and unique to attract customers. The benefits of this are that the same design could sell multiple times, meaning a reduction in the processing time. Quality control is another element to consider, it’s much easier to control the output quality if you have designed the file from the start.

#2 Printing the design:

Before starting, you need to make sure you have a sublimation suitable product. Sublimation printing uses ink that contains dye particles. These dye particles bond easily with polymers, for example polyester type clothing. The more dye that bonds on the surface the sharper and more vibrant the final result will be.

Our products are either naturally suitable receptors for dye sublimation ink, or they are supplied with a polyester coating embeded into the print surface to enable superb image resolution after pressing. The quality of the surface dictates how the final product will look, so it’s a key part of the process to have a reliable and consistent product.

By being able to coat a product it enables a large range of suitable products to be printed including glass, ceramic and metals.

It’s best to make your item at least 300 dpi for high resolution images, and for desktop printers 1200 x 1200 dpi is usually possible.

Sublimation Ink – To print sublimation items you need a printer that is equipped with sublimation ink. This usually consists of the four main colours of ink (CMYK) Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The process cannot be done using a regular printer. Most sublimation printers start from £400 for an A4 size and up to £5,000 for a large format printer.

Sublimation Paper – Similar to the ink, you will need a supply of sublimation paper. The sublimation paper will be the link between your heat press and the sublimation blank you are using. The quality of the paper is key to obtaining the best results possible. Poor quality paper can result in poor image results so we always recommend testing a few papers and seeing which you like the results of best.

#3 Heat pressing:

So finally the time has come to print your design onto the product. But, before you do, there are some important factors to consider when it comes to the heat press.

  1. Time
  2. Temperature
  3. Pressure


Time –  Each sublimation blank item has custom setting for how long you need to heat press it. For optimal results, you should always follow the guidance given to you. Items such as coasters and mouse mats take around 50 seconds, mugs can be up to 180 seconds, and ceramic tiles up to an astonishing 12 minutes!

So as you can see, time is a crucial factor in achieving the best results.

If your image is blurry and dull it’s likely it needs more time in the heat press, whereas if the black ink turns brown it has been ‘over cooked’ and needs less time.

Temperature – Most sublimation blanks can be pressed at a similar temperature in a clam or swing away heat press, making it simple to produce a variety of items all with one setting.

As with all products, it’s best to start with the manufacturer recommended temperature to avoid damage to the product or your heat press. If in doubt, check the specifications before proceeding.

Pressure – Most sublimation blanks will come with a pressure setting, usually medium to light pressure. There is no need to set the heat press too tightly as it will just make the process much harder and could possibly warp or crack the product. Most presses have a basic pressure mechanism, so the best thing to do is practice with your blank product before you turn the press on. See how it fits and make the adjustments well before you will need to use it. Thicker or thinner products can mean you need to make some adjustments each time so it’s best to record your settings ready for next time.


With so many variables it may seem confusing, but the best method is to start with the suggested settings and then work from there, making small adjustments until you are happy with the results.

DV Blanks has already thoroughly tested the blank sublimation products, so most of the hard work is done.