Customizing a tumbler through sublimation printing is a straightforward process, but it requires familiarity with the techniques involved. To begin, gather the essential supplies: an inkjet printer equipped with sublimation ink, a tumbler heat press machine, a sublimaton tumbler blank, sublimaton paper and heat tape.
- Use professional graphic design software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, to create your desired artwork or text. Ensure that the dimensions of your design match the size of the tumbler you plan to print on.
- Choose high-resolution images or vector graphics for the best print quality. Consider using CMYK color mode to accurately represent the colors that will be sublimated onto the tumbler.
Printing the Design:
- Load the sublimation paper into your inkjet printer. Make sure to select the correct printer settings for sublimation paper, as this will affect the ink transfer quality.
- Mirror the image before printing. Most graphic design software provides an option to flip the image horizontally, ensuring it appears correctly when transferred onto the tumbler.
- Print a test copy on regular paper first to verify colors and alignment before using the more expensive sublimation paper.
Affixing the Sublimation Paper:
- Clean the tumbler surface thoroughly with a lint-free cloth to remove any dust, oils, or fingerprints that could affect the printing quality.
- Position the sublimation paper on the tumbler, ensuring the design aligns correctly. Use heat-resistant tape or heat transfer tape to secure the paper in place. Make sure there are no wrinkles or bubbles on the paper.
- Preheat your tumbler heat press machine to the recommended temperature for sublimation (usually around 365℉). Set the heat press timer to 45 seconds.
- Once the heat press reaches the desired temperature, open it and carefully place the tumbler inside the fixture. To ensure even pressure, make sure to place the tumbler in the middle of the coaster.
- After the initial 45-second heat press, as the tumbler mat partially covers the cup, leaving a gap, please flip the tumbler 180 degrees and apply another 45 seconds of heat press.
Close the heat press machine and apply the appropriate pressure for the specified time (typically 10-30 seconds, depending on the machine and tumbler material). This combination of heat and pressure will cause the sublimation ink on the paper to turn into a gas, bonding with the tumbler's coating.
Once the timer is up, carefully lift the heat press to release pressure and open it to remove the tumbler.
Use heat-resistant gloves or tongs to handle the hot tumbler and immediately peel off the sublimation paper while it's still warm.
Allow the tumbler to cool completely before handling or packaging it.
Always follow safety precautions while working with heat press machines and hot objects to avoid burns or injuries. With attention to detail and practice, you can achieve professional-quality custom sublimated tumblers.