I’m thrilled to be bringing you my first “shared” project for dye sublimation printing on the blog today! I saw these coasters at JoAnn Fabrics the other day and immediately was overcome by my impulse purchasing ways.
Cricut has been pushing their “Infusible Ink” lately…which is just their way of saying dye sublimation without actually telling you what you’re doing. Cricut doesn’t sell printers, they’re selling the papers to cut into shapes and then heat press onto items. So basically they’re allowing their customer base to skip the printing process and just do the sublimation. Which is fine — but it’s not nearly as exciting as creating your own designs, now is it? That’s why I’m here! To talk about how to do it at home…completely!
I don’t know about you, but we are superfans of the show Schitts Creek. It’s seriously the best. I’ve never seen such a brilliant way to write over-the-top personalities and hysterical storylines but keep everything so thoughtful and earnest. The way Patrick loves David is just unbelievable. And Moira? Girl, you are an ICON. (But if you must know, if I were a character in real life I’d be Ted. Loveable, constantly full of bad puns, totally the dork in the room always?? It’s me.)
Anyway, I asked my husband what I should print on these coasters and he, with zero hesitation, told me to make Schitt’s Creek coasters. And so it was decided.
To complete this project, you need:
- Sublimation Ready Printer (I cover a ton of printer options in my Sublimation 101: Printers, Ink and Paper post!!
- Sublimation Transfer Paper (Also covered in the above mentioned link.) My favorite is: A-SUB Sublimation Paper: Legal Size
- A Heat Press / other heating tool (This is similar to mine: 15×15 Clamshell Heat Press)
- Sublimation Ready Coasters – Like these Cricut Coaster Blanks or these Cork Back Sublimation Blanks
Step 1: Create your designs. I hope to do a deeper dive with all of you about design programs in the near future. However, I do all of my designing inside of Adobe Illustrator. Vector files are much easier to manipulate, and you have complete control over your work. I’ve seen plenty of times now where people are suggesting to use Cricut’s Design Space or Silhouette’s software and I would very much so say not to use it. There are way better editing programs out there (some free!), and if you’re not actually about to cut with these machines, there’s no sense in using their clumsy software for designing anything!
I wanted to use four different designs, and all of my coasters measure at a 3.75″ x 3.75″ size. I have my printouts set for a bleed space, which means I’m actually printing a 3.9″ square for each, which gives me just enough wiggle room to line everything up, and a little room for errors doing so as well.
Before you hit that “print” button, make sure to mirror your image in some way. I do it in my editing software — while you can change it in your print settings for a “mirror image” print. Either way, it needs to be done, otherwise you will end up with a backwards image on your finished product.
If you’re wondering about my print settings, this is what it looks like from inside of Illustrator, for my Epson Ecotank ET-2720. I choose the “Coated Paper” as my media type, on a normal print quality and it turns out perfectly for me every time.
Step 3: Cut apart your images and align them onto your sublimation coaster blanks.
Hot tip: If you end up purchasing coasters from Amazon (or other places) they most likely are covered with a protective film. REMOVE THIS FILM. If not, you will regret it, much like I did.
Learn from my mistakes, friends. I mean, check the difference between the film-less coaster and the one I accidentally left the film on while printing. Whoops.
Make sure the image on the paper and the substrate surface that you’re hoping to print on are right sides together, facing each other.
If you have it on hand, use some heat resistant tape to ensure the design or coaster don’t shift during the process.
Step 4: Head over to your heat press and set it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the coasters with the cork facing down, and the sublimation paper closest to you, and the heating element. Press for 60 seconds.
Step 5: Allow the items to cool before removing them from your press. (But obviously be careful and take a sneak peek if you must, like I did.)
Carefully remove the taped down pieces of transfer paper from your coaster to reveal the design.
You’ll notice that some of the design will still be on your transfer paper. It’s totally normal, but most of the ink should have been absorbed into your sublimate item. All that’s really left on mine are the bleed areas.
Go celebrate, because you just made a super awesome coaster for your table!!
The download is a single PDF document in an 8.5×11″ letter sized format.
Please do not share the files, claim them as your own, or profit off of my design in any way. They are for PERSONAL USE ONLY.
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