This past weekend I participated in the Sublimation Camp that was hosted by Cori George from Hey Let’s Make Stuff and Angie Holden from the Country Chic Cottage and I just have to say WOW!
It was an amazing event that was jam packed with information for all levels of those in the sublimation process.
It was an event for Crafters by Crafters and I really found that the information provided answered the questions that I see posted every single day by beginners or those wanting to learn more about sublimation.
You can still gain access HERE at the time this post is published.
Sublimation is a hot topic currently and more and more we are getting questions on the Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae Facebook Group. I signed up so I could pick up tips and tricks to help out more Silhouette users.
The biggest thing I learned right away is that – I CANNOT do it all!
There is just too many projects and not enough time to do it all.
I also realized that there are just things that I do not experience that others have happen to them, such as printers not printing colors correctly.
And over the years of troubleshooting, I have found that it is very difficult to reproduce an issue on purpose. So it can be difficult to cover it ALL!
And that is what I am hear to say today – my tagline on the blog has been
“Because some things are too good not to share!”
So today, I’m here to share with you 10 things that I learned or re-learned during this event and the resources where you can find more information.
I do feel that we all can learn from others in the industry and can gain inspiration from so many amazing instructors out there!
Affiliate links may be present in the below and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
10 Things I Picked Up at Sublimation Camp
#1 – Testing Materials
Get some 100% polyester fabric from the craft store to test your prints on. I picked this tip up from Angie Holden at the Country Chic Cottage.
I thought this was a fabulous idea – I mean really, how easy is that?
I’d rather use up a sheet of printed ink on some cheaper fabric than waste one of my blanks and it not look good!
I couldn’t wait to hop in the car and head to JoAnn Crafts to pick up some testing fabric.
I bought 2 yards of White 100% Polyester Fabric and it cost me $13.98.
Now I am set to test my prints.
#2 – Print a Test Page
A test color page can save you time, money, and materials.
And I am saying this from experience because it was the first thing I did when I started watching the Sublimation Camp and I found that my Epson F170 was not printing properly and I needed to do a cleaning on it. I had not printed in several weeks and it did affect it.
Jennifer Maker had an amazing download (#385) when you sign up on her site that worked great for colors and being able to see what prints out.
I knew immediately when it printed out that it was not correct.
Then I was able to do a print head test and see where the problem was.
I was on my way quickly after finding that and doing a cleaning.
Even though I have an Epson F170 sublimation printer, I had not used it for a couple weeks and it definitely made a difference.
#3 – Blanks
Sublimation does require special blanks. They need to be treated specifically for sublimation or the ink will not bond to the blank.
Sublimation ink binds with polyester and that is why you need a high polyester count or sublimation blanks. It will just wash out of other materials or non-treated items.
Not all blanks are created equal! Quality matters too!
If you have a design that hasn’t turned out, it may not be the ink, print, heat source, or sublimation paper that is the problem. It may be the actual blank.
Testing is the only way to know!
Sublimation also needs to be done on light colored objects if you are just printing and pressing. Sublimation ink does not print white and it is a translucent ink, so background colors will show through.
This can work for some designs like the below photo but not for all. The color of the blank will affect the ink colors of the print on the final object.
#4 – Clean the blanks
I’ll admit this was one of the first things I did not know about when I started pressing sublimation prints. I had pressed hundreds of tote bag prints before I even heard this tip.
Use a lint roller to get any debris, fuzz, etc. off the blank you are using.
I found out the hard way when blue flecks showed up on the shirt I was pressing.
For hard surface blanks, an alcohol swab to get rid of debris and oils as well.
#5 – Color Profiles
I hear often that colors are not printing at the colors that users think they should. I learned many things at Camp about this. It can be for several reasons.
One of the biggest that I heard instructors say over and over was that converted printers do not print correctly because they are calibrated for inkjet ink. So you may need to use a ICC color profile. Cori George with Let’s Make Stuff had great tips to finding and testing ICC color profiles.
It can also vary, even with using the same ICC profile between the software programs you are printing from.
This is one of those things that I cannot recreate with my own equipment because I don’t see to have the same issues with my colors from printing through Silhouette to my inkjet or my sublimation printers.
If you are having issues with colors, I would recommend checking out Cori’s blog for more tips on ICC profiles and sublimation in general.
She has a ton of information on sublimation there.
#6 – Off Colors
I heard several times through the entire event from Angie Holden at the Country Chic Cottage that colors can be off if the blank was undercooked or overcooked. One easy indicator that she mentioned was undercooked the color would look too green and overcooked the color would look brown.
#7 – Air Purifier
I mean even the sublimation blanks just smell bad when they are heat pressed. Then you add in the actual pressing of the sublimation print when it’s pressed. It is always a good idea to make sure your space is well ventilated!
I was having some allergy and asthma attacks during the event weekend, so I already didn’t feel great and when this air purifier was mentioned, I ordered one.
I’ve only used it a couple times, but I already noticed a big difference!
I was surprised that it was a bit bigger than what I expected, which is awesome!
Now I plan to run it anytime my heat press or my GlowForge is running.
#8 – Don’t forget to mirror the design
This happens to us all, whether it’s for cutting HTV or sublimation. You are not alone!
I try to always make mirroring the design the final step. If you have a sublimation printer, it will do it automatically for you unless you tell it not to, but if you have a converted printer, you will need to manually do this step.
#9 – Some things are going to FAIL!
You are learning a new skill! In the beginning, you will go through more supplies as you are learning. In my experience this holds true for all things! We see it all the time with beginning Silhouette users. You will go through blades and mats faster in the beginning because you are learning what works and what doesn’t. The more you do it, you pick up tips & tricks that extend the life of your supplies.
And then you will still have failures because you forgot to mirror, applied it upside down, or some other random reason. Most times I make mistakes because I’m trying to rush or multi-task.
#10 – Sublimation is Print and Press
Basically, any program you can print from, you can use for sublimation.
The basics are printing and pressing.
There are many users getting into sublimation and a wide variety of software programs they are using. I saw Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, Design Space, Word, Silhouette Studio, ProCreate, and more during the event.
As you get into it, you can get into more complex things which may require certain software, ICC profiles, cutting with the machines, etc.
But the basics are printing and pressing in the technique.
I’ve been having so much fun creating different things!
Like I said at the beginning, I CANNOT do it all. This past weekend at Sublimation Camp has reconfirmed that for me.
There are just too many cool projects and not enough time in the day.
My expertise is in the Silhouette software, Silhouette machines, and in troubleshooting Silhouette. There are just some areas that I am not an expert in. I love taking classes and learning new things. Sometimes that means knowing who to refer users to when they have a specific situation. We can all gain inspiration and creative ideas from others in the crafting community.
Follow these great resources above for tips & tricks to get creative ideas that you can adapt to your projects.
After attending the Sublimation Camp I bit the bullet and order a convection oven and finished my first sublimation tumbler. Of course, I’m hooked!
This design was part of the class by Charynn Olesheski with Pineapple Paper Co showing how to create it in ProCreate. I loved this class! I am no where near her skill level in ProCreate, but I did try. I used her design template and a font in this tumbler below.
For more sublimation tips with Silhouette check out these tutorials below:
Basic Sublimation Print from Silhouette
Printing Sublimation Designs from Silhouette Studio – Basics
Sublimation Markers and Silhouette
I would love to see what you are creating with your Silhouette software or machines!
Feel free to post on my Facebook group at
Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
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