What is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation is a scientific term that describes a process in which a substance is transformed from a solid to a gas. In sublimation printing color dyes are printed onto specially coated paper using printers that have been modified to handle dye instead of ink. The paper with the dyes printed onto it are then sandwiched with a substrate ,substrates can be of many various types such as metal, tile, Masonite, ceramic, polyester fabric and canvas are the most common. The sandwich of printed paper and substrate is then transferred to a heat press. The combination of heat (350-400 degrees) and pressure sublimates the dyes on the paper, transforming the solid dye into a gas. The gas is absorbed by a special coating on the substrate, when the heat and pressure are removed, the dye transforms back into a solid and the colors are locked into the substrate. This process makes the colors in sublimation printing much more brilliant and also more fade resistant than colors on direct printing with ink on paper, fabric or metal.
What types of images can be printed using sublimation?
Sublimation printing can be used to print all kinds of images including photographs, vector graphics, Bitmaps and scanned artworks among many others. To get a high quality print using sublimation we recommend at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) at image size. For example if you want to print a photograph to a size of 11 x 14, your photo should have a resolution of at least 300 DPI when sized at 11 x 14. That same photo enlarged to 20 x 24 may only have 72 DPI, which would result in a grainy image when printed. High resolution photos make beautiful prints using sublimation, as do vector graphics created by graphics artists. Scanning artwork for reproduction via sublimation the highest resolution setting available should be used during the scan to produce the best results. When company logos are being included in sublimation printing a vector image is preferred over a bitmap primarily for image sharpness and color control.
What types of substrates can images be printed on using sublimation printing at Art & Frame Station?
- Aluminum sheets in sizes up to 40" x 60" x .045" thick
- Masonite sheets in sizes up to 40" x 60" x 1/4" thick
- MDF hardboard in sizes up to 24" x 30" x 5/8" thick with finished black sides
- Steel sheets in sizes up to 40" x 60" x .03" thick – used for dry erase boards
- Ceramic Tiles in several sizes (see price chart)
- Tumbled stone tiles in several sizes (see price chart)
- Porcelain Tiles in several sizes (see price chart)
- Glass Tiles in several sizes (see price chart)
- Coming soon – canvas in sizes up to 40" x 60"
How do I get my image to Art & Frame Station?
The best way to get your image to Art & Frame Station and to see what types of substrates and mounting options are available is to bring the image into the store on a flash drive, memory stick or CD/DVD. However, you can also email the image to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it via digital drop box. In the coming months we hope to have a fully interactive website that will allow our customers to upload their images and place orders for prints directly from the website without having to come into the store.
What does Sublimation printing cost?
For a comprehensive price list please go to the Sublimation Price List tab, however a quick way to calculate cost is to use the following formulas:
For Metal Prints & Dry Erase Boards: $27 per square foot
For Masonite Prints : $19 per square foot
For Tile Murals and Mosaics : $84 per square foot
These prices are approximate, for formal pricing please consult the price list. For custom sizes not on the price list please request a formal quote from us by using the contact us tab.