Applications and Money Making Insights for the Business of Sublimation Printing

Picture Perfect Sublimation – The Pro Photo and Fine Art Markets


Photography that is sublimated onto metal, like these pieces in the Blazing Editions gallery in East Greenwich, RI, give the images a whole new dynamic.

Sublimation professionals already understand the power of a photo when it comes to producing high-margin, full-color products that stand out with style and distinction. However, most of that work is done at the consumer level, where the end-user is looking for a photo gift or plaque – something that captures a lifestyle moment and can be personalized with text and/or graphics.

In reality, the photo market has two distinct segments: consumer (photo gifts) and professional. The pro photo marketplace is composed of professional imagers and artists who have a need for high-quality, professional renderings. They depend on specialized production facilities that have the equipment and knowledge to process and deliver those images on a variety of high-end products.

Three key groups of professionals who have a need for sublimated pro photo products are: professional photographers, artists and architectural designers.

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So You Want to Be a Sublimator…


Without a doubt, modern dye sublimation is one of the easiest digital decorating business to start and operate. The equipment is low in cost, the process is easy to learn and the space required to work in is quite small. Not to mention that the profit potential is quite good.

Sublimation is a digital printing process that allows any shop to quickly and easily apply high resolution, full color graphics to a wide variety of hard and soft goods, such as plaques: awards, signs, iPhone covers, photo panels, clocks, tiles, coasters, mouse pads, mugs, poly performance apparel and a whole lot more.

The application is unique in that it’s actually a dye process working at a molecular level, rather than a conventional printing process that deposits ink on top of the surface. Its production process is based the chemistry of sublimation, a term that describes the transformation of a solid into a gas without ever becoming a liquid. 

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Made in the USA with Sublimation


Photo Courtesy of Geo Knight & Co.

Sublimation opens many doors for businesses looking to offer products that are made in the USA. First, this process enables businesses to become a local producer of goods, even if the supplies used in production are made overseas. By offering items that you create, print and press in your own facilities, you give your customers an opportunity to buy “Made in the USA” and support their local economy, as well.

Second, many of the supplies needed for sublimation are manufactured domestically. Buying substrates, inks and equipment produced here in America, you can give your customers even more Made in the USA value.

Sawgrass Technologies’ sublimation inks for desktop systems are produced in Charleston, S.C., and are the industry standard for sublimation printing. Many brands of heat presses are also manufactured in the U.S. Geo Knight & Co. has produced industrial print machinery from its Brockton, Mass., facilities since 1885, while Insta Graphic Systems’ heat presses are manufactured in California and other strategic locations. Now is a great time to check out Insta’s products, as they are currently offering a free Teflon sheet with the purchase of the new Model 201 heat press.

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