If you want to decorate glass or glass products, several different processes are available. Among them, glass sublimation is a decorative process that can be available for glass decoration and vessels. Glass sublimation printing has become very popular in recent years.
Glass craftsmen, glass painters and glass lovers prefer this process over other methods because glass sublimation is a versatile glass decorating technique. Glass sublimation is also known as glass decalcomania, glass decoupage and glass transfer printing.
Materials Required For Glass Sublimation
When it comes to glass sublimation, a few key materials are required to achieve the desired effect on glass
1. Image Design
First of all, you will need an image or design you want to sublimate on glass and choose high quality and fine detailed image or design. Because without an image or desired design, you can’t perform glass sublimation.
2. Sublimation Printer
A sublimation printer for glass sublimation is a very useful tool to have around—a sublimation printer for glass prints on various surfaces, but glass’s most popular. A sublimation printer for glass or any surface will print better on a smooth surface. If you are looking to print on a textured surface, you need to find a printer that offers that option.
3. Sublimation Inks and Papers
The key element in the sublimation printing process is the type of ink used. Sublimation inks are special inks manufactured specifically for use with sublimation printers. Make sure to use high-quality ink along with high-quality paper to get fine and detailed results.
4. Glass Blanks
Glass blanks are a necessary component of any glass sublimation project. You can use them to create a wide variety of decorative and functional items, making them a popular choice for crafters and DIY enthusiasts.
The most important factor is the size and shape of the blank. Make sure to select a size that will fit the project you have in mind, and the next thing is having a tempered glass around you in must because Tempered glass also has low viz factors, which means that even on a cloudy day, you can still see through them.
5. Teflon Sheet
Sublimation is the process of heating a solid to a vapour and then allowing it to condense on a cold surface. This process can be used to create designs on glassware. A Teflon sheet can be placed between the glass and the heat source to make the design process easier. The Teflon sheet will help prevent the glass from sticking to the heat source.
6. Heat Press Machine For Glass
A heat press machine is a necessary piece of equipment for glass sublimation. The heat press applies even heat and pressure to the item being sublimated, which helps to ensure a high-quality finished product.
Some factors to consider when choosing a heat press machine include the size of the unit, the type of heat press plates it includes, and the amount of pressure it can apply. Make sure that you read the instructions for both of these items carefully because they are designed to work together to produce the best results.
Custom Glass Sublimation Process
When you are looking to create a custom glass piece, the sublimation process is the best way to go. This process will allow you to put your unique design on a glass surface. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a custom glass piece using the sublimation process:
Firstly, Choose the design you want to use. This can be anything from a simple monogram to a more intricate design. You can find free clipart and fonts online or create your designs, which can be done in any software program that allows you to create vector images.
Print out the design onto transfer paper. Make sure the design is placed in the correct position on the paper, as it will be reversed when transferred to the glass blank.
After the image or design is printed, you need to carefully tape the printed paper and try to place it on the sheet made of Teflon using a heat press that will protect it from any scratch while in storage or during use.
After successfully setting the glass plate, place another thin Teflon sheet on top of it as a protection. Now comes the tricky part: heating the glass with a heat press at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 and a half minutes, which is enough to set the dyes on it.
This requires some practice and adjustment because if you heat your piece too much or too little, you will not be happy with the result.
Following the heat press process, it’s time to remove the Teflon sheet above the glass plate and after removing the sheet, let it cool down to the room temperature that suits. After cooling down, budge aside the sublimation paper. When the paper is removed from your design, you will have a beautiful replica on glass.
Some Useful Tips
Now that you have all the materials around you for the sublimation process, it’s time to start heat pressing! Here are 6 tips, tricks and common mistakes to avoid when you are working with glass blanks.
1) Make sure the temperature of your heat press is correct. If it is too low, the ink will not transfer properly, and if it is too high, you could damage your blank or scorch the ink.
2) When your screen print design is finished, do not remove it from underneath the mesh, or it will be nearly impossible to line up correctly when you go in for another press.
4) Use caution when handling your heat-press, especially when placing hot glass onto any surfaces so as to prevent damage to floors, countertops etc. Glass heats up quickly but stays hot enough to cause a serious burn long after it has been removed from the heat press, so use common sense!
5) If you are using textured or metallic ink, be sure to apply a coat of sealant to the entire surface of your glass blank after sublimation. This will protect the ink from fading or scratching and give your finished product a nice glossy finish.
6) Finally, remember to allow your glass blank to cool completely before handling. If you try to handle it while it is still hot, you could damage the inks or cause them to smudge.
FAQs related to Glass Sublimation
1. Can I use glass sublimation for all types of glasses?
No, glass sublimation should only be used on clear transparent glasses having smooth & non-porous surfaces. Bottle shaped glasses, glassware, glass jars and vases etc, are not suitable for this process.
2. How do I apply the sealant over the print?
After the glass sublimation is complete, you may need to apply a sealant over the print to protect it from fading and scratches. A coat of good quality glass sealant (like Krylon UV protective coating) can be applied with a soft brush or cloth over the painted glass surface.
3. How to get glass sublimation results in glass colour, glass white background?
If you don’t want dark backgrounds, then you can go for water-based dye instead of opaque ink. You may also use laserjet transparency sheets (glass transparency film) to get glass sublimation results in glass colour with a glossy white background. You can simply cut out desired glass shape from the laserjet transparencies sheet and use it over the plain/smooth side of your desired glass piece
4. Can I transfer designs through the glass print technique on coasters, glass wearables & glass beads etc.?
Yes, you may try this glass sublimation method on glass coasters, glass wearables and glass beads. Glass solar light lenses and glass photo frames can also be used for this process.
5. How long does the glass sublimation process take?
The time duration for the glass sublimation process may vary depending on the type and amount of ink or dye used, heat intensity, temperature & time duration followed during the whole process. It usually takes around 4-5 minutes to get good quality prints on glasses.
6. What are the recommended temperatures for glass sublimation?
Recommended temperatures for glass sublimation may vary depending on the type of ink or dye, glassware shapes and sizes. A moderate temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit is usually recommended to get good quality prints on glasses.
7. Can you sublimate on wine glasses?
The answer is yes, you can because sublimation is the process of turning a solid into a gas without having a liquid phase. This means that you can print images or designs on wine glasses using a sublimation printer.
I hope that this quick guide will give you some ideas on how to help your designs stand out. Sublimation can be a great way to add personalized designs to glassware, but at the same time, it can be a complicated process which is why it requires some trial and error.
Just like anything else in the business, you will need to work hard and take your time to get the results you desire. By practising with the right tools, you can create some stunning glass pieces that will be sure to impress your friends and family.
Hi, I’m Talha Bhatti founder and director of Printershome. As a Leading Author and Writer, I found a huge gap in studying the quality and variety of the printers. My Main goal is to help potential users find the solution to their problems, solve their queries with quality assurance and focus on the perfect solutions.