Making crafty, creative, customized garments with dye sublimation is easy! Just come up with a design, find a material to print on, then transfer your design! But what are the limitations of sublimation printing? We’ve gone over some of the common fabrics in the past - which you can read here. But one thing that is often not covered for dye-sublimation businesses are sequins! Can you sublimate on sequins and sequin fabrics? Can you transfer dye-sublimation designs onto sequin pillow cases? How do you transfer onto sequins?
Printing on sequins is a really creative way of customizing your pillow cases, dresses, and more! Not only is it a great and creative project, but it can even expand your current business by offering a new fabric. Turns out, you can sublimation on sequins! In this article, we’ll be going over both how to sublimate onto sequins and how to get started with sublimation on sequins!
Before we get started, a quick overview of dye-sublimation
Before we dive into how to sublimation onto sequins, let’s take a moment to review dye-sublimation. If you’re already familiar with dye-sublimation, then feel free to skip this section.
Dye-sublimation is a process used to transfer inks onto different types of garments and fabrics. Sublimation works by transferring a water based ink onto the substrate using a combination of heat and pressure.
The water based ink bonds with the molecules in the substrate, permanently transferring the dye onto the desired material. You can print out this water based ink using a specialized type of printer. These specialized printers work a lot like an inkjet printer, but rather than transferring ink onto a piece of paper, it transfers the sublimation ink onto a special sublimation paper.
We’ve reviewed both some of our favorite sublimation printers, which you can check out here. You can also view our buyers guide for sublimation inks here, or our buyers guide for sublimation paper here.
Once you’ve printed out your design, you can transfer the design onto specialized types of garments!
What types of materials can I print on?
You can sublimate onto a wide range of different types of materials.
The water-based sublimation ink bonds with polymer molecules in the desired material. These polymer molecules are commonly found in different types of plastics. Any type of substrate with these polymers can receive the sublimation ink.
This makes it possible to print onto materials such as polyester, nylon, plastic coated ceramics, plastic coated aluminums, and a ton of other materials (even sequins!).
Whatever type of material you choose to print on, you’ll have to follow the recommended guidelines for printing onto that material. For example, you may have some recommended temperatures or pressure settings for transferring your designs. If you stray too far from these recommendations, you can have some negative results. Whether it’s incomplete transfers, or burned/damaged substrates, it's wise to stick to the recommendations.
Sequin fabrics and sublimation
Sequins are a special type of fabric that you may have heard of before!
Sequins are small pieces of plastic attached directly to a fabric. These sequins are often colorful and glossy, which can make your fabric more creative, appealing, or noticeable. You can event implement designs into your sequins, by having different colored sequins to draw out any pattern you want.
Sequins are most commonly found with different types of outfits. I personally always think of mermaid costumes when I think of sequins. Another common place you’ll find sequins are pillowcases!
But, can I sublimate onto sequins?
But can I sublimate onto sequins?
Yes! You can sublimate onto sequins. You don’t want to just get any type of sequins and start sublimating! It’s wise to buy your fabrics from reputable sellers for sublimation sequins. You’ll also want to make sure you follow some basic recommendations so that you don’t burn out or damage your sequins and fabric.
Let’s get into how you can start sublimating onto your sequin fabrics now!
Where can I get sequin sublimation blanks?
Before you can start transferring your custom designs onto sequins, you’ll want to pick up either some sequin sublimation blanks or some sequin sublimation ready fabrics.
Here’s some of our favorite recommendations for sequin sublimation blanks:
One of my favorite sublimatable sequin blanks are these pillow cases.
You can sublimate any design onto the sequins. Once your design is transferred, you can move the sequins to either hide or reveal your transferred sublimation design!
They make both an awesome project and a great addition to your home if you’re looking for a really cool, customizable pillow. You could also test these as a possible addition for your existing sublimation business.
Not only are these a really creative and customizable sequin sublimation project, but they are also very affordable through Amazon. They come with great reviews, and are prime eligible!
Go place your order! Once you have, come back here to learn how to sublimate onto your sequins pillow cases.
This is another sublimatable sequin pillow case! They really are awesome, and make a pillow really feel unique and creative.
You can sublimate any design you want onto this pillowcase. Then, once you move the sequins, you’ll either reveal or hide the design you transferred.
This particular sublimation blank is a little more suited for business needs than the previous pillowcase. They come at a lower price, averaging about $7 per pillowcase. That’s a bargain!
I’d definitely recommend checking these pillowcases out. Whether it be for a personal sublimation project, or an extension of your existing sublimation business. Go check it out! Once you’ve placed your order, come back on over to learn how to sublimate onto sequins.
Some other sources for sequin sublimation blanks
If you’re looking to explore some other options, check out the listings on Alibaba here.
Alibaba’s sublimation sequin sources are a great option if you’re really looking to save on some money. You can get the sublimation blanks at a great price through Alibaba. But you will have to be okay with waiting a little bit of time for your orders to arrive!
You can also use Alibaba for getting blanks for your growing business. I’d recommend placing an initial smaller order first. Because Alibaba ships primarily from China, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re getting before you commit to a large order.
How to sublimate onto sequins
Okay, enough on sequins! Let’s get into the meat of this article: how do you sublimate onto sequins?
You’ll want to make sure you use a printer that supports a large enough format for your desired substrate. For example, if you’re printing onto a 16x16 sequin pillowcase sublimation blank, you’ll need to make sure both your design and your printer can support printing onto this 16x16 size.
We have lots of different printer reviews and setup guides. You can check out our guides or check out the manufacturer recommendations to make sure your desired size is supported!
Heat Press Setup
You’ll want to setup your heat press with an initial temperature of 400F, and a light pressure. If you use a temperature too high, or a pressure too high, you risk burning and deforming the sequins. But if you use a temperature or pressure too low, you may not completely transfer your design.
Don’t be afraid to experiment when it comes to the 400F and light pressure recommendations. I wouldn’t recommend straying too far from these baselines. But you can try some other settings to help improve your transfers. Ultimately, your heat press settings will be dependent on the sequins sublimation blank you end up using.
If the sequins blank you end up using come with their own, specific recommendations, then use those! Your manufacturer or supplier knows best, and I’d recommend using their numbers as a baseline. If they don’t provide one, take our recommendations of 400F with light pressure!
Once you have your design printed out and your heat press ready to go, we can get started sublimating onto our sequin blank!
- Place at least two pieces of paper on your heat press to help protect your heat press.
- Tape your sublimation design onto your sequin sublimation blank.
- When you tape your design onto your blank, you’ll want to make sure the transferrable sides of each are facing each other. Otherwise, you won’t have a proper transfer.
- If you are transferring designs onto both sides of your sequins pillow case, it is generally recommended to transfer your design onto the sequins first.
- Place your sequins sublimation blank into your heat press, with your transferrable design on-top.
- Place another piece of paper on top of your design. This will help protect both your substrate and the heat platen of your heat press.
- Press your design, using a temperature somewhere between 360-400F with a light pressure. You’ll want to start out with press time at around 120 seconds.
- If you don’t have great results with these recommendations, don’t be afraid to try other settings. You’ll want to dial in your exact settings over time.
- Once your transfer is complete, remove your sequin blank from your heat press. Immediately remove the transfer paper from your substrate.
- Be careful when removing both your transfer paper and your substrate from your heat press. If the transfer paper moves during this, you may end up with a ghosted or smeared transfer.
- Set your sequin blank off to the side to cool down. Once it is completely cool, you are free to continue pressing onto the other side, or start using your pillow!
Sublimating on sequins - wrap up!
So that’s how you transfer onto sequins!
If you’ve never transferred onto sequins, then you should really try it out! Customizable and creative sequin designs, particularly with pillow cases, are becoming extremely popular! They can be really neat within your home, and make a really cool and unique design for a pillow case.
Actually sublimating onto the sequins is easy! If you’re familiar with sublimation, I’m sure you won’t have much issue transferring your sublimation design onto your sequins blank.