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In today’s post, we’ll be explaining how to sublimate using heat shrink bags. An interesting topic you’ll surely love if sublimation is your main technique for personalising different items.

Would you like to learn about this process? Keep on reading then!

Many sublimation items are challenging to print because of their different shapes and sizes. Most of the time, it’s necessary to use a vacuum oven and clamps without jigs. But, if you decide to use heat shrink bags, you’ll be able to sublimate a wider range of products, and all you’ll need is a heat gun and an oven. These bags or wraps are available in different sizes so that you can adjust them according to the dimensions of each object.

In order to show you how it’s done, we are going to personalise several sublimation articles: a tile, a full mug, a thermos and a conical cup. Let’s find out how to do it.

Sublimating thermos flasks and tumblers in a sublimation oven

Water bottles and thermos flasks can be easily sublimated, and you even have the advantage of being able to produce multiple at once.

  • Print the design with your sublimation machine in mirror mode.
  • Place the paper on the object making sure you cover the whole of it.
  • Use heat-resistant tape to secure it.
  • Now choose the right shrink bag to fit the tumbler’s size, put it inside and shrink it in place little by little with the help of a heat gun until the whole printing area is correctly pressed.
  • Pop it in the oven and sublimate for 7 minutes at 180ºC.
  • Once the baking time is over, cool it using a fan or a warm water basin.
  • Remove the plastic and the paper to check how the sublimation has turned out.
- sublimacion termo 1 - Oven Sublimation Using Heat Shrink Bags
Oven-sublimated thermos flask using heat shrink bags

Full mug printing using heat shrink bags

We’ve already covered how to fully print a mug in other posts, but today we’ll show you the easy way: with heat shrink bags. Plus, you can do large productions as you can put several objects in the sublimation oven at once, reducing costs and time.

  • Print your design in mirror image with the dye-sublimation printer.
  • Place the paper around the mug. Cut notches in the printed paper just where it passes through to get around the handle. Then stick it with heat resistant tape.
  • Put the mug inside the shrink bag and cut where the handle is placed. Tape the cut to seal it properly.
  • Gently warm up with a heat gun, making sure the bag has fully adhered to the mug.
  • Sublimate in the oven for 13 minutes at 180ºC.
  • Once printed, cool the mug in lukewarm water and remove both the plastic and paper to reveal the finished result.
Oven sublimation with heat shrink bags
Mug oven sublimation with heat shrink bags

Insulated tumbler sublimation

To sublimate an insulated tumbler you’ll need an aluminium jig to avoid plastic warping during the baking process. The advantage of vacuum-free oven sublimation using heat shrink bags is the fact that you can print the whole surface of an item regardless of its shape. This gives you great versatility and efficiency.

  • Print the design you want to sublimate in mirror image with your sublimation printer.
  • Attach the printed sublimation paper around the cup and heat tape the seams. Including the top and base, so the paper doesn’t move.
  • Place the jig inside the tumbler, put both into the bag and shrink with the heat gun.
  • Bake for 9 minutes at 180ºC.
  • When finished, remove the hot jig before cooling the cup, otherwise, you won’t be able to get it out as it will stick to it.
  • Remove the plastic and sublimation paper and chill using a fan or a lukewarm bucket.
  • You can now assemble the inside of the cup and put the lid on.

Printing a sublimation tile

We’ll now use them to sublimate a tile to demonstrate how versatile shrink bags can be. In this case, we’ve decided to imitate the well-known hydraulic tiles.

  • Print your design in mirror image using a dye-sublimation printer.
  • Place the tile on the printing paper with the white side sticking to the design and then heat tape it to hold it all together.
  • Tuck it into a heat shrink bag, trim off the excess and apply heat with the heat gun to fit the object to the plastic.
  • Bake for 13 minutes at 180ºC.
  • Take off the plastic and paper and cool it in lukewarm water or with a fan.
Tile sublimation using heat shrink bags and an oven
Tile sublimation using heat shrink bags and an oven.
Watch the full video

These are just a few examples. Use this technique to sublimate other products such as printable cutlery, vases and steins. The oven and heat shrink bag sublimation options are endless thanks to its simpleness. It also guarantees quality and productivity in your customisations.

You can find all the necessary machinery and accessories in our online shop to get you started in this printing process. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel to keep you informed of the latest news and learn about the best personalisation tips and techniques. We’ll keep creating quality content for you.

See you soon!