coffee mugs are not your traditional silk screen printing,
but rather a dye sublimation process. Unlike
silk screen printing our dye sublimation printing has no screens
or setup cost, although both screen and sublimation printing
may carry an initial "layout" cost (depending on the company
doing the prints). Our dye sublimation process produces photographic
continuous tone. We can assemble prints from one or more photographs
and/or from unlimited color art. When using photos, we can
create your print from parts of each photograph.
- What is "dye sublimation"?
- "Dye" is just what it implies, the special inks
or dye used to reproduce an image. "Sublimation" (in
definition) is the process when a solid has the ability to
melt or transfer from its solid state to its gaseous state
bypassing the liquid state as you would see with "dry ice".
- How does sublimation apply to ceramics?
- Special inks need to be used that have the ability, when
heated, to transform from their solid (visible) state to
their gaseous state bypassing the liquid state. The sublimation
process of our inks start around 350º - 375º F.
The images originate on a piece of paper or transfer media
that can be produced either from an offset press or a dye
sublimation computer printer. The inks also need to have
similar characteristics to polyester (a form a plastic).
This is only half of the puzzle, the other half is that the
ceramic (mug, tile, etc.) needs to be specially treated (coated)
with a durable polyester glaze. The paper or transfer media
containing the sublimation inks or dyes is placed on the
specially treated ceramic, both heat and pressure is then
applied. The inks or dyes begin to sublimate around 375º F
and the polyester coating softens around 400º F making
very receptive to the gases from the inks or dyes. The gases
penetrate and mix with the coating on the ceramic and when
cooled, the gasses return to their solid state in the polyester
glaze and viola, you have a very permanent image that
will last and won't chip or peal and is microwave and dishwasher