Why Start a Sublimation Business? (Part 2)

Gifting personalized products has become a very popular trend in recent years, especially drinkware. The global personalized Gifts Market is predicted to Reach USD $31.63 Billion by 2021 according to Technavio. America is in the lead, with the highest revenue and the largest incremental growth margin through the forecast period. Technavio suggest there are 3 main factors contributing to the increase in revenue in the Gifts Market and these are:

  • An increased demand for seasonally personalized products
  • Advancements in technology and innovation
  • Expansion in online shopping

Global_Personalized_Gifts_Market_TechnavioThe popularity in online shopping, ecommerce and the increase of online outlets in recent years, make it easier for small businesses to sell their customized products without having to invest in property. The increased interest and popularity of social media is an affordable and lucrative way to promote your original products extensively. The ability to build your brand and create customer interest is cost effective and can generate high profit margins with low financial investment.

Joto has an extensive list of equipment packages to choose from if you are starting a sublimation business or growing your current business. We also have a wide range of sublimatable blanks to choose from, including drinkware; that are ideal for personalization and coated in our high-quality Pearl Coating™. A small initial investment can lead to a high revenue if marketed correctly to your target audience. Sublimated products can be sold individually, or to larger customers such as restaurants or sports teams.


If you are interested in customizing drinkware, you will need a sublimation printer and mug press. We have two desktop sublimation printers to choose from and these are the Virtuoso SG400 and SG800. These fit in small spaces and can print up to 13 x 19 if you add the additional Multi Bypass Tray. The Joto Digital Mug Press has 3 models to choose from, the single station, double station and 5 station. If you wish to customize flat objects, such as mouse pads, garments or HD Aluminum Photo Panels, you will require our Joto Auto Release ClamShell Heat Press. This press comes in two sizes, the 15” x 15” and the 16” x 20”. To have a package that includes both presses, prices start at $1,815.00 CDN or $1,295 USD. This includes 23% customer savings compared to buying each product individually.


Why Start a Sublimation Business? (Part 1)

Sublimation is the process of imprinting art, images, graphics, photography and slogans onto various substrates, such as textiles, drinkware, and household products. Customization of products has become very popular in recent years and with the advancement in printing technology, has become a viable and lucrative industry to enter.

According to a report produced by Smithers Pira, they predict the worldwide market value for the sublimation printing industry will double over the next 5 years between 2018 and 2023. With a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2%. This predicted increase in worldwide sales means the industry is set to explode with new interest and investments and would be a very sound and worthwhile industry to invest in. Garments are the most popular of all the substrates to sublimate and take up 70% to 80% of the market.


A bonus to starting a sublimation business is that it can have a low investment to start with and a large profit margin. Joto provide extremely affordable packages for the sublimation industry with technical support, tutorial videos and the ability to help you expand your business as it grows.

Where does one start?

The must haves for any emerging sublimation business is a sublimation printer, sublimation paper, sublimation inks and heat press. There are two types of printers one can get for sublimation, Wide Format Printers and Desk Top Printers.

Wide Format Sublimation

Our large format printers are ideal if you wish to enter the textile industry. The large format printers are perfect to image onto large substrates, such as HD Photo Panels, or pillow cases and can be used in all over, full bleed sublimation. The F6200 is a wide format printer which can print up to 44” wide.

SureColor F6200 Angle with Print.pngIf you combine this printer with our large heat presses you can produce all over prints on textiles and HD aluminium panels. See image below for an example:

All over print
Our large heat presses come in four sizes: 31.5″ x 39.4″ | 39.4″ x 47.25″ | 39.4″ x 63″ | 59.1″ x 98.43″.

Desktop Sublimation

If you’re looking to make a smaller investment, our desktop sublimation printers, the Virtuoso SG400 and SG800 are great for smaller projects, such as garments and flat substrates like mouse pads, ceramic tiles and small aluminium boards. Combining one of these printers with the Joto Auto Release ClamShell Heat Presses you can produce personalized products for customers like in the example below. These presses cover a wide range of substrates for imaging and come in two sizes, 15” x 15” and 16” x 20”.

smaller transfer.jpg


TrimFree Laser Transfer Paper


There has been a lot of talk about TrimFree on the web and I have decided that I should do a post to clarify any questions that transfer paper users have about this paper.  Also, on our next post, we will try to explain some of the problems that a small number of users have been experiencing.

TrimFree Shirt image

TrimFree is a self-weeding laser transfer paper for white or light colored fabrics.  What does this mean?  Although transfer papers have improved, greatly reducing the visibility of the unimaged areas of the design, it is still necessary to trim the paper to minimize the amount of polymer background that is transferred to the garment.  When using TrimFree, trimming is not necessary because it will only transfers the areas on the design where toner is present.

Here is a comparison between normal laser transfer paper and TrimFree.  It may be difficult to see the polymer background, please click the images to enlarge

TrimFree and Regular Laser Transfer Paper comparison Laser and TrimFree Transfer Paper comparison

TrimFree can be used to image some dark colored shirts such as red, orange and royal blue when the image just contains black toner.  Additionally, TrimFree can be used to image garments using foil.  As with red, orange and blue fabrics you only use black toner for this application.

Here are some examples below:

TrimFree on Red Shirt with black toner only Gold Foil TrimFree Shirt TrimFree with Rainbow Foil TrimFree with Gold Foil on Black


TrimFree is the latest advancement of laser transfer paper; however it has its limitations.  On images that have drop shadows, gradients or skin tones the user may find that these areas of the image don’t fully transfer.  Knowing this limitation will allow you to properly assess the image prior to printing to determine if TrimFree should be used or if a laser transfer paper for light shirts is more suited.

In general, we suggest that TrimFree be used when the image consists of solid colors such as logos or vector graphics.  This is not to say that you can never use TrimFree when the image contains drop shadows, skin tones, or gradients but we do suggest you test the image prior to printing your full production.

Below you will see one with drop shadows, gradients, and skin tones.  The drop shadow was dark enough to show, however the skin tones didn’t transfer as well.

TrimFree with skin tones

With photographic images we recommend using a laser transfer paper for light colored fabrics.  The majority of photographs are square making any trimming quick and easy.


TrimFree will work well on most printers but there are some printers that use a type of toner that will either press poorly and/or give you unacceptable wash results. The reason for this is because the self trimming aspect of the paper is a chemical reaction between the toner and the paper coating when heated.  The coating fuses with the toner to adhere to the shirt.  So the success of the paper depends on the composition of the toner.  With some of the printers we do not recommend, the image will print and transfer fine but the wash results will be poor.  On others, it is just very difficult to get good printing results.

Our testing has shown that Okidata printers and Canon Copiers provide the best results when using TrimFree.  Both of these brands will give very good printing, pressing and wash results.  Alternatively, we have found that Brother and HP will not provide good results when using TrimFree and are not recommended by Joto.

Regardless of the printer or copier being used we always recommend that you test the paper with your printer to ensure you can achieve the printing, pressing and wash results that will meet your customer’s expectations.  To aid with the testing we offer sample packs free of charge for you to evaluate prior to purchasing the paper.


Foil application can only be done with TrimFree transfer paper.  It cannot be done with other laser transfer papers because they release a polymer coating even where there is no image.  As stated above, TrimFree only releases where there is toner and it is the toner/coating that hot stamp foil sticks to when pressed.  The foil that is used for TrimFree can be bought at any screen printing supplies shop.  It is the same foil that screen printers use and is applied the same way, using a heat press.  Click the following link to watch how TrimFree and foil are applied.

TrimFree with Foil Video
Click to Watch Video

We have also posted a tips and hints cheat sheet about how to use TrimFree and to solve some of the problems that a small amount of users are experiencing.  TrimFree Tip Sheet

We have done a number of TrimFree shirts for personal birthday parties,  hockey teams and the response was fantastic!  The key to the success of applying TrimFree is knowing the limits of this paper and doing some minor testing on your own so that you can familiarize yourself with this new technology.  The ones who are able to master TrimFree will have a definite advantage over his/her competitors.

By Dickson
Joto Paper