Using sublimation to produce personalised glassware is extremely easy and cost effective.

Blank sublimation ready glassware is supplied with a translucent white polymer coating on the reverse (back) of the glassware ready for the design to be applied.

Typically sublimation glassware is around 3-4mm thick and is available in a range of sizes to be used for various items such as coasters, chopping boards, placemats, decorative photo frames. Glass clocks are also available and use the same method outlined in this guide.

What will you need?

A sublimation converted inkjet printer
Sublimation paper – we used our Style 120gsm paper
Flat bed heat press (swing away or clam shell)
Sublimation ready glass blanks
Scissors

Optional:
Heat Tape
Teflon Protection Sheet

1) Design Process

You will need to create the artwork for your glassware design on your computer.
Ideally use a good piece of photo editing software.
Popular software choices are Adobe Photoshop, Coral Draw, Serif Affinity or Gimp Design.
Basic software such as MS Word, Publisher or similar can be used but they offer limited design freedom.
They also lack some of the functions other software offer as standard.

Depending on the size of  your glassware it is likely a number of designs can fit on one sheet. In our example we produced 100mm diameter round coasters; we were able to fit 4 designs to one A4 size sheet.

2) Preparing your glassware

Ensure your glassware is clean and dry. Inspect the reverse side of the glassware for any imperfections to the translucent white polymer coating. We use a damp cloth to wipe glassware to remove and dust before drying ready for heat pressing.

It is advised to prepress glassware for 5-10 seconds to get heat into the glass this prevents nay risk of cracking during the heat pressing process due to dramatic temperature changes.

3) Preparing your printed design

Printed designs for glassware are NOT mirror flipped / mirror imaged.

The design transfers through the glass and shows through from the reverse side so there is no need to mirror image your designs.

We place the printed sheet onto the rubber pad on the base of the heat press. The glassware is then placed on top of the paper.

Glassware is pressed with the glass on top – so heat passes through the glass through to the paper.

We find that heat tape is not required to secure the glass in position – however heat tape can be used if you prefer.

4) Pressing your glassware

For our example we have used a set of our own glass coasters (100mm diametre). We recommend these are pressed at:

Temperature: 180c
Time: 180 seconds
Pressure: Medium
Teflon protection sheet: Optional

Not all glassware products use the same heat press temperature and time.
Ink Experts advise customers to contact the supplier of your glassware blank to confirm their recommended heat press settings.

The temperature and time can vary due to the thickness / density of the glass generally our recommended temperature and time is correct but do always check to be sure.

Step by Step Method

  • Turn on your heat press.
  • Set the temperature and time.
  • Allow it to come up to temperature.
  • While the heat press is heating up you can prepare your glassware.
  • Once at temperature pre-press the glassware for 5-10 seconds.
  • Remove the glassware from the press after pre-pressing.
  • Place the printed design sheet on to the rubber pad on your heat press.
  • Carefully place your glassware on top of the printed design sheet and position to the design(s).
  • A Teflon sheet can be laid over the top of the glassware – this is optional.
  • Close your press and heat press for the desired time.
  • When the timer expires open the press, do not move the glassware or paper at this time.
  • Allow to cool for 30-60 seconds. Carefully remove the glassware from the heat press – heat protection gloves are recommended when handling  freshly pressed glassware.

Tips and tricks

Ensure your designs are NOT printed using mirror image – the design is transferred through the reverse of the glassware so mirror image is not required.

Add a thin stroke line around your printed design to help position the glassware onto the printed paper transfer.

Allow glassware to cool following heat pressing – avoid moving until cooling has been allowed for 30-60 seconds this reduces the risk of ghosting or blurring to the printed design.