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Unread 06-16-2014, 01:40 AM   #1
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Getting Started With Dye Sub

So, all of a sudden I see everyone talking about this dye sub thing, and I really want to explore it myself, but I notice there isn't really a lot of information about it or how to get started doing (for bodysuits and cosplay related things) it on the internet. Does anyone have any advice as to how to create patterns/alter templates/just generally DO dye sub stuff?
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Unread 06-16-2014, 01:28 PM   #2
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The full term is "dye sublimation heat transfer imprinting", or just "dye sublimation". I'm putting that there in case somebody wants to do more research.

It's printing technology and it's full-spectrum, so the way you create the image isn't really important: size is important since it's limited by the printer. You'll need a specialized printer and specialized ink and paper to create transfer sheets, which are applied to the surface and permanently bonded in a heat press.

Overview (sales site, not impartial): https://www.dyetrans.com/what-is-sublimation.php

So, if you want to do this at home, it looks like you're going to be spending a not-inconsiderable amount of money on equipment.
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Unread 06-16-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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Thanks Mango, I had NO idea what dye sub was. I appreciate the information!
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Unread 06-17-2014, 07:18 PM   #4
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I was wondering if the technology had changed enough to make dyesub profitable to the home cosplayer. Good to see that it's still not.

I used to work in a dye sub shop that did large-format printing (think 20-foot tall banners and signs) so I know rather a lot about how it works. But it's never been cost-effective for hobby use. Seeing as the most basic of tabletop-mounted swing-arm presses are still $1500 at least, dye sub is even harder to get into for hobbyists than building a vacform table.

And honestly, I don't know how well it would catch on long-term. The fabrics needed to take dye sub ink and the super-high temperatures of the presses tend to be really unpleasant to wear. I have a couple of lycra pieces I had printed at the shop when I worked there, and they're nice, but anything else? I'd never let that stuff touch my skin, no way. They need to have a high poly content - back in the day only 100% poly would survive the heat press but that might be changing. They even had to have special t-shirts woven with a polyester outside shell in order to print on t-shirts, they feel gross to wear!
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