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5 Tips to Turn your Sublimation Hobby into a Real Business!

Well, let’s go on a limb here and say you are much like the vast majority of humans on this planet; 2020 and a good part of 2021 was tough! Period. If your standard response is, “Hey! How are you today?” is “Ugh, same old, same old!” It is time you evaluate a few things!

Even though the world around you is not feeling the best right now, that’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel EPIC! After all, there is more power in positivity than we give credit for!


#BePositive – Taking the First Step Towards a Secure Future!


So, how do you start feeling epic in the first place? Everyone will have a different answer, and let’s put it out there, all of you are right (in your unique way)! But if you were to find one common strategy to beat your #lockdown blues, it is to start doing one thing that you really love!


“A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” – Phyllis McGinley.


Hobbies are amazing little things that can do so much good to you. They help you unwind after a tough day, act as footholds to your creative (often ignored) side, and can bring you happiness in the toughest of times! Be it collecting stamps (the textbook definition of a hobby), doing décor DIYs, or the trendiest of them all, sublimating designs, hobbies can be your positivity beacon during these unprecedented times!


In this blog, we’ll talk about sublimation as a process, answer a few common FAQs, and give you five tips that’ll help you turn your hobby into a profitable business! Happy reading!


Sublimation as a Hobby – The basics


For those of you who already know about this latest printing technique, you may skip ahead to the FAQs (but we’d love for you to read along) but for the rest who are new to the technique, let’s discuss the basics of sublimation before we move on to the business aspect.


What is Sublimation? 

In the context of printing, sublimation is the technique of transferring solids (inks) onto other solid surfaces (substrates). Simply put, when you want a tumbler or a mug with your favorite design on it, you use sublimation printing to get it done!

How Does Sublimation Work? 

As you probably know, transferring solids to solids seems like a witchy affair, but with special ink, paper and printers, and some serious amount of heat, you can get your design ready for sublimation.

But there’s one more important thing here. You cannot simply pick out a sipper bottle from the Dollar store and use it for sublimation (PS – Please don’t try this. Lots of people nearly burnt their homes trying!) Sublimation requires special grades of substrates with a coating of polymer or any other non-cloth solid surface like glass. So, even before you begin selecting your design, get the correct sublimation tumbler! They come in various shapes and sizes (from baby bottles to gym sipper bottles), and there’s one for every occasion.

Common FAQs About Sublimation 

Now that you know the basics, let’s move on to some common questions every DIYer has about the process.

#1 Can I use my regular printer for printing sublimation designs? 

No. As mentioned, sublimation is a special type of printing where solids directly become gas and then become solids again (it’s all about Chemistry!). Since there is no liquid interface, a regular printer (which uses liquid mediums) won’t make the cut. You need sublimation printers, inks, and papers.

#2 What is a tumbler heat press? 

It takes enormous amounts of heat to transfer a design paper to your object. You do this by baking the object with the design wrapped around it inside special heating systems called presses. It is best to invest in a good tumbler heat press if you wish to achieve flawless results.

#3 Why does my design chip off in places? 

There can be two reasons for this. 1) You did not wrap the print paper tight enough around your tumbler (as tight as you possibly can). 2) You did not bake the tumble evenly from all sides. A good rule of thumb is to keep one side for 2 minutes, then turn left. Keep it for 2 minutes and then turn all the way right for another 2 minutes.

#4 Where can I buy blank tumblers from? 

As long as the tumbler has a polymer coating and is heat resistant, you can get it from anywhere you like. There are several online stores available. Just make sure you read their description and reviews before buying.

Pro tip – It is best to buy in bulk because you will initially ruin a few! But hey, you can always call them abstract art and gift to your loved ones!

Pro Tips to Turn your Sublimation Hobby into a Business


  • Practice till you become a pro. Like all other crafts, sublimation also takes tons of practice and patience. Don’t lose either of these.
  • Create a unique design statement. There are many other talented people in the business, so create a unique value for your potential customers.
  • Invest in good equipment. Sub-par quality of tumblers or any other essentials will give shoddy results and end up costing you more money in the long run.
  • Connect with your client base. Be open to suggestions, customizations, and critiques. It is the mantra for happy and returning customers.
  • Reduce carbon footprint by recycling and upcycling material. Your customers and the planet will thank you for this!

Closing Thoughts 

COVID-19 may have changed the world as we know it, but it shouldn’t break your spirit. The trick is to find that one reason that’s good enough to compel you to step out of your ‘zone’ zone (Sheldon fans, hit the like button, already!) and take charge of your life. Use all this indoor time to pick up the latest craze – sublimation and turn it into a profiting business.

Here’s hoping this blog will inspire you to start your sublimation business today. Happy printing!


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