Digital Design Resources for Sublimation Beginners
Hey Crafty Friends!!!
For the month of July, I wanted to put together a list of resources that I think you all will find helpful! Some free, some paid, just all of the things that I love, use, and think you need to know about too!
Are you ready to learn something new and exciting? Or maybe you're stumped and don't know where to start.
Sublimation printing is a super cool technique that lets you transfer custom designs onto different materials, such as clothing, coffee mugs, tumblers, signs, and so many other products!
Really, the sky is the limit...
You can create gorgeous prints that are full-color, detailed, and long-lasting. They won’t fade or crack over time, so you can enjoy them for years to come but...
What do you need to get started?
Where do you get ready to print designs??
How can you get started customizing and designing your own images to print???
I get this last question from crafters new and seasoned all the time. You might find it overwhelming to get started or think it's too hard or expensive, but it’s really not.
The most common thing I hear is "I am just not that great at technology". Would you believe me if I said neither am I? And the good news is you don't have to be either. Trust me! You can do this!!
There are resources available for every budget and talent level.
What you need to get started with sublimation.
The best places to get ready to print sublimation designs.
Some of the best graphic design resources for sublimation beginners
So grab a cup of coffee (or your cozy beverage of choice) and let’s get started! You're going to be a sublimation junkie in no time at all!
New Sublimation for Beginner's blog post will be available here next week, be sure to join our email list or check back for details!! We will go over the pros and cons, information on pricing, and my personal recommendations.
Want to try out sublimation prior to investing a ton of cash?
Don't have the budget for expensive ink, printer, or paper?
You can avoid the start-up costs for a sublimation printer, ink, and paper. Get started with ready-to-press sublimation transfers: https://www.etsy.com/shop/madeperfectinlove
Sublimation ink: The brand of ink you choose is going to depend on the printer you decide on. Options include: Sawgrass sublimation ink, Epson sublimation ink, Hiipoo sublimation ink, Cosmos sublimation ink, Printers Jack Ink and the list goes on...
Heat Press: You can use your Cricut EasyPress to get started, but we recommend a traditional heat press for long-term use because it is much easier to regulate the press and the temperature.
For mugs and tumblers: For mugs and tumblers you have two options.
Option #1: a mug/ tumbler press
The Cricut Mug Press works for sublimation mugs! You can also use a traditional heat press with attachments/ tumbler press — you can even use a convection oven or air fryer for things like tumblers and mugs!
Option #2: Convection oven and shrink wrap
We go over both of these options in more detail in next week's post!
A product to print on, a shirt, mug, tumbler, sign, pillow, coaster, or anything else that is made of polyester or has a polyester coating (more to come on sublimation products to press next week)
Once you have these essentials, you can start creating your own products and designs using the graphic design resources we are about to go over!
If you're brand new to sublimation, we recommend learning one new thing at a time. Starting with ready-to-print designs will free up your time to focus on becoming familiar with the ins and outs of the sublimation process before moving on to creating designs from scratch.
So, we will start there.
1. Free Facebook Groups:
Did you know that there are entire Facebook groups dedicated to giving out free files? Be mindful of the law! Not everything or even most of the things shared on Facebook are legal to use in your business, but I run a free design group on Facebook where I create designs to share monthly. Here is the link: www.facebook.com/groups/freesublimationfiles/
Creative Fabrica is a platform that offers millions of graphics, fonts, crafts, and more for your creative projects. You can also find over 71,000 sublimation designs on Creative Fabrica, ranging from clipart, backgrounds, patterns, quotes, mockups, and more. You can also access free sublimation designs and bundles weekly on Creative Fabrica. You can use Creative Fabrica’s sublimation designs for personal and commercial use.
Even though I create a ton of my own designs this membership site is my absolute favorite for ready-to-print designs. It has paid for itself over and over again. As I am writing this, they are hosting their $4.99/ month plan again for Christmas in July! If you already have a Creative Fabrica account and pay more than that, you can sign up and get the new lower price!!!!! Check it out here: Creative Fabrica
There are a huge number of websites including our own that offer free design work. I'll list a few options here. We always recommend proceeding with caution because not all websites are secure/ safe to download from.
Creative Fabrica: They offer weekly freebies that include PNG files, fonts, mock-ups, etc. and though we recommend it, you do not have to have a membership to purchase individual designs at great prices through their site.
Etsy: Etsy is a great place to find digital designs for sublimation printing. There are many shops on Etsy that sell high-quality digital designs. We sell our designs on Etsy and are continually growing our shop!
Shop Made Perfect In Love Now: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MPILDigitalDownloads
We provide custom designs made to order, but you can find designs for any occasion, theme, and niche on Etsy.
Misc. websites: Via Google search, you'll find there are a ton of sites that offer free designs. I have previously used sites like pngtree.com, but cannot vouch for their safety/ security.
Want to learn to create digital designs from scratch? Yay, you!
There is so much to learn. For the purpose of today's post, we will stick to my recommendation for beginners and dive into details in future posts.
Canva: I recommend all aspiring beginner designers to start with Canva. Hands down, it is the most intuitive option for someone with zero graphic design knowledge!
2. PicMonkey: This is another program I've heard a little about. From what I understand, it is similar to Canva. I've not personally used it.
3. Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator and Photoshop):
Beginners are not ready to use these programs in my opinion, but I am including these in this post because I got started designing using them. It was difficult to learn, but I love Adobe Illustrator so I am throwing it out there for those who know they'll stick with graphic design and want to learn 1 program well. This is the one!!
4. Inkscape: Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics software that is similar to Adobe Illustrator. It allows you to create scalable graphics that won’t lose quality when resized or printed. You can use Inkscape to draw shapes, paths, text, gradients, patterns, filters, and more. You can also import and export various file formats, including SVG, EPS, PNG, PDF, and TIFF.
5. GIMP: GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics software that is similar to Adobe Photoshop. It allows you to edit photos and create detailed images with layers, masks, brushes, tools, filters, and effects. You can also import and export various file formats, including JPEG, PNG, PSD, PDF, and TIFF
I hope this blog post has given you some ideas and inspiration for your sublimation graphic design adventure. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with your crafty friends. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks on sublimation printing. Thank you for reading! 😊