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I KNOW that this is supposed to be a t-shirt forum, btu this is the only active forum that i could find that might be able to help me!!

My husband has a photography website, and he does pet photography. Well, we all know crazy pet people LOVE hteir mouse pads, mugs, and other things.. The issue is that i searched high and low for a printer that would do my printing and i could NOT find one for a reasonable price. My issue is that all printers want to run a load of 10 or more items with the same prints.. Our stuff doesnt sell like that. ONE family commissions a shoot and usually gets ONE mousepad, ONE mug, ect.. each of different prints.. So even though we might purchase 50 mugs a month form the printer, they will be of 50 different images..

Anyways, I am looking into purchasing a combo press that i can do my own mousepads and mugs on.. it will give me more control anyways..

my MAIN issue is with the printing.. HOW do i print my own images? What kind of printer is best, and what paper??

I heard conflicting things about inkjet vs. laser jet.. water slide vs. rub on.. I also wasnt sure if a blank mug was any different than a plain white ceramic mug you might find at a kitchen store??

Basically, i am trying to learn more about the printing process.. how much is the ink? Do i have to do anything to my printer other than put a new ink cartridge in it?? Do they sell the cartridges for different printer models with the ink in it? or do you have to inject your own?

thanks so much for your help!
 

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There is a alot of info here for both. I dont do mugs but from what I gather alot of people love sublimination for mugs, and I see alot of people use inkjet for their mousepads.

Here are a few results I found with the search box at the top of the forum, using the term mugs and mousepads.
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/dye-sublimation/t52248.html

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/dye-sublimation/t24055.html.

If you use similar terms such as dye sub mugs or something like that it will give you many more results and the information you are looking for. Hope this helps and good luck in your new venture :)

Welcome to the forums :)
 

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check out bestblanks.com, they helped me out when I was more confused than you. I now own a sublijet printer that I use for printing mugs and mouse pads. They also helped me out with a heat press. They are very helpful. Take your time and just don't rush into anything. They also work off of commission and will ask you every time who you were working with.
 

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I KNOW that this is supposed to be a t-shirt forum, btu this is the only active forum that i could find that might be able to help me!!
No worries.. welcome to the forum, and this forum does those things too. :)

My husband has a photography website, and he does pet photography. Well, we all know crazy pet people LOVE hteir mouse pads, mugs, and other things.. The issue is that i searched high and low for a printer that would do my printing and i could NOT find one for a reasonable price.
If you have the time to put into producing these items, you'll do alot better printing these things yourself anyway. It's really fun, too. :)

My issue is that all printers want to run a load of 10 or more items with the same prints.. Our stuff doesnt sell like that. ONE family commissions a shoot and usually gets ONE mousepad, ONE mug, ect.. each of different prints.. So even though we might purchase 50 mugs a month form the printer, they will be of 50 different images..
That's the perfect reason to be doing your own 1'offs (single item orders). Not only can you boost your sales, but you'll be able to use one that one photo and cross promote your items... awesome, I'm happy for you guys, and hope this all works out for you. JCPenney's offers a ton of little do-dads you can add to your order. That stuff really adds up. :)


Anyways, I am looking into purchasing a combo press that i can do my own mousepads and mugs on..
There are combo presses that people own on here, if you search the term "combo press" you will find more info.

A factor or two to consider when thinking of buying a "combo press", things I've read from people who wished they hadn't bought one, after they were using it:

* If/when the press breaks down, you are completely down. If you have seperate presses for mugs and tshirts/mouse pads, then if something goes down, you are still producing the other.
* There is a cool down, wait time, between attachments. Slows down production time. If you have two presses, you can have more than one thing cooking at a time, or two people processing orders at one time.

my MAIN issue is with the printing.. HOW do i print my own images? What kind of printer is best, and what paper??
If you add tshirts, there are two processes you are going to use. One is called "inkjet heat transfer", for the tshirts, and the other is called "dye sublimation", or "dye sub", for the mugs, coasters, tiles, anything that is hard surfaced.

Your "mouse pads" can go dye sub or inkjet heat transfer depending on what mouse pads you buy.

Each process, dye sub and inkjet HT (heat transfer) uses their own inks and papers.

The mugs will need dye sublimation inks and papers that go with them. You'll need mugs with a "special coating" that will accept the dye sub ink.

The tee shirts would need an inkjet heat transfer paper, and "pigment ink" (most used on the forum, althought some use "Claria" ink with great success.)

tshirts light/whites = "Jetprosofstretch" or "JPSS" is a great paper (tshirtsupplies.com or New Milford Photo - recommended in that order... )

tshirts dark colors = "Ironall Dark" (new milford photo) or "Jet Wear" = tshirtsupplies.com.

. how much is the ink?
The pigment inks are alot cheaper then the dye sub inks, which is one reason you might want to consider doing your mouse pads in inkjet heat transfer.

Do i have to do anything to my printer other than put a new ink cartridge in it??
No. You'll probably need two printers, one for dye sub and one for pigment. The epsons are good for each use. There are refurbished printers on sale in the clearance at Epson.com right now. I think someone said today is the last day. I use the refurbs with no problems. They work great.

You'll most likely want to use a "bulk ink system" or "CIS" (continuous ink system) for your pigment, or at least a "refill cart" set. Bulk ink saves the most $$ but clogs easier, re-fill carts save less $, but do not clog as much. Using Epson's carts is really expensive way to keep the ink supply going.


I don't use the dye sub process myself, but there are folks who can tell you what supplier they use that they like. There is not a big variety of dye sub inks, just suppliers. Shop service and price I would think. Someone actually mentioned there is really only one ink out there as "Sawgrass" has bought everyone else out?? Not sure on all that drama.. lol. .. but you may find that info coming up as you shop dye sub ink. Mark/DAGuide knows alot about dye sub, as do some other members. You'll be able to find that info easy enough. There is a hybred printer out there the "Epson 4800" and now the "Epson 4880", that is one printer for both processes, if money is not an object, that may be one you want to consider. If you travel, it is said two seperate printers work better for that.


Do they sell the cartridges for different printer models with the ink in it? or do you have to inject your own?
You can buy the "Epson cartridges", if you buy an "Epson printer", but that's an expensive way to do it. Or you can use the refill carts or a bulk ink system like I mentioned. Look at "inkjetcarts.us" and "shopdyesub.com" for a good look at the products that are out there. Both are good suppliers that are well thougth of here. :)

thanks so much for your help!
You're welcome and good luck to you... :)

I put alot of terms in quotes for you. If you would like additional information, sometimes it is hard to know "what" to search for. If you want more info on anything I've mentioned, those quotes will yield you good additional information to read. Kind of helps keep you moving along as you become familiar with the site and the terminology. Good luck. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wow.. i cant thank you enough for taking that much time to explain things to me!!

I feel pretty confident now when it comes to purchasing.

I do want a combo, and i know there are pitfalls, but like i said - we will be doing one offs and we would be LUCKY right if we sell a few a month.. We are going to be doing more weddings than anything, and they dont get a lot of that stuff.. its the cat/dog people that buy them..

I definitely will get a cartridge set (not the bulk system yet) I have been doing my own cartridges for a long time anyways just to save money..

So just want to clarify.. PIGMENT is for heat press t-shirts.. SUB. is for harder surfaces like mugs and such..

so.. what do they use for printing on plastics?? just curious?

Maybe buying a plastics press and a combo might be a good way to go.
 

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wow.. i cant thank you enough for taking that much time to explain things to me!!

I feel pretty confident now when it comes to purchasing.

I do want a combo, and i know there are pitfalls, but like i said - we will be doing one offs and we would be LUCKY right if we sell a few a month.. We are going to be doing more weddings than anything, and they dont get a lot of that stuff.. its the cat/dog people that buy them..
Once you start to add these products, I believe your business will grow on that side. I had to buy "gifts" for the readers at our wedding (3 of them) and countless other people, including a wedding party of 14.

As our wedding thank you gifts to wedding party, we did give the biz to our photog. We gave a double photo holder, with a pic of my hubby and me on one side and the wedding party on the other. It was $30 a pop. Now, he got our sale, but I am sure by having nothing lower priced he lost alot of potential sales.

You can easily offer tiles (very nice momentos), plates, another nice gift, in various price range and try to keep those sales with you as well.

You could try to keep all the sales with you for all of their thank you trinkets they will need to give out. Just an idea.

Another reason, bachelor, bachlorette parties. If they could come to you for personalized tees to wear for the bacholrette party, or give you photos from the big night out to put on key chains, or mugs, or tee shirt for them, I think you could draw them in. Anyway, not even sure if you want to build that side of it that much or not. But I really think if you have it available, folks will buy.

You are also able to make Christmas ornaments when you do dye sub. What new couple would not want to have their own wedding pic on a Christmas ornament for their first tree? You also own the copyright to the photos, so you are the only one who can legally produce such and item. Remind them to come back with babies pictures for babie's first ornament for the proud parents and grandma and grandpa.. oh man, they will have trouble not throwing money at you, I think!! haha... hey.. why have I not set up one of my printers as dye sub yet??? Now I think I am the one who is crazy. Haha, just kidding, but the dye sub ink is expensive, but you can see, it presents alot of opportunities that other print methods don't. Okay, probably too much info, but if you were interested in it, glad I wrote it for you. :)

(Rhinestone "Bride" shirts, also produced with a heat press.)

I definitely will get a cartridge set (not the bulk system yet) I have been doing my own cartridges for a long time anyways just to save money..
Yes, it struck me again that your husband is a photographer... he probably has printers with some sort of ink that will work for the inkjet heat transfer part.

So just want to clarify.. PIGMENT is for heat press t-shirts.. SUB. is for harder surfaces like mugs and such..
Pretty much. Pigment adheres to the cotton fibers in cotton shirts (100% cotton, to 50/50 cotton poly blends).

Dye sub is for the hard surfaces, that have a special coating to accept it, but you can do fabric as well. The only catch is the fabric has to be man made. 100% polyester shirts would be needed for the best results, and poly shirts are expensive. That is why folks stick with the cotton. That said, folks do make shirts out of dye sub with poly shirts.

The dye sub turns to a gas under the heat of the press, and the poly shirts and dye sub become one. The fabric is then 'dyed"... soft, no hand/feel of it on the surface.

so.. what do they use for printing on plastics?? just curious?
I was just reading about this recently. Someone wanted to know how to dye sub on plastic. here is the thread:
https://www.t-shirtforums.com/dye-sublimation/t51786.html#post306128

Maybe buying a plastics press and a combo might be a good way to go.
Not sure what that means... :eek:

Do you mean one regular press, and one combo press?

Take a look here:
Sublimatable Products, Production Systems, Sublimation Inks, Heat Press Machines - Order Online! - DyeTrans.com

Open that link. Do you see the word Conde in the upper left hand corner? Go to the blue box right unde it, and click the drop down box for the list of sublimatable items. That will give you an idea of what can be made with that process. Looking at the site and the supplies they sell will give you an idea what you'll need.

Also check other suppliers like Coastal, or just google "sublimation supplies"... Good luck to you, hope it all works out. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
again.. freaking THANKS!!

A lot of the marketing things that you mentioned were DEFINITELY things that ran through my mind as i was thinking of all i could do with a press and printer!!

I love the way you think.. its a lot like me!

I'm gong to read about the plastics stuff now.. thats a place that i havent touched yet.
 
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