How to Press Sublimation Plaques and Awards

Commemorate special events and awards with our high-quality sublimation plaques! These plaques are perfect for sports teams, employee recognition, or honoring a special hero. Pressing these sublimation blanks can be easy when done correctly. That’s why we’re providing you with these tips on getting professional results while avoiding common mistakes.

We used the shield award plaque, our small format Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 printer, and Image Right R paper.

Design with Templates

The nice thing about sublimation is that you can use any computer program to set up your design. However, for odd shapes like our shield plaque, it’s best to use a template. We offer templates in PDF and EPS formats.

For more information on how to use templates, click on one of the following programs to check out our Youtube video!
Adobe Photoshop CS
Adobe Photoshop Elements 12
Corel Draw X4

For Sawgrass Virtuoso users, try out Creative Studio, which you can find on the Sawgrass website! Creative Studio makes everything so much easier by providing a template in which you can easily upload your own image. Check out our webinar video on how to use this online program.

Get on With Printing

Don’t forget to print your design in reverse. The Powerdriver (the color correction driver) for Windows automatically mirrors the image, but if you are a Mac user, you may have to do that manually depending on your sublimation printing system. if you are using Image Right print on the bright white side of the paper!

Pre-Press To Avoid a Mess!

Any hard surface sublimation blank should be pre-pressed to eliminate moisture. Heat your press to 400° F, place your blank on the heat press face up, and cover it with a protective silicone sheet or polyester fabric. We don’t recommend using Teflon for this step as it traps moisture. Close and press for about 40 seconds.

If you see a lot of steam or moisture collecting anywhere on the lower platen, press again for additional 40 seconds.

Trim Your Design and Line Up

The award plaques are fairly thick and have a beveled edge, which can sometimes diminish visibility when aligning the design. We recommend trimming the paper close to the outline of the shape. Put the paper face up on a flat surface and align your plaque. Hold both the paper and the plaque firmly while you carefully tape them together for added security with thermal tape.

Press Away!

Now that you have your design taped to your plaque, place the blank face up in your heat press. The instructions for our MDF Hardboard Plaques made by Unisub are as follows:

Temperature: 400° F
Time: 30-45 seconds
Pressure: Medium (4-5 bars)

We pressed ours for 40 seconds which resulted in a perfect edge to edge sublimation! Peel away the paper immediately after the time has elapsed. Be careful to not shift the paper while the blank is still hot as that may cause ghosting and blurry image.

Proudly Display

The finished plaque should look flawless throughout. If there are any spots that look lighter than others or faded edges, try increasing your pressure and double checking that your temperature is consistent on your heat press platen.

Stock up on sublimation award plaques today!   

Do you have finished plaques you want to share? Tag us on Instagram (@coastalbusinesssupplies) and use #InspireMeCoastal!

How to Create Multi-Colored Shirts with Heat Transfer Vinyl

Getting started with garment decorating can be a headache at first, especially when presented with so many heat transfer options.That’s why we are showing you one of many solutions for creating an intricate design with screen-print softness using heat transfer vinyl on a 100 percent cotton shirt.

Follow along as we show you how to use Xpress Cut heat transfer vinyl, one of our favorite vinyl brands for T-shirts. Xpress Cut is also a great product for new businesses due to its easy weeding capability with a sticky backing. This vinyl can be cut with any cutter but in this case, we are using the Graphtec CE6000 24″ vinyl cutter. Our Graphtec line of cutters are perfect for small and large jobs alike! They are incredibly fast, quiet and easy to set up.

In this tutorial, we are using Graphtec’s Cutting Master 3 plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CC. If you already have your design ready, feel free to skip to step 2!

Step One: preparing the design for cutting

Here we have our finished design in Adobe Illustrator CC. Illustrator is our favorite tool for creating vinyl designs, but Corel Draw and Graphtec Studio are alternatives. We chose to color the design to match the vinyl we are going to use. Doing this can save you headaches when it comes to cutting and applying the vinyl. Now it’s time to send our design to Cutting Master!

Open Cutting Master through Illustrator by going to File and clicking on Cutting Master 3 (or the version of Cutting Master that you have installed). This will open your design in a new program.

The Cutting Master plug-in pulls the design from Illustrator in its original vector format with the separate colors we previously set. The program automatically recognizes that there are two different colors and makes it incredibly easy to toggle between them. Not every program can do this. That’s why we love Cutting Master! Now it’s time to cut!

Tip: Don’t forget to mirror the design (flip horizontally) because heat transfer vinyl is always cut on the back side and later placed upright on the garment. This can be done in Illustrastrator or inside Cutting Master. In Cutting Master 3, go to Page Window and select your Mirror setting from the drop down under the Orientation section.

Step Two: time to cut!

Before sending the design to the vinyl cutter, we need to set the blade depth and speed correctly for this specific vinyl media to get optimal results. We used the following settings for Xpress Cut on Graphtec CE6000:

Speed: 20 cm/s
Depth: 14

Load the vinyl with the back adhesive side (usually the duller matte side) facing up.

Tip: Perform a test cut if your machine allows it prior to sending your design to the cutter. Over time, the cutting blade can dull and the depth setting may have to be increased.

Step Three: weed away

Grab your favorite weeding tool (here’s ours) and weed away the excess vinyl. This stage can be sometimes the most time-consuming part of the process.

Tip: When designing, the more connected your lines are with each other, the easier it will be to weed.

Step Four: Pressing Stage

Xpress Cut is easy to layer and requires little time and low temperature, making it a great heat transfer vinyl to use on cotton, polyester, rayon and other blends. We are placing our design on a dark 100 percent cotton shirt.

We are applying the orange vinyl first because it outlines the entire design and makes it easy for the next layer to line up. Set up the heat press machine to 305 – 310 F° when using 100 percent cotton shirts.

Use the following settings to press the design:

  1. First layer – Three to five seconds with medium pressure, peel hot
  2. Second layer (final layer) – Ten seconds with medium pressure, peel hot

For the best pressing settings for your material, visit our Xpress Cut support page!

Helpful Tip: Use a foam pillow underneath or inside your shirt to raise the transfer area for a smooth, flat surface. Seams, zippers, wrinkles and other imperfections can throw off the pressure and cause the vinyl to peel later on.

Finished!

After pressing the design, wait 24 hours prior to washing. The finished garment is ready to be worn for many years to come!

Order some Xpress Cut vinyl today and start making custom vinyl shirts with screen print-like softness. 

Do you have awesome creations you want to share with us? Use #InspireMeCoastal and tag us (@coastalbusinesssupplies) on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our channel!

Section 179 Deduction Tax Code

What is the Section 179 Deduction?

The Section 179 deduction was a tax code created to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves. Typically, when your business buys certain items of equipment, it gets to write them off a little at a time through “depreciation” – it spreads the total deduction out across the “useful” years of the equipment. A bit complicated, and certainly not as appealing as deducting the amount all together.

However, Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during that specific tax year. All businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease equipment valued at less than $2,000,000 in new or used business equipment during  the tax year of 2016 should qualify for the Section 179 deduction.

What items qualify?

Most any “tangible good” for primarily business use should qualify – though there are restrictions on certain things such as vehicles purchased for business use. Also, a necessary requirement for the tax 179 deduction code to apply, the equipment must be placed “into service” during the 2016 tax year – so ideally, any large equipment purchases that may require special delivery or installation should be placed ahead of time to allow for the equipment to be in service within the tax year window as well.

For a full list of qualifying equipment and restrictions, this list is a great resource for more information.

How much could Section 179 save me?

The Section 179 deduction can have a real impact on your small business, and greatly lower the “true” cost of your new equipment. On the Section179.org website, there is a very convenient and easy-to-use calculator that gives you a peek at what those savings could be. Click here to enter your own potential purchase amounts to see how much Section 179 could save you this year!

 

Epson F6200

Epson F7200

Epson F9200

Equipment Cost: $8,495

Equipment Cost: $15,995

Equipment Cost: $25,995

First Year Deduction: $8,495

First Year Deduction: $15,995

First Year Deduction: $25,995

Cash Savings: $2,973.25
(assuming a 35% tax bracket)

Cash Savings: $5,598.25
(assuming a 35% tax bracket)

Cash Savings: $9,098.25
(assuming a 35% tax bracket)

Lowered Cost of Equipment:

$5,521.75

(after Tax Savings)

Lowered Cost of Equipment:

$10,396.75

(after Tax Savings)

Lowered Cost of Equipment:

$16,896.75

(after Tax Savings)