5 Practical And Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate and appreciate all the mothers and grandmothers out there than to give a personalized gift from the heart that will last a lifetime! It is a great opportunity to create unique custom gifts that can be used daily and can be integrated into the practical everyday life of a woman.

We have compiled a list of sublimation blanks that can be decorated and personalized in many ways from items that compliment an outfit to home goods that bring comfort to any living room.

  1. Charm Bracelets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewelry is a timeless gift idea for any woman, that can be worn daily or for special occasions. Take it up a notch with this Sublimation Silver Charm Bracelet by printing something unique for her on the sublimation aluminum charms that can be attached to the silver chain and switched out throughout the year. Take into consideration her favorite colors and the outfits she wears. Look through some free vector websites for floral, geometric or abstract patterns that match her personality or taste, such as Freepik! Or simply dig through family photos that will warm her heart and bring back loving memories.

2. Canvas Tote Bag

Customization meets practicality with these canvas tote bags! The large bag is sturdy and can fit bulky items easily. It is a convenient gift and a good fit for just about any mom from the beach or pool-goers, the back to college moms, fitness and yoga enthusiasts or simply shopping fashionistas. The 100% white polyester canvas bag is great for full-color sublimation and compatible with any other heat transfer process. Choose from a variety of heat transfer vinyl colors and textures to make your designs pop on our black canvas bag or try out heat transfer paper for more complex designs!

3. Compact Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compact mirrors are useful and lightweight, coming in handy right when you need them. Be it an eyelash in the eye or in need of a quick touch up during a night out without the kids, these mirrors come with a metal sublimation insert and a magnifying side.

4. Decorative Pillow Covers

Bring comfort and coziness to your mom’s heart with custom printed pillow covers.  The 15″ x 15″ canvas pillow case can be sublimation printed with photographs, phrases, drawings and more! Don’t like the canvas texture? For added softness, try out the peach skin pillow cover! Decorative pillows are not only beautiful home accents but also serve as additional comfort in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. This is a must-have item!

5. Kitchen apron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the master chefs and baking divas, a custom apron would be an appreciated gift. The white polyester aprons can be sublimated edge to edge and will not only protect the cook from getting stained and dirty but also complement the wearer’s personality and style with an image or design that nobody else has. It is also a great conversation starter when guests arrive!

10 Best Mates for Your Next Wedding Event

Looking for the best gifts to bring along as your +2 for your next summer wedding? We have the perfect tips on wedding market ideas and inspiration, plus some exclusive resources from our manufacturing partner, Unisub.com, to get you started!

Heart Coaster with Cork Backing

Heart Coaster with Cork Backing

Cost of coaster: $1.31-$1.71

Resale value: $5.00-10.00+

Prepare a monogram set for the new family, complete with engagement portraits, on these perfectly themed heart-shaped coasters. The coasters are MDF hardboard with an absorbent cork backing, and a glossy top sublimation coated surface for high-resolution printing.

 

 

 

Sublimation Foldable Can Coozie with Seams – 12 oz

Sublimation Fabric Coozie - 12 oz
Sublimation Fabric Coozie – 12 oz

Cost of coozie (each): $0.99-$1.23

Resale value: $7.00-13.00+

Themed coozies make the perfect bridal party and reception favors for the laid-back, casual wedding couple! Easy to customize in large quantities, and undeniably fun and functional, coozies make the perfect “why not?” touch to every event!

 

 

 

 

 

Two-Sided Aluminum Keychain – 2.25″ Square

4107_Alum_Square_Wed_LR
Two-Sided Aluminum Keychain – Square Aluminum – 2.25″ x 2.25″

Cost of keychain (each): $1.29-$1.99

Resale value: $6.00-10.00+

Unlock the potential of simple personalized keychains and capitalize on the monogram market with the double-sided aluminum keychain! A durable, inexpensive, and easy product to work with, the keychain is the perfect upsell accessory for a personalization boutique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two-Sided Sublimation Bag Tag for Luggage

Two-Sided Sublimation Bag Tag for Luggage
Two-Sided Sublimation Bag Tag for Luggage

Cost of luggage tag (each): $1.38

Resale value: $7.00-13.00+

For destination weddings, bridal parties, and honeymoons, the bag tag is the quintessential opportunity for an eyecatching extra touch! Easily functional items like bag tags and keychains are not only an opportunity for a simple upsell or package set offering, but they are just as head turning for your customer, which keeps the word of mouth moving!

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Luggage Handle Wraps with Velcro

Soft Luggage Handle Wraps with Velcro
Soft Luggage Handle Wraps with Velcro

Cost of luggage handle wrap (each pair): $2.33

Resale value: $10.00-15.00+

Offer a fully matching luggage accessory set for larger orders with the soft luggage handle wraps! These super-soft handle wraps are the finishing touch to travel in style, and cushion the strain of jet lag and heavy baggage!

 

 

 

 

 

Large Natural Serving Tray Kit

Natural Serving Tray Kit
Natural Serving Tray Kit

Cost of natural serving tray kit (each): $27.26

Resale value: $40.00-$60.00

Make sure this luxurious natural serving tray kit makes its way to the gift table! The handy tray bottom insert is easily imprinted, and then the entire tray assembles quickly for an impressive product that at first glance, doesn’t even seem printable! Available in two sizes, as well as a natural wood or espresso grain finish, the serving tray kit is perfectly paired with customized coasters and mugs, too!

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Border Ornament – Two-Sided (Benelux Design)

Keepsake Two-Sided Ornament - Benelux Design
Keepsake Two-Sided Ornament – Benelux Design

Cost of ornament (each): $2.52-3.10

Resale value: $7.50-12.00+

Creative Border ornament pieces aren’t just for Christmas – they also make extra-classy labels, place markers, give-away keepsakes, and alternative photo display opportunities! Creative Border ornaments have a polished semi-gloss printable sublimation surface that is two-side customizable, and are made of a strong and light finished aluminum.

 

 

 

 

Plastic Door Hanger – 4″ x 9″

Sublimation Plastic Printable Door Hanger
Sublimation Plastic Printable Door Hanger

Cost of door hanger (each): $3.47-4.50

Resale value: $7.50-12.00+

Whip up a gag bridal gift, or a fun touch to a group in a destination wedding with a custom printed door hanger! The plastic door hangers are double-sided printable and composed of a durable, glossy plastic substrate.

Bonus idea: For the ultimate fashionista who’s also incredibly organized, trendy printed door hangers also make great clothes rack label/separators!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic Heart Sublimation Magnet

Plastic Heart Sublimation Magnet

Cost of magnet (each): $1.04-2.59

Resale value: $5.00-7.50+

Create a lasting impression with customized printed save-the-dates on easy promotional items like magnets! These glossy sublimation plastic substrates come complete with self-adhesive magnet backings, and can be full-color printed with photos, wedding information, and more easily with sublimation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sublimation Hardboard Jigsaw Puzzle – Heart – 23 pieces

Hardboard Sublimation Heart Jigsaw PuzzleCost of puzzle (each): $7.52-9.48

Resale value: $15.00-25.00+

This upscale twist on the classic jigsaw puzzle offers some unique personalization opportunities! The hardboard surface has a glossy white sublimation printable coating, and also features fun nested ‘heart’ pieces within the 23 piece set. They make a fun party favor for the kid’s table at the reception!

Ink 101: What is all this ink, anyway?


With all of the different technology in the garment and apparel decorating industry, it is easy to get lost in the midst of the hundreds of printers and inks available for use. From solvent to sublimation, the terminology can leave a lot of people confused. Having worked with a lot of these inks ourselves, we want to offer some clarity and break it down to a simplified description of each ink system and its pros and cons.

Click to skip to a certain section…
Inkjet Laser –  Sublimation –  Solvent –  Direct-to-Garment

 

Aqueous Inkjet Inks

These inks are water-based, but most people know them as just regular inkjet inks. All office and professional inkjet printers come with this type of ink which is contained in cartridges with a certain pigment to water ratio which results in liquid ink. The ink is deposited on the paper during the printing process, and once finished printing, the water evaporates leaving only pigment on the paper. The four basic colors are CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) with some printers using additional colors. What is not as common knowledge is that there are two categories of inkjet inks: Dye-based and Pigment-based.

Dye-based inkjet inks are the most common inks that come with the average inkjet printer. The pigment is fully dissolved in water inside the cartridge.. These inks are technically not as ideal for heat transfer paper garment applications as they tend to run more easily under wet conditions, but are great for daily print jobs for your home or business such as documents, indoor displays, posters, or fine art photographic prints due to their vibrancy and true to color image reproduction.

Pigment-based inkjet inks, also sometimes called UV inks, have larger pigment particles that are insoluble and are suspended in less water,  which makes them more ideal for more waterproof solutions such as heat transfer papers for garment decorating, window/outdoor displays, posters, decals, photographic prints, etc. The prints do not run when they come in contact with water but can fade and break down over time after repeated washing (specifically with heat transfer papers) or prolonged outdoor exposure. They are UV-resistant which AAA_1919means they can be exposed to UV light while the colors remain stable. Due to the nature of these inks and the way the light reflects off the pigment particles, they sometimes appear more muted in vibrancy than dye-based. A lot of the Epson inkjet models, such as the workforce series (we use Epson WF-7010 printer), already come with pigment inks, but it is a good idea to double check with the manufacturer.

Note: These are not to be confused with “UV-curable inks”, which require exposure to a very strong UV light to be cured onto the media.

 

 

Aqueous Dye-Based Ink Aqueous Pigment Ink
PROS:
  • Lower Cost
  • Brighter/more vibrant print
  • More waterproof solution that will not run in contact with water
  • UV-resistant that promotes color stability when exposed to bright light
  • Great for heat transfer paper applications
CONS:
  • Not waterproof/may run in contact with water
  • Not UV-resistant/ may fade over time due to sunlight exposure
  • Can be prone to clogging if left to dry inside printer
  • Higher cost
  • Color may appear more muted/ not as vibrant as dye-based ink
  • Can be prone to clogging if left to dry inside printer

 


 

Laser Toner

The second most popular method for every day printing is laser printing which in fact does not use ink, but rather a very fine powder called “toner”. The toner is contained in large cartridges in the printer and is deposited on the paper through either laser or LED technology.  Then the paper runs through a fuser which uses heat to fuse the pigment in place. Most laser printers use the CMYK colors, but recent advances in technology now allow for select few printers to use white toner instead of black, such as our OKI 920WT and OKI 711WT models.

Toner, unlike most other types of inks, does not use liquid in any way which makes it a very waterproof solution, but is still prone to fading over time. Because toner requires heat to be permanently cured in place, for those who are in the heat transfer paper business, it is crucial to have a printer with fuser that runs no hotter than 350F or else the paper adhesive can melt and jam. This is also why the compatibility of papers and printers is difficult to guarantee and always requires testing to ensure the paper will run smoothly through the printer. With the market constantly growing, in recent years manufacturers have started building printers with heat transfers in mind. Our OKI printers have been tested and are warrantied with most of our heat transfer papers.

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PROS: CONS:
  • Waterproof
  • Requires little to no maintenance as toner does not clog
  • Faster print speed for high volume printing
  • Toner usually lasts longer
  • Costs significantly less per-print
  • Laser printers not compatible with all papers, especially some heat transfer papers
  • Higher cost for full color and photographic printers
  • Bulkier/larger cartridges and printers
  • Not always ideal for quality fine art prints

 


 

Dye-Sublimation Ink

Dye-sublimation ink, while also water-based, is a much different type of ink than other typical printing solutions. Sublimation ink is printed on special sublimation paper (similar in look/feel to thicker copy paper) which releases the ink once it is heat activated in the press, turning it from solid to gas while bypassing the liquid stage.

It is compatible with a select few existing small format printer models, such as the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 and SG800 printers, the Epson Artisan 1430, and the older Ricoh SG3110DN and SG7100DN. It is also available for some wide format Epson and Mutoh printer models for those who seek high production, larger printing and high cost savings (lower cost for ink overall). There are so few models available because it is a special ink that also requires specific color correction software, and that is available for these select printer platforms for greatest performance consistency. Older formulations of sublimation ink, such as those for Epson printers, have a higher water to dye ratio, which makes them more susceptible to drying up and clogging the nozzles if not used daily, but are the only small format inks that offer a bulk-system option for higher volume printing and lower cost. The newer Sublijet R and Sublijet HD inks for Ricoh and Virtuoso printers are reformulated into a gel-like substance, which uses less water, preventing clogs when printer is not being used daily, however only come in cartridges and are not available for a bulk system.

The process of sublimation transfer printing and pressing to a product is usually done at around 370-400F depending on the item and the process ends as soon as heat is no longer applied and item starts cooling down. Sublimation ink dyes the garment/item on a molecular level rather than being transferred just on top, which results in a permanent solution under normal conditions. Since the dye can be re-activated at really high heat at any point, it is important to transfer a full design from a single sheet of paper in a one-step process. The ink can be reactivated at temperatures as low as 340F, and sometimes even lower, and could stain equipment or already pressed items.

Because sublimation is an additive color process, and it only DYES the color of the item, it is compatible only with white or very light substrates, as the color of a non-white shirt will bleed into the image (and black will block an image out entirely, so sublimation onto black t-shirts is not possible at all). It is also best compatible with 100% polyester garments and polyester-coated items . Other blends of polyester will work as well, but only the polyester content will be dyed – ie: 50/50 blends of poly/cotton will turn out half as bright as a 100% polyester garment. This method does not work on natural fibers (cotton, rayon, wool, etc) as it will wash out completely.  It will not transfer on non-coated items.

 

 

PROS: CONS:
  • Permanent transfers that last as long as the garment/item
  • Easy and fast set up and transfer process
  • Transfers realistic full-color photographs and designs with high detail
  • No texture of its own, easy to transfer on variety of coated items such as mugs coasters, mouse pads, ornaments and more
  •  High cost on inks
  • only compatible with 100% polyester or sublimation coated items that are white/light
  • Requires some design software/printer set up for proper color control

To learn more about sublimation, visit our Sublimation Basics page!

Note: We only sell and support patented, high quality inks made by Sawgrass.

 

 


 

Solvent Ink

Solvent ink is a more aggressive type of ink, available specifically for standing professional style printers with an inkjet style printhead, and is typically used mostly for outdoor applications due to its ability to adhere to a wide variety of media and vinyls and incredible durability. It is great for sign/banner vinyls, T-shirt vinyls and wallpaper media among others. The pigment is dissolved in a solvent chemical instead of water, which evaporates once it has been printed. Its chemical makeup makes it waterproof, fade-proof and scratch resistant in most weather conditions and lasts as long as the material it is printed on. However, due to its caustic nature, it is only compatible with special solvent inkjet printers, such as our wide format Mutoh printers.

Solvent ink is technically available in two different styles, though both are incredibly similar to one another (similar to pigment vs. dye-based ink differences):

Traditional  solvent– This ink has a stronger chemical makeup which allows it to dry faster and penetrate deeper into a wider variety of media that doesn’t necessarily need to be coated.  However, since the solvent chemical evaporates once it has been printed, it can cause hazardous fumes that can be inhaled by humans. Proper ventilation and space are required for this type of ink.

Eco solvent– “Eco” refers to the lower hazard level this ink is for humans.  Eco-solvent inks use a solvent that is not as aggressive, Hulk_findthesnail1usually derived from mineral oil,  and is better suited for indoor environments that don’t have a special air ventilation in place. The trade off however is slower drying times, with anywhere from a few seconds up to 12 hours of drying time depending on the media. This is becoming less of an issue with certain vinyls being added to the market, such as our ColorPrint Easy vinyl for garments which dries instantly.

 

< – – – Our beloved Hulk printed on Photo Tex Removable Wall Media for solvent printing

Traditional Solvent Ink Eco-Solvent Ink
PROS:
  • Faster drying times
  • Waterproof, scratch-resistant and fade-proof
  • Harsher chemical allows for printing on wider variety of media such as uncoated vinyl/banner material
  • Low costs for inks
  • Waterproof, scratch-resistant and fade-proof
  • No odor and made with biodegradable chemicals that are not as hazardous
  • Can be used in smaller indoor spaces
  • Low cost inks
CONS:
  • Hazardous fumes require proper ventilation and large working space
  • Requires proper disposal and handling
  • Slower drying times
  •  Not compatible with as many vinyls/materials

 

 


 

Direct to Garment ink

Direct to garment (DTG) is a process in which ink is applied directly onto 100% cotton fabric through a flat bed printer, such as our Epson SureColor F2000.  These inks are water-based and similar to pigment-based aqueous inks, and come in the standard yellow, magenta, cyan, black, and white colors. Once printed, they are permanently cured onto the fabric by applying heat and heavier pressure, ideally with a heat press around 335-340F for 1 minute or less depending on the color fabric. They feel similar to a screen print (some can’t tell the difference) and often times even softer because the process eliminates the use of vinyl or paper media, leaving ink to be the only thing on the shirt which lasts as long as the garment and is waterproof and fade-resistant.

DTGWhite or very light colored fabrics don’t need any prior treatment and the design is printed directly onto them, however since the ink absorbs into the fabric, it would be difficult to stand out on dark fabrics, which is why the printer has to print a solid base of white first on most brightly colored and black garments. That creates a heavier print with the additional layer of white ink added into the mix (titanium oxide is its main makeup which already makes it heavier), which can cause the ink to bleed through the fabric. To prevent this from happening, dark/black garments are coated with a pre-treatmeant solution by hand or using a machine (we use our Zoom AE All-Electric pre-treatment machine). The transparent pre-treat coating also helps the white ink to adhere better to the fabric. The extra pre-treat solution on the shirt dissolves in the wash, leaving the shirt with a clean and bright print.

DTG inks are most compatible with 100% cotton only or in some instances, cotton/poly blends. 100% polyester is not recommended because it is a plastic material which will not absorb the ink, causing it to sit on top of the garment. With average amount of washing, the print will fade dramatically over time. DTG may be used for cotton based, polyester-coated items such as mouse pads and flip flops, for display purposes.

 

PROS: CONS:
  • Waterproof, fade proof and scratch resistant
  • Highest quality print for garments on the market
  • Very soft and durable (should last the life of the garment)
  • Great vibrancy and detail
  • Printer requires monthly maintenance and upkeep
  • RIP software required, with specific settings that need to be calibrated every time a fabric is changed to a different fabric weave and thickness
  • Black or brightly colored fabrics require pre-treatment which makes for a longer process and potential higher costs for pre-treat solution and machine
  • Compatible with 100% cotton fabric only and some cotton/poly blends

 

 


 

Technology is constantly growing and improving, and there may be other types of inks for printing methods that weren’t included in this blog. This list is compiled to represent inks that we offer to our customers on a regular basis and are capable of providing great support over phone, e-mail or chat!