How To Start A Sublimation Business | How Much It Costs

I still remember when I was a beginner and faced hurdles to find the right sublimation equipment for starting a sublimation business. It was never easier to start a personalized printing business with a handsome profit because you need to choose the best suitable pieces of equipment. If you also want to know how to start a successful sublimation printing business then today’s guide is a piece of cake for you.

In fact, sublimation printing has now gained a boom in recent years and empowered many business owners including me.

How To Start A Sublimation Business

Don’t be scared to try what is written on my blog because I am now an experienced enthusiast who is providing a piece of authentic information about starting a lucrative sublimation printing business. I have learned from different sources and implemented the right things, learned from my mistakes.

How To Start A Sublimation Printing Business

There are some requirements that you will need to start the sublimation printing. So let’s dive into the world of sublimation!

Choose A Niche

Before buying any kind of product, you need to choose a niche in the beginning. It is almost impossible to do without proper planning. You can generate a good profit by choosing the right niche for you. You can check the printing sublimation ideas for businesses and beginners to sell on Etsy and other online platforms. Also, you can get an idea from best sublimation blanks.

What Do I Need For Sublimation Printing (Sublimation Material List)

What Do I Need For Sublimation Printing

1. How Much Does A Sublimation Printer Cost (A Detailed Guide)

A sublimation printer is the most crucial piece of equipment in the world of sublimation. There are various types of printers but sublimation printers are the special ones that print the sublimation ink and later on, the dye ink is transferred onto the sublimation blanks. You can know what kind of printer do I need for sublimation.

Mainly, there are two companies‘ printers that I have used to produce customized blanks. One is the Epson sublimation printer and the second is the Sawgrass sublimation printer.

Epson sublimation printers can cost you from $200 to $600 whereas Sawgrass may cost you above $600. Large format and high-end printers can go above $15,000.

Epson Ecotank sublimation printers are more affordable, versatile, and user-friendly but you will need to convert them into sublimation with a couple of steps. In addition, their running cost is also affordable for beginners to kick-start the sublimation printing business.

On the other hand, Sawgrass printers are way too expensive, powerful, and ready-to-use sublimation printers. You won’t need to convert them into sublimation. However, their running cost is high. I have recently used Sawgrass SG 500 which is the most powerful and the most versatile.

You can choose according to your needs and the print field size of the printers. A t-shirt printing size is a maximum of 14 by 17 inches. You can choose large format 13 by 19 Epson sublimation printers for the t-shirt printing business. If you opt for Sawgrass then choose the Sawgrass SG 1000 which can bypass the printing tray up to 13 by 19 even more than that. You can also check the best printers for t-shirt sublimation.

In addition, you can get standard size of printers for small customized items like mugs, phone cases, tumblers, pillows, leather, key chains, crockery items, wood, metal, and so on.

2. Sublimation ink

Sublimation ink is a special type of ink that is used in the dye printing process when heat pressure is applied it is directly transferred from the solid to the gaseous state without liquefying. You will get the set of ink bottles along with the package of Epson printers but those inks will not be sublimation inks.

You will need to buy separate refillable ink cartridges along with sublimation inks. Sawgrass printers use Sawgrass sublijet UHD ink cartridges whereas the Epson Ecotank printers use Epson’s sublimation ink or Printerjack’s. Also, if you want to choose a cheap option then Hiipoo sublimation ink is the best choice.

3. Sublimation Paper

The way sublimation ink is different from other inks similarly the best sublimation paper is different from all other transfer papers. Sublimation paper has a thin layer of polymer to hold the ink and when heat is applied, the ink becomes a part of the fabric by going from the solid form to the direct gaseous form. A-Sub paper is the best to be used for sublimation. You can choose the paper size according to your niche.

4. A Heat Press Or Mug Press To Transfer The Ink

A heat press is used to transfer printed images from printed paper to the required blank. Don’t get panic about so many options. You need to choose the heat press size by keeping in mind the size of the sublimation blanks because the heat press surface should be wide from the substrate in order to transfer the sublimation design properly.

A large surface area is used for t-shirt printing while the smaller area is used for key chains, wood, and other smaller blanks. For the drinkware items, you need to choose the mug press or tumbler press machine for glassware, ceramic mugs, and tumblers. Most of the time, beginners use Cricut Easypress for versatile transfers because it is affordable and allows them to choose the surface size.

5. Sublimation Blanks

Starting a sublimation business requires choosing a niche first. You can get the sublimation ideas on our blog. There are various kinds of sublimation blanks available on the market. You can choose poly-coated sublimation blanks to embed the designs onto them. Here are the unique and new sublimation blanks.

Keep in mind you cannot sublimate blanks that don’t have any kind of polyester coating. Poly-coated surface holds the ink thus the transferred designs won’t fade over time.

6. Other Supplies

Apart from all the above pieces of equipment, you’ll need to buy other essential equipment below:

  1. A Cricut machine (Optional for Black Color Garments) – To cut the printed designs using print then cut feature for bleached shirts
  2. A heat-resistant tape – to prevent shifting the paper from the sublimation blank
  3. A butcher paper – to place above the t-shirt and printed paper in order to prevent burning from direct contact with the heat press and fabric.
  4. Heat transfer gloves – to protect from the heat press and handling hot items when removed from the heat press.

7. Editing Software

Before starting printing, you will need to choose a PC or Mac and a designing software to design the images for printing onto blanks. There is a wide range of sublimation printing software available including Photoshop, and Illustrator for graphical folks. Your PC won’t need to be that fancy but it only needs to run that software smoothly.

Besides that, Epson and Sawgrass printers do have their own design software that can be used to customize the images. Sawgrass printers have free online software called CreativeStudio whereas Epson printers have iPrint software to print from Android and Windows devices.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Sublimation Business

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Sublimation Business

The starting cost of the sublimation printing can be budget-friendly to your pocket if you opt for the Epson Ecotank printer which can cost you under $500 including ink. Whereas Sawgrass printers are above $500 printer only.

The Starting cost would be under $2,500 including all the necessary pieces of equipment. Besides, managing the business and marketing will be additional. You can go with sublimation starter kits to save your time and budget.

Want to start with the low cost? Get the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 at a very affordable price.

Is Sublimation Business Profitable

Sublimation is totally a profitable business. Many individuals are earning a lucrative amount by creating personalized items and selling them online on places like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and their own websites. You can earn $500+ depending upon the daily no of selling items.  You can get 40% profit.


1. Is Sublimation Worth The Investment?

Sublimation is worth the investment since it can be started with low costs and high profits.

2. How much should you charge for a sublimation shirt?

The poly shirts can be sold out for up to $35 to $40 with customizations. You can make personalized shirts and take online orders according to the needs of the users which will be the most premium stuff. 

3. How much should you charge for sublimation mugs?

The Pricing of the customized coffee mugs depends upon the size of the mugs and the targeted market. The 11oz mug can be sold for $13 and the above 11oz mug will be more than $15 as a wholesale price. You can check here how to sublimate a mug.

4. How much does it cost to make a sublimation print?

The cost depends upon many factors and the main one is the sublimation printer, heat press, and sublimation blank. The t-shirt printing cost may be around $3 to $5 excluding the price of the blank. This cost includes shipping, ink, paper, and overall production. You can add the $5 for the polyester t-shirt blank. You can get the pack of 5 shirts for $25.

To Conclude

I’m aware of how is it exciting to start a new business. Making customized apparel can turn out into a profitable business if you go with the right type of materials. I totally understand how it feels when you start generating your very first $ from sublimation printing. This feeling might cost you around $2500 if you follow the above guidelines with significant accessories. Now you should know how to start a sublimation business in today’s era.


  • Jessica Warner

    A printing enthusiast is here to serve you the vision of art. I’m working as a printing artist since my childhood and running a successful business online and offline. I inspire you to create beautiful printings via my select products and How-To tutorials. Warner Jessica

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