Creating projects for your pet has never been this fun! Sawgrass’ marketing manager, Sarah Cannon, runs through how you can tap into the growing UK pet market.
Through the magic of sublimation, you can now create one of kind products for your favourite pet!
Personalise their bowls, collars and bandanas by adding their name, preferred saying or initials to the many substrates that are now being offered. You can also make custom ID and pet tags so you will never lose your furry friend.
Let’s first talk about pet bowls. There are several different types of pet bowls from ceramic to stainless steel that are ready to sublimate, typically in two different sizes. A larger one for a dog, smaller one for a cat. Depending on the size of your pet, you can choose which works best for you. Check with your favourite dealer to find the style and size that fits your needs. Find the dimensions of the bowl you purchase so you can create a template in whatever design platform you use, such as Sawgrass Creative Studio, which is a specialised sublimation design tool.
When choosing a design, remember that one of the best parts about sublimation is the bright, rich colour that can be layered together for beautiful results. If you decide to choose a background design, add this first. Then add text on top to customise perfectly. Once the design is ready, you will want to print out on your favorite sublimation paper (we love the Sawgrass TruPix classic). If you are printing from the Sawgrass Print Manager, make sure to mirror, add your substrate (ceramic or stainless steel) and colour mode to vivid. Send to print and then trim around your edges with scissors. Attach your printed design facing the bowl with heat tape.
Because of the size and shape of these bowls, you can’t use a standard heat press. You need a convection or sublimation oven that is at least 7.6cm wide and deep and can heat up to 204°C. You will also need to purchase an oven wrap. I have seen these in 5.1cm or 7.6cm sizes made specifically for these pet bowls. Add the oven wrap around your bowl at its tightest setting to make full contact. Pre-heat your oven to 188°C. Once it’s heated up, load your oven wrapped pet bowl inside and leave it to sublimate for 18 minutes. Due to the varying nature of these convention ovens, these setting may need to be adjusted further to fit your set up.
After the 18 minutes, wear heat resistant gloves to pull out your bowl. Let this cool and remove the oven wrap and paper. Your pet will enjoy these sturdy custom food bowls for years to come!
Pet bandanas and collars
Want to make your pet stand out? These are an easy accessory to create for your four-legged friend. You can customise with thousands of full colour designs and use any font to add their name or initials.
The pet bandanas and collars come in all different shapes and sizes and can be completely sublimated for a full color print. For best results, make sure to only purchase items that are specifically for sublimation. White is usually the best way to go. Once you purchase the desired bandana or collar, make sure you find the dimensions to create a template to design with. Many dealers offer readymade templates for their products.
Add the design and desired text to your template. You will then print out on your favourite sublimation paper. Depending on the size of your pet, you made need to use a larger format sublimation printer like the Sawgrass SG1000 which allows you to print on media up to 27.9×43.2cm. If you purchase a bypass tray, you can even print up to 33×48.3cm.
Secure your printed design to the bandana or collar with heat tape. You will place under the heat press with your image face up. Make sure to add parchment paper under and on top of your project. This will protect your heat press from any bleeding of the sublimation ink. You will want to sublimate at 196°C for 45 seconds at medium pressure. As always, check with your dealer for their recommendations and adjust the time, temp and pressure for your set up.
You will have the best-looking pet in town! They can show off their custom-made bandana next time you take them on a walk. These unique products will be great gifts to customise for your pet-loving friends and family or to sell at your sublimation business. You will be a pet product sublimation expert in no time.