Learning how to sublimate on tote bags has been a fun project and great timing for wedding season rolling in. I’m making a lot of DIY décor, etc. and these tote bags are part of that. Stay tuned for more projects because DIY wedding stuff is kind of what I’m living and breathing these days. It is my muse. 🙂
When designing these, I wanted them to be reusable. In my neck of the woods, it’s getting harder to find stores that have free shopping bags, so bringing your own is the best, most sustainable option. I’m not sure one can have enough backup bags in the car to account for the bags that go into a black hole once they enter the house. I wanted to make something that fit the theme of the wedding while also making it something that wouldn’t get thrown out the next day. These are also great for book bags for the library and can be personalized how ever you’d like. It’s really the joy of sublimation and all of the design possibilities! I chose to do all black on an off white bag, but colors will really pop because they are 100% polyester.
Materials and Equipment
How to Sublimate on Tote Bags
Step 1: Prep Transfer
Print your design on sublimation transfer paper. I print from Silhouette Studio for my Epson WF7720 printer. My settings are in this post. Be sure to mirror your design!
Step 2: Prep Heat Press
Preheat your heat press to 385F and set the pressure to moderate-light. There should be some oomph needed to close it, but you shouldn’t need to really put your muscle into it. Set the pressure with the pressing pillow on the press so that its thickness is accounted for.
Step 3: Prep Tote Bags
Next, cut two pieces of butcher paper that are larger than the design. Place the pressing pillow and one sheet of butcher paper inside the tote bag. The butcher paper will absorb any stray ink when pressing. The pressing pillow will help absorb the tote bag seams and give you an even press. Before prepressing, go over the tote bag with a lint roller to prevent the annoying stray lint pieces that turn blue when pressing. Prepress the tote bag for about 10 seconds prior to adding the design to remove the wrinkles and fold lines.
Step 4: Sublimate on Tote Bags
Before adding the transfer, lint roll one more time. Next, place the design on the tote bag and tape it in place with heat resistant tape. Place the remaining piece of butcher paper over the transfer paper and close the press. Press for 60 seconds.
Step 5: Complete Totes
Remove the butcher paper and transfer paper. Then, use the lint roller over the design to remove the pressing lines from the transfer paper. All done! What do you think?
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