Sublimation on a 100% Cotton T-Shirt

with Siser® EasySubli® HTV, Sawgrass SG400, & Cricut Explore Air 2

If you’re looking to print and cut full color images without breaking the bank,  EasySubli® HTV is the decoration solution for you! Gradients, patterns, and portraits are all within reach when you have the HTV that bridges the gap between sublimation and colored polyester, cotton, rayon, and many more! Available through a select variety of authorized distributors, please email us at Info@SiserNA.com if you’re interested in purchasing information.

Now before you go out and buy up the whole lot, there’s a few more things we recommend having on hand to achieve best results with EasySubli HTV.

EasySubli HTV Companion Products

  • Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 desktop sublimation printer*
  • Siser® EasySubli Inks by Sawgrass**
  • EasySubli Mask***
  • Cricut Explore Air 2 (Air 1 and Makers are also compatible)****
  • Cricut EasyPress or heat press

*Also compatible with the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG800 desktop sublimation printer. While only currently available in 8.4″x11″ sheets, EasySubli will additionally be offered in 11″x17″ sheets in the future.

**Other brands of sublimation inks and printers may work, but they will require trial and error testing.  Siser has partnered with Sawgrass to develop special inks and a profile for the greatest print quality with the least hassle.

***EasySubli Mask is not always necessary. Mask is only required when designs have multiple pieces that need to be kept in alignment.

***Other brands of cutters can be used with EasySubli as well. Read the Silhouette Cameo 3 post here!

These last few items are likely already in your craft arsenal, but were necessary to complete this project:

  • Siser Weeder
  •  100% Cotton T-Shirt (Any color!)
  • Parchment Paper (AKA Butcher Paper)

Typically, sublimation inks are only compatible with light colored polyester fabrics. If I tried to use traditional sublimation paper on this colored cotton t-shirt, the results would not be favorable. Not to worry though! Siser has your back with EasySubli heat transfer vinyl and we’re going to walk through all the steps to working with this new product right now!

Step 1: Set up Your Print & Cut File in Cricut Design Space

If you’ve made stickers, cupcake toppers, or any other kind of paper craft, you might already be familiar with creating a print and cut file in Cricut Design Space. For those of you just learning, here’s how it’s done.

1. Start a “New Project” in Cricut Design Space.

2. Upload your .jpeg or .png file and select “Simple”, “Moderately Complex”, or “Complex” depending on the level of detail in the image.

Select image type in Cricut Design Space

3. Select and erase any areas of the image that you do not want printed. For .jpegs this is usually just the white background. However, most .png’s have a transparent background (indicated by the gray and white checkers) and no areas to erase.

4. Select “Continue”, title your file, add tags if you’d like, and be sure to save the image as a “Print Then Cut” file.

Save image as a print then cut image in Cricut Design Space

5. When your image appears in Canvas, you may need to resize it. Cricut only allows for 9.25″x6.75″ of printing space.

Re-size image in Cricut Design Space

6. Select “Make It” when your image is sized as needed. Ensure the “Mirror” slider is NOT on and “Continue” to printing. You’ll notice Cricut recognizes the print and cut file and automatically adds a black box around the image. This box is the registration mark that that will help tell your blade where to cut.

Send image to the printer before cutting

Step 2: Print on EasySubli HTV with the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG400 Desktop Sublimation Printer

If you have a new printer, follow the installation instructions for Siser EasySubli Inks by Sawgrass. If your printer is currently utilizing another type of ink, please contact Sawgrass Customer Support for further guidance.

1. Place EasySubli in printer tray so the glossy side is facing up.

Place EasySubli HTV with the glossy side up in your Sawgrass printer

2. Add a Bleed if needed. This can depend on your artwork, but in most cases I like to enable the “Add Bleed” slider. A bleed adds a little extra printed space so the blade has a margin for error during cutting. You’re less likely to end up with unintentional white spaces with a bleed.

Add a bleed to the EasySubli artwork in Cricut Design Space

3. Select “Virtuoso Print Manager” (AKA “VPM”) from the list of possible printers and wait for the Settings window to appear.

This is a very important step! Sending to the VPM allows you to adjust the print profile. Selecting “Sawgrass SG400” instead of VPM is not recommended and can result in a saturated output that’s not ideal. Select Virtuoso Print Manager from the printer drop down list

4. Select “Siser EasySubli Vinyl” from the “Substrate” and “Paper” drop downs. Additionally, make sure the “Mirror” box is NOT checked. If these options are not available, you may be running an older version of VPM. Click here for instructions on updating your VPM and activating the Siser Edition.

In VPM, select Siser EasySubli Vinyl printing profile

5. If your print preview does not appear due to a layout or sizing error,  go to the “Layout” tab in VPM and check the “VPM Performs Layout” box.

Adjust layout in Virtuoso Print Manager

6. Select “Print” in VPM and listen for the tell tale sounds of the SG400 sucking in a sheet of EasySubli HTV to get this printing party started!

7. Carefully remove the printed sheet from the tray to avoid smudging the damp inks. Place the sheet under the heat of an open heat press for about 60 seconds to set the inks and prep for masking (damp inks and over saturation can prevent EasySubli Mask from bonding properly.) You may notice the colors begin to develop a little under the heat. This is normal and will not effect the overall vibrancy of the end result.

Print directly on EasySubli HTV with the Sawgrass SG400 and Siser EasySubli Inks

If your design is one big piece that doesn’t need to be cut (or it can be hand cut), then there’s no need to mask it. However, be very cautious when removing printed EasySubli from the backing and transferring to your garment to prevent smudging the inks. If you’re in this boat, you can skip the next two steps and move onto Step #5: Heat Application!

If your design is like mine and it’s made up of multiple pieces, then it’s cutting time…on the next page that is.