The Guide to Siser® Sublimation Markers
Sublimation has been storming the craft world! If you’ve been nervous to try it then we have an awesome way to dip your toes into sublimation without jumping into buying a whole printer set up.
Siser Sublimation Markers look and feel like your typical chisel tip marker, but the ink inside is anything but ordinary! When the sublimation ink meets heat it transforms into a gas and the pressure applied forces the gas into the blank item where it turns back into a solid, permanent decoration. Now you have the power of sublimation in your hands!
Currently, there are 3 Packs of Siser Sublimation Markers- each with 6 markers! The Primary Pack includes all the colors you need to make a rainbow of creations.
Primary Pack: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue
The Pastel Pack has softer shades so your hand drawn style can shine.
Pastel Pack: Peach, Light Pink, Lavender, Light Blue, Seafoam, Light Green
And last but definitely not least, the Black Pack is super special because it not only includes 2 of the standard chisel tip marks, but also 2 round tips, and 2 fine point tips! With all that variation you can create all kinds of artwork with the Black Pack alone.
Black Pack: 2 Fine, 2 Chisel, 2 Round
The markers are amazing, but they do need a few more accessories to function at full capacity! Here’s what you’ll need for a typical project…
- Siser Sublimation Markers (Primary Pack, Pastel Pack, Black Pack)
- Copy Paper, Lined Paper, or Graph Paper
- Sublimation Compatible Blanks
- 50-100% Polyester Garments (Light Colors Only)
- Poly-Coated Metal, Plastic, Wood, etc.
- Sublimation Compatible HTV and EasyPSV®
- Siser EasyTape™
- Heat Press, Cricut EasyPress, or Home Iron
- Parchment Paper
Now that you’ve gathered all the goods, let’s go over a few tips before we jump into all the ways you can use Siser Sublimation Markers.
5 Tips for Success with Siser Sublimation Markers
Tip #1: No Fancy Paper Needed
Standard copy paper, lined paper, or even graph paper are all solid options for Sublimation Markers. Do NOT use sublimation papers with the markers. While it may seem like they go together, sublimation paper is actually not a good option for the markers.
Tip #2: Write Backwards to Print Forwards
Keep in mind as you’re drawing that the paper will be flipped on to the substrate to press, so your original image will appear backwards on the finished product. If you want to use words in your design then you can draw or print on the the paper and trace. This also helps if your drawing skills aren’t up to par.
Tip #3: Heat Tape is Handy
Siser EasyTape is super helpful in securing the paper and the blank to prevent shifting during heat application which can produce ghosting or a double image. Do NOT use other kinds of tape (ie. masking, washi, packaging, etc.) in place of EasyTape. The EasyTape is designed to withstand the heat, while other kinds of tape will likely become a gunky, gooey mess.
Tip #4: Washable BEFORE Heat Setting
Siser Sublimation Markers are water-based so they’re washable with soap and water as long as they have not been heat applied. That means you’ll want to avoid heat in the clean up process as well! If you accidentally get marker ink on your shirt while you’re drawing, be sure to wash it completely before tossing it in the dryer. Otherwise, you may have a new permanent spot on your favorite t-shirt if the garment contains polyester!
Tip #5: Store On The Side, Flip Before Use
Due to the special sublimation inks inside, the markers are best stored flat on their side. Then when you’re ready to use them, flip the over so the nib or cap side is down. Let them sit like that for about 15 minutes then the color should flow nicely. Storing the markers with the nib up can lead to the marker ink appearing dried out while storing them with the nib down can result in the marker ink being too saturated.
Now that you know some general tips, let’s get into a few of the different ways you can use Siser Sublimation Markers. There are so many compatible blank options for Siser Sublimation Markers! Of course your standard sublimation blanks like light colored 75-100% polyester garments and poly-coated metal, plastic, wood, and more will work with the markers. Then it also stands to reason that any HTV that can be sublimated can also work with Siser Sublimation Markers! That means you can use the 2 step method to decorate EasySubli®, Glitter, Holographic Mystic Pearl and so much more! Check out the complete list of sublimation compatible materials here. If you can sublimate on HTV, then you can also decorate cottons and dark polyester too like in the picture below!
Now that you know a bit about the markers, let’s look at a few different ways you can draw with them!
5 Ways to Draw with Siser Sublimation Markers
#1: Hand Drawn
Of course the most common way to use Siser Sublimation Markers is drawing by hand. If you’re trying to fill the blank with color, be sure to color past the edge of the blank outline to create a bleed in case of accidental shifting.
#2: Print and Trace
Another option is to print your designs and color in like a coloring book! You don’t need a fancy printer for these projects- your standard inkjet or toner printer is best.
If you notice the ink color looking duller than the maker cap- don’t worry- the sublimation ink will get brighter and bolder after heat application.
#3: Craft Cutter Drawn
Siser Sublimation Markers can be used in your craft cutter with a little assistance. Some cutters make their own marker adapters, but there’s also third party brands like Chomas Creations. Even if you don’t have an adapter, you can thicken the barrel of the marker with tape until it fits in the tool spot. We’ll have more tips and tutorials coming on this process soon, so keep your eye out!
Pro Tip: If you have the Black Pack, keep one set for cutter use and one for hand drawn. It’s easy to identify your cutter set with a bit of tape around the end of the barrel.
#4: Stamps and Stencils
If you’re a scrapbooker or a cardmaker you might already have these accessories in your craft room. Stamps can be used to make simple shapes, but you’ll want to stay away from words since you can’t mirror them after pressing on the paper. If you have a Silhouette Mint then you could even create your own custom stamps to extend the possibilities even further!
Stencils are an easy way to spell things out, come in all kinds of fun fonts and shapes, and can be used over and over again! Just be careful not to smudge any damp inks when moving the stencil.
You don’t have to be an expert artist to enjoy Siser Sublimation Markers!
#5: Get Creative
The fun thing about Siser Sublimation Markers is just how many possibilities there are! You can create watercolor effects with some water and plastic wrap, layer the colors to create new ones, and even press the design multiple times for a less-saturated but still super cool image.
We know you can come up with even more ways to use the markers and are so excited to see what you’ll make once they’re in your hands!
3 Ways to Heat Apply Siser Sublimation Markers
Siser Sublimation Markers work with all your common heat elements, but you’ll want to pay close attention to what kind of blank you’re using because in this case, the blank item dictates your settings. In any case, you’ll always want to perform these 2 key steps:
- Place two layers of parchment paper on top and bottom of the project to catch any ink that escapes
- Place the blank so that the paper side is face up and comes in direct contact with the heat
Keep reading to see what we suggest for heat application settings!
#1: Heat Press
Just like with HTV, you’ll achieve the best results with a Heat Press. Pressure is just as important (maybe even more!) for sublimation as it as for Heat Transfer Vinyl. The Siser Craft Heat Press has an adjustable pressure knob so you can achieve firm pressure with ease and the evenly heated plate ensures colors are consistent after pressing. The temperature can be set all the way up to 430°F and the timer goes to 90 seconds so you have more than enough settings to succeed with Siser Sublimation Markers.
Hard Goods: 400°F, Firm Pressure, 60 seconds, Hot Peel
Soft Goods: 375°F, Firm Pressure, 45 seconds, Hot Peel
#2: Cricut EasyPress
This middle of the road option is not quite a heat press because the pressure portion is all on you, but the heating across the plate is still better than a home iron. We recommend adding 30° to the Heat Press setting any time you use an EasyPress. But the EasyPress maxes out at 400°F, so what do you do with hard goods? You can add up to an extra 30 seconds of pressing time to make up for the temperature difference.
Hard Goods: 400°F, Firm Pressure, 60-90 seconds, Hot Peel
Soft Goods: 400°F, Firm pressure, 45 seconds, Hot Peel
#3: Home Iron
A home iron will work, but your results will vary because not only is pressure in your hands, but also home irons tend to have holes and a wide variation in temperatures across the plate. So your colors may come out brighter in some areas than others. If you have a dry iron, that would be a better option since it does not have holes and is a little more evenly heated as a result. You also need to stay pretty still throughout the pressing process (this is where heat tape comes in handy again!) to prevent shifting or ghost images.
Hard Goods: Highest Setting, Firm Pressure, 3 Minutes, Hot Peel
Soft Goods: Highest Setting, Firm Pressure, 3 Minutes, Hot Peel
Once heat applied the art is permanent, scratch proof, and washable- just like standard sublimation ink! We recommend waiting 24 hours before the first wash and using a cold water wash setting and low temperature dyer setting for soft good applications.
Want to watch all these tips and tricks in action? Check out our YouTube video!
Looking to purchase Siser Sublimation Markers? Many Siser Authorized Distributors and Resellers carry them, including Michaels Craft Stores and Joann Fabric and Craft Stores. If you’re looking for an authorized seller near you, please reach out to us at Info@SiserNA.com.
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