What is sublimation printing?

It is commonly used to print everyday objects such as t-shirts, coffee cups and the like, on various, specially pretreated surfaces. For we fine artists, aluminum or Plexiglas plates. This pretreated substrate allows for a remarkably reflective surface, reproduced in brilliant color. It is not a traditional ink although it is printed from an inkjet printer. The "ink" is actually a dye which is turned to a gas by heat and pressure, (you will need some special equipment ... see my videos) and is bonded with the special substrate, therefore becoming a part of the entire cup, t-shirt, or in our case aluminum or plexiglas artist's plate.

Sublimation printing (in it's use for artists) allows the accurate duplication of an original artwork on a permanent material such as aluminum, ceramic, Plexiglas or even glass. This type of "print" is not to be confused with the "original print" such as a lithograph, etching, or collograph ... see my pages on Lithographs ... in which the artist has conceived of the edition as a predetermined set, usually signed and numbered in pencil.

Why would we artists want to make such reproductions of our work? In my case, perhaps yours, I can sell the original piece, for perhaps $2000 to $3000, and on those those rare occasions, it can only be owned by one entity, (person, family or institution) and it's essentially gone. The smaller, but accurate sublimated print, can be duplicated any number of times, even on different materials, and sold for much less, say $100.
Darryl Halbrooks Home
These are all small sublimation prints. Some on metal some on Plexiglas. Plexiglass does not need any special coating. The dye sublimates directly to the acrylic.
If you do not want learn to do this yourself, or do not wish to spend at least $400 or so for the equipment (I like to be able to do everything in studio) you can send your images off to a professional service to have it done for you (at a pretty high price.)