Tie(-Dye) It All Together
Using sublimation to replicate a traditional tie-dye effect, Stan creates a full outfit with HTV logo layered on top. Stan uses his friend's artwork in this project, showcasing makers in his community.
For Stan Banks, passion is the difference between a job and a career. One is a means to an end. The other is something that drives you. Something that lights you up.
A blank t-shirt.
“The blank represented a lot to me and my community. It was (and is) a chance for individual expression. A way of showing personal life choices, values and beliefs. It’s a lot more meaningful than blindly buying something off the shelf because of a logo. Hype is overrated.”
He’s right. Hype is overrated. You don’t need someone telling you to pay hundreds of dollars for a t- shirt, just because they think a red rectangle with white writing on the inside is cool. Stan is proof of that…especially since his side hustle business is called… wait for it… T-Shirt Side Hustle (how great is that name?). His side hustle blew up and has since been a runaway success.
This tutorial will show you how to take an idea and turn it into something real. Who better to learn from than a creator? A maker? A designer, an entrepreneur and now: a teacher.
This project is extra meaningful for Stan, as it makes use of his friend’s artwork/design. He has used that design and incorporated it into sublimation to replicate what a traditional tie dye effect would be. That carries way more weight than something bought by the dudes waiting around the block for the latest drop.
With the rise of work from home jobs, it’s never been a better time to have a go at turning your creative skills into a marketable side hustle, or even a full-time job.
With that in mind, let’s get down to business.
Products We Used
- Sport Tek - PosiCharge Competitor T-Shirt ST350 - White
- Sport Tek - Sport Wick Fleece Short Sleeve Hooded Pullover ST251 - White
As always, we encourage you to use the same products we’ve already tested and approved, but if you’d like to go your own way, we salute you! Just make sure the blank you are using is a similar fabric.
Additional blanks we recommend you use for this project are also listed at the bottom of the tutorial.
Heat transfer from Supacolor
Clamshell heat press
Sublimation paper (11” x 17”)
Clear, acrylic t-shirt ruler
Heat resistant tape
For this project, Stan’s logo design was ordered ahead of time from Supacolor and we printed a 11” x 17” abstract design to create a tie-dye look (but with sublimation)
Sublimation is a technique that works best on 100% synthetic fabric. Though it’s achievable on blends that are at least 50% synthetic, be aware that the outcome could lose its detail or color after multiple washes.
Step 1: Order your heat transfer design from Supacolor
Step 2: Create your printed sublimation artwork
Download or create your own digital artwork design to fit your paper. For this project, Stan used a friend’s artwork and printed it on an 11x17” paper.
Whatever you go with, once you’re happy with the design, print it onto a sublimation paper using a sublimation printer, or using an inkjet printer compatible with sublimation ink.
Step 3: Prepare the heat press
Supacolor recommends using a clamshell heat press (rather than an iron or other heat source) when applying their heat transfers designs.
Turn your heat press to the appropriate temperature for the type of fabric you are using. You can find the most accurate heat setting information in the heat press manufacturer’s guidelines.
Step 4: Prepare the blank
The Making - Apply Supacolor Heat Transfer
Step 1: Pre-press your blank
Pre-press the blank for 3-5 seconds to ensure that the surface is completely flat, and that all moisture is removed from the fabric.
Step 2: Map out the placement of your design
After pre-pressing, keep the blank on the heat press. Use an acrylic t-shirt ruler or other heat-safe tool to map out where you’d like to place the logo design that you ordered from Supacolor. In our case, this is Stan’s company logo (which reads: “T-Shirt Side Hustle”) in black.
Make sure there aren't any seams on the application site — we don’t want the design to transfer unevenly.
Step 3: Place the design on the blank
With the transfer side faced down and the carrier side facing up, place the black logo design on the blank. The carrier should be between your heat transfer and heat plate. We suggest using heat-resistant tape to hold the heat transfer in place on the blank.
Step 4: Press!
Place a clean piece of parchment paper on top of the plastic carrier, and close the clamshell of the heat press.
When the time is up, open the clamshell and immediately (but slowly and carefully) remove the carrier from the transfer by pulling it away. Don't worry, it should peel off easily.
Now, let’s take this project to another level!
The Making - Create the Cool “Sublimation Tie-Dye” Look
Step 1: Twist and scrunch
Now that your logo design has been pressed, it’s time for sublimation tie-dye!
While still on the heat press, twist and scrunch your blank in any shape or form you desire. Keep your blank on the heat press.
Step 2: Apply the 11” x 17” printed sublimation artwork
Lay the 11” x 17” printed sublimation artwork on top of your scrunched up blank, with the printed side facing the blank. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the artwork.
Close the heat press and heat for 60 seconds. When time is up, remove the parchment paper and the printed sublimation artwork from the blank.
Step 3: Admire your work
Remove the blank from the heat press and flatten it out to reveal the sublimation tie-dye design and viola! You’re done. Your very own, 1 of 1, sublimation tie-dye shirt.
Props to Stan. Props to anyone who is willing to teach, from lessons learnt. That’s the key to our Press Hall community. We believe in a creative collective, and we believe knowledge is there to be shared.
We also believe in fun, you guys. And this project? It’s all about the fun. Full disclaimer: Once you start down this road, you’re going to be pretty much addicted. So line up a bunch of blanks. And get cracking.