How To Sublimate Socks
I'm always looking for new things to sublimate...and socks just became my favorite!
Sublimation socks are easy to do if you have a dye sublimation printer and a heat press.
What socks are best for sublimation?
You'll want socks that are at least 65% polyester for bold, vibrant colors when sublimated. I purchased white polyester socks and grey polyester socks on Amazon.
Grey socks are great for sublimation when your pattern has a dark background. When the sock is put on the foot and stretched a little, the color will appear slightly faded due to what I call channeling...that's the area between the fibers. Dark soles help with this when it comes to sublimating dark designs.
In addition to the socks, you'll need a sublimation printer, sublimation paper (as long as possible), a heat press at least 15x15 inches, and a sock jig.
A sock clamp will help ensure your socks stretch slightly as they sublime. This will also help with passage and make sure the socks stay flat. They also help when trying to grab the edge of a sock.
I made my own sock jig out of thick particle board - cut out with scissors. I lay the socks flat and cut the clamps slightly wider to adjust their size. Try not to make the clamps wider than 3.5", especially if you're using an 8" wide Sawgrass SG400 or SG500.
If you can, round the toe area and make sure the sock clamp is long enough to fit the entire sock into it. I had to use high temperature tape to stick the two pieces of chipboard together.
How to Set Print Full Pattern Sublimation Socks
For full pattern sublimation socks, you will need to print out the full sublimation sheet. The easiest way is to change the page size in Silhouette Studio to match your maximum printer size. (The Sawgrass SG400 or SG500 can print from a tray onto 8.5 x 14" sublimation paper, this tutorial will detail how to do that.)
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In Silhouette Studio, use the Draw Rectangle tool to draw a rectangle that is the full size of the print area. Select the rectangle and fill it with the pattern in the Pattern Fill panel.
Now print out a few copies of your worksheet. For a set of socks, you may need 4.
If you are on a PC, you can print directly from Silhouette Studio to your sublimation printer. Mac users will want to export images and print through the Sawgrass print manager.