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Good afternoon, Wildgoose.
question for ya, I know sublimation prints can go on mugs and such but what ink is best for mouse pads?
All sublimation is the same ink. It's a chemical transference process that happens around the 400 deg range. The print profile may be different from one type of product to another as far as how much ink gets printed on the transfer sheet etc... but the ink type is the same. Sublimation ink does not work for normal printing either. It looks washed out and faded when it's printed but if you have everything set up right it comes out fantastic.
There are several elements that all have to come together to make a good sublimation job. The ink is one part an having a good profile in your print program. (I use Adobe Illustrator but there are lots of potential options with sublimation) If you have a good print profile your next factors are time, temp and pressure. Any variation of any of the three can effect the outcome. I made a sheet to test with that had a whole bunch of color options. It was a set of oranges and navy blues that I was searching for the best settings. Easy color was a rectangle that was about 1" tall and 3" long and off the the side I typed out the CMYK code that each was so I could keep them all straight. (done in mirror so you can read them after the test) There were about 8 of each color and filled up an 8.5"x11" sheet. I took some sample fabric and did multiple tests on that sheet each time varying the time, or the temp and got different colors with any change I made. I took a lot of notes to keep track of what I wanted to do in the end. It takes some playing around but you eventually get to a good understanding.
I never sold all that much sublimated product and my printer clogged up. I still have the ink carts and ink but have not pursued more since my printer died. Good luck. There are a lot of really cool things that can be made. My favorite so far was a set of flip-flops that I bought from Conde. You sublimate the whole thing and then the flip-flops push out of the rest of the foam. I just made a cool design but you could put all kinds of cool stuff on those.
my creative brain goes hay wire with so many ideas LOL