Sublimation tiles made affordable

I’m “that mom” I make things to help off set the teachers time/money usually 1-2 times a month. Up until this past year my twins were in separate public school classes which meant there was a total of 46-50 children to create for and was often cost prohibitive.
Now, they are in a small catholic school where there’s 16 kids and only 1 class so they are together again. But, even with 16 kids things can get pricey.
So we plotted a fathers day idea for the kids to give out. I lent the teacher my fancy camera and she’s been busy taking pictures, she actually takes really goo portraits though she lacks the ability to use the camera LOL
Then I took 15 cent tiles from Lowes and coated them with polycrylic and let them set for 24 hrs.

I then did a little editing, added names and grades and printed the images using sublimation ink and paper. (Childs my daughter and not the best photo for this but you get the idea) the images always look a bit different on the sub paper (remember to mirror the image as well)

Then I use heat resistant tape to hold the image to the tile. I put a pressing pillow on my heat press and add a layer of parchment, tile images side down then another layer of parchment. Then at 360 degrees F in press for 40 seconds 6 times. This is because my heat press can very in temp so after each 40 second interval I move the tile to a different location then press again.

Let them sit and cool completely! Do a cold peel which leaves some paper still on. But, just then soak in water and I use a soft nylon brush to remove any excess paper and film and dry off. I then clear coat each with a spray of gloss polycrylic

Then I use a paint pen on the edges to cover the bar code and unglazed area. Cut down some self adhesive cork sheets from the dollar store and assembled

If I had used sublimation tiles
16 tiles @ $2.45 each = $39.20
Cork 3 sheets @ $1 each = $3
Paint pen was $1 but can be used well more than this project
Ink and paper probably $1
Sub total = $44.20 - that gets pricey when you do this 1-2x a month
cost per each = $2.76
My cost
Polycrylic about 25 cents worth
16 tiles @ 15 cents ea = $2.40
all other costs the same
My total = $7.65
cost per each = 48 cents

I have been making them since April and have noticed no issues with others in use and being cleaned etc.

The UK and European equivalent may be Wicks, Rustins, Albrecht basically a waterbased clear coat that doesn’t yellow and has a poly base.


These tiles are so fun! What a great idea.

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Cool! Thanks for explaining the process.

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I think a tray of those tiles with all of our pets might be in my future! You make it look so doable!

They turned out really nicely and will make a useful memento for the fathers…

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It really is doable. I can fit 6 in my heat press at a time at a 4 min press coupled with prep is was under 1 hr to produce 16 tiles!

I of course have the tools of the sub printer and heat press but one could use sublimation markers and an iron as well (and my printer is just an epson ecotank I converted with sublimation ink for $35)

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This is fabulous and the results are great. I’m really impressed.

And adding this to the list of things to try. I had been looking at those Epson ecotanks they look great and of course you can buy generic sublimation inks on AliExpress for not too much.

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What an adorable result for all your brilliant trickery!

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What a great idea!