The basic starter kit for sublimation is having a sublimated printer or a converted printer. Sublimation ink is different from regular ink. The process includes heat and pressure that turns the ink into a gas. Sublimation ink is waterproof and best used on 100% polyester materials. Cotton blends can be sublimated yet the color will not adhere and be vibrant as with 100% polyester material.
Choosing your sublimation paper is crucial to successful sublimation. Sublimation involves the ink being absorbed versus laying on top of the fabric. Sublimation paper absorbs the ink and when heated transfers to the polyester surface.
After purchasing your printer, paper and ink, buy your heat press. Heat presses come in different sizes and are used to press your chosen image into your item. For mugs and tumblers there are specific heat presses that are used where the cup is inserted and then sealed for a few minutes for the sublimated picture to adhere.