Best Sublimation Blanks: What, Where, & how to buy?

Sometimes, when nothing else is working out, it’s the sublimation blank that’s causing all the mess and holding you back. A sublimation printer, paper, and the press are just half of the equation. Unless you’ve got the best sublimation blanks, your results will be ugly. Speaking of which, polyester sublimation blanks are the best. However, not every supplier sells the best polyester sublimation blanks. 

Best Sublimation Blanks

5 years back, when sublimation was an underrated art, it didn’t matter which blank you use, who’s your supplier, and what store you were buying from. Now, as the competition is tough, you need to be as much careful in buying the blanks as you’re when buying the best sublimation printer. Right sublimation blank will not only provide satisfactory results but also bless your business with bigger profits. This is the reason we’re providing a complete guide on how to choose the right sublimation blank, rating the best suppliers of sublimation ink, and will tip you off with one of our favorite blanks that have been consistent in giving us quality results. Let’s roll. 

What are Sublimation Blanks:

To make sure everyone’s on the same page, sublimation blanks are a plain material, apparel, or objects with a polymer coating on the surface. These are mostly available in white color because that’s what sublimation works the best on. Sublimation doesn’t work on darker colors. These blanks can be poly shirts, photo frames, mugs, tumblers, keychains, mouse pads, earrings, and so on. 

This is called Sublimation Blanks

In the sublimation language, these are simply called “blanks” or “substrates”. Sublimators use them for printing designs because regular materials without any polyester count don’t accept sublimation ink.

Note: Blanks for Cricut and Vinyl are different. These blanks may or may not have a polymer coating, and that’s why the results are messier, leaked designs with liquid ink all over the substrate.

What makes the best sublimation blanks:

Typically, there are 6 types of material available across sublimation blanks. Please note, all these blanks have a polymer coating on the surface (on the back if it’s acrylic) except polyester because sublimation originally works on polyester or polymer substances only.

types of material available across sublimation blanks

Polyester

Polyester makes the best sublimation blank because they naturally accept sublimation ink because of loose chemical bonds. T-shirts, tops, shirts, mousepads, and anything made of polyester provide a 100% transfer rate with the most solid, vibrant, and vivid colors. They’re also budget-friendly. Currently, polyester blanks are the cheapest sublimation blanks compared to wooden, metal, or leather blanks.

Polyester Sublimation Blanks

The best thing about polyester blanks is they’re available everywhere. You can buy polyester fabrics from any apparel store or may use your own polyester clothing. You’ll always get consistent results. Still, we’d like to rate some best polyester blanks to give you a rough idea. 

Best polyester sublimation blanks:

 Amazon Etsy, Shirtspace, heat press nation, vapor apparel, 

Ceramic

If you specialize in a mug or fine art sublimation, you need ceramic sublimation blanks. This is another option if you’re looking for affordable blanks. However, ceramic blanks are limited to kitchen items and glassware only. 

Best Ceramic sublimation blanks:

Cricut, Heat press nation, and Coastal Business Supplies 

Wood

Wood Sublimation blanks

Wood is the option you want to go for if your area of expertise is in customized goods for gifts and special occasions. Wood blank makes wonderful gift items for showcasing, making photo frames, keychains, etc. wood blanks are expensive, though. 

Best wood sublimation blanks: 

Coastal Business supplies, Etsy, Johnson Plastics Plus, and Heat Press Nation.

Metal

Metal Sublimation Blanks

Metal sublimation blanks are available in water bottles, sheets, panels, keychains, and big frames. This is industrial-level sublimation because the requirement of metal sublimation is typically tough when it comes to printing and pressing. Also, metal blanks are expensive.

Best Metal sublimation blanks: 

Chromaluxe and Etsy 

Leather:

Leather Sublimation Blanks

Leather blanks are relatively new and rare. Wallets, jewelry, and earrings are more common in the leather blanks lineup. However, this is not genuine leather. The sublimation blanks are faux leather, treated with enough polyester. That’s why they’re not as expensive as something of genuine leather.

Best Leather sublimation blanks:

Etsy, Coastal Business Supplies, and Amazon. 

Acrylic:

Acrylic Sublimation Blanks

Last, acrylic blanks are classy. These are predominantly used for keychains, photo frames, and nail art. Acrylic blanks are the only ones in which the design is printed on the backside instead of the front. The front transparent coating on the acrylic sublimated items makes them exceptionally beautiful and durable. You can get both budget-friendly and expensive acrylic sublimation blanks, based on the quality. 

Best Acrylic sublimation blanks:

Dye Trans, Amazon, and Etsy.

Top 10 sublimation blank suppliers:

Sublimation blank suppliers are of three categories: manufacturers, wholesalers/distributors, or retailers based in a marketplace. Manufacturers rarely sell to the general public. For example, UNISUB is the manufacturer and distributor, but it reaches out to the public via wholesalers.  

Best sublimation blanks manufacturers

There are only two manufacturers that make sublimation blanks the best. These are Unisub and Vapor Apparel. 

Unisub: best for signage, plastic, and hard-surface sublimation

Unisub is the most vital manufacturer and one of the oldest sublimation manufacturers having expertise in over 330 different substrates for sublimation. The best thing about Unisub is, it’s US-based, located in Louisville, Kentucky and its quality is unmatched by those who reside outside of the US. The best of their products are signage and tiles, steel, hardboard, aluminum panels, artistic items, and plastic materials. 

Their main top-of-line items are aluminum panels and signage, having major branches related to these mediums. Chromaluxe, the leading aluminum photo, and panel manufacturer is a sub-branch of Unisub. And speaking of signage, one of their disciplines is specializing in the interior and exterior design of homes and working as a signage solution for exterior designs. However, they don’t have apparel for sublimation. 

If you sublimate hard surfaces, you can locate a dealer and have their products in bulk quality delivered to your doorstep. JDS Industries, Coastal Business Supplies, and Conde Systems are Unisub’s premier distributors through which the general public can place orders. 

Vapor Apparel – best for Tshirt business

Vapor Apparel exactly deals in the area that Unisub doesn’t: the garments. Vapor Apparel is an all-in-one company. It’s the manufacturer, distributor, and wholesale supplier. What it also deals in is the on-demand manufacturing of apparel, i.e., customization. 

Their collection includes T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, sol shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, and any apparel type made of polyester. This is the preeminent apparel supplier of many printing shops across and outside the USD, having a 4.5 global rating of 6000+ wholesalers. 

The delivery is free across the US and outside of it, Vapor apparel retails for over $75. The order usually arrives in 3-7 business days. The company has a good reputation for deliveries and refund policies. 

  • Shipping: 3-7 days
  • Refund: 30 days

Best products: garments and apparel for men, women, and kids  

Best wholesalers and retailers

Heat Transfer Warehouse – best for vinyl and dark sublimation substrates

The heat transfer warehouse is our go-to place for sublimation blanks. It generally specializes in vinyl and apparel for sublimation. If you’re a business dealing in sublimation on dark substrates, a heat transfer warehouse should be your only way to go. They provide excellent vinyl sheets and sublimation blank shirts. Also, they have a variety of patches, plates, and other small blanks you can sublimate. The delivery is usually prompt taking just 3 to 4 days if you’re in the US. besides, global deliveries won’t take more than 10 days. Also, they have a fair refund system along with their price points. 

  • Shipping: 3-4 days (within the US) and 10 days (Global).
  • Refund: within 15 days of purchase.
  • Best products: license plates, vinyl sheets, T-shirts, keychains, and patches.

Cricut  – best ceramics

Cricut is one of the trusted brands for mug and tumbler sublimation. Any high-end sublimation mug brand would choose Cricut over anything else because their ceramics speaks for the quality. Basically, Cricut is a cutting brand, specializing in cutting and weeding machines. They also have a Design Space popular in the sublimation arena. Cricut recently began their sublimation blanks lineup and instantly gained the spotlight. Right now, there are polyester and ceramic substrates only—both of which stand out for their quality. 

They have various buying programs and policies. Like other sellers, they also offer deals and discounts. Check out their website for more information. For the delivery, you can rely on them for 3 days, but usually, the product arrives on the 5th day. If any problem occurs, it may take 10 days but not longer than that. 

  • Shipping: 3-5 days.
  • Refund: unopened products only with valid receipts.
  • Best products: mugs, coasters, tote bags, and shirts.

Johnson Plastic Plus – best wholesaler of a vast variety of substrates 

Johnson Plastic Plus is the biggest wholesaler and retailer of sublimation blanks. It offers bulk quantities at affordable rates to sublimation companies and also sells single products to the general public. It’s one of the dealers of the UNISUB company. As the name, their best products are plastic blanks of patches, tumblers, and keychains. 

JPP has the best refund policy. It offers a complete refund if the product is in new condition and you have all the accessories and stuff that came with it. Other supplies don’t refund the moment you unpack the item. Also, the delivery rate differs per the weight of the items. 

  • Shipping: 1-3 days.
  • Refund: 30 days.
  • Best products: coasters, cans, tumblers, and other ceramics, wooden and plastic items. 

Best Blanks  – best for decorating goods

Similar to Johnson Plastic Plus, Best blank is also a wholesaler having renowned companies as its partner that includes Epson, Sawgrass, Roland, UNISUB, Ricoh, etc. best Blank is a sublimation-dedicated wholesale store where you’ll find anything from a printer to the blank in extremely affordable price with great quality. 

For the sublimation blanks, their collection is quite vast, but the best of their products include coasters, tote bags, glass tiles, photo frames, etc. their tote bags are the finest and one of our favorites. As a wholesaler, they offer the fastest delivery. Mostly, your order is on your door on the same day as you place it. The refund policy is applicable for 30 days after the delivery. 

  • Shipping: 1-2 days.
  • Refund: 30 days.
  • Best products: garments, patches, mousepads, mugs, and signage. 

Heat Press Nation – best refund and warranty policy

Heat press nation is a renowned wholesaler that imports directly from big brands and factories. It’s the biggest supplier for many industrial units across the US and holds a rating of 4.8, as reviewed by Shopper Approved. They have 27 categories of different products of which their best lineup includes mugs, tumblers, mousepads, promotional and gift items, and various other patches. However, they don’t have any garments and apparel blanks.

Their refund policy and warranties are the best. Heat Press Nation has one of the best customer support and offers lifetime customer support for everything they’ve got on their display. They provide a year of warranty. For delivery, you’ve to count 3 to 6 days.

  • Shipping: 3-6 days.
  • Refund: a year of warranty.
  • Best products: hard-surface printing items and ceramic mugs.

Coastal Business Supplies – best for wooden and ceramic blanks

Coastal Business Supplies is a wholesaler and distributor that has overall 12 different categories of sublimation blanks and is specifically best for water bottles, promotional and decoration items, and wooden goods. 

There’s free delivery for orders above $149 and they deliver the same day as you place the order. 

The reason why we put it on the last of the wholesaler’s list is their customer service problem. In some regions of the US, their customer service doesn’t operate effectively, although the quality of the goods is well satisfied. We hope they improve it so it can gain much attention from large industries. 

  • Shipping: Within 24 hours.
  • Refund: 90 days under their specialized policies.
  • Best products: Coaster, mugs, tumblers, wooden goods, and gift items.

Top 2 Sublimation blanks Marketplace 

Amazon and Etsy are the two top marketplaces where you can buy blanks in small quantities, let’s say, just one. You’re not bound to have a certain quantity to make the purchase. The delivery is prompt, and in some products, you’ll even get free deliveries. 

Amazon 

Amazon is the biggest marketplace for sublimation blanks of any kind. As it goes without saying, Amazon isn’t a manufacturer. It’s the platform for many sellers and that’s why you may find a lot of substrates in just one place. The delivery is free and prompt, provided that you’ve got an Amazon Prime account. Also, you’ll have so many offers and discounts because of the high competition. The prices are comparatively less than other manufacturers as well. 

  • Shipping: 2-6 days.
  • Refund: 100% refund by the majority of manufacturers.
  • Best manufacturers: PYD life stores, Weewooday, Unisub, Wala Sublimation.
  • Best products: cans, tumblers, mugs, keychains, coasters, socks.

Etsy: 

Like Amazon, Etsy is another huge marketplace with a dense variety of handmade goods. It has one of the most classic ceramics, wooden, and sublimation blanks for keychains, coasters, mousepads, tumblers, jewelry, and phone cases. 

There are independent sellers on Etsy. Unlike Amazon, Etsy is much more trustable because it’s purely made for handmade and crafting stuff. The prices are comparatively higher than Amazon, but they’re worth the quality and delivery time. The payment method is very flexible, you can anything from google pay to Etsy’s own gift cards. 

  • Shipping: 1-2 days.
  • Refund: offers refund through Etsy Purchase Protection if the item matches the required description. 
  • Best manufacturers: The Candy Shop Designs, Shop1234co, WIPSART, Customization Shop.
  • Best products: faux leather, keychains, mats, apparel, coasters, panels, and other jewelry. 

What factors to look at when buying sublimation blanks:

With sublimation growing at a crazy rate, more and more retailers and wholesalers are born every day, and right now, you may find tons of sublimation substrates and probably you’ll get what appears first on your search list. You’re not alone, very few people care about the quality and getting the best sublimation blank, while the rest think they’re all the same. We’ve listed a few factors that you must count whenever buying any sublimation blank. 

Plain surface:

Sublimation won’t work on rough surfaces and not just sublimation, no printing technology will work smoothly and finely on uneven, wrinkled, rough surfaces. This is a new drawback in emerging brands selling sublimation blanks. For sublimation blanks, you need a plain and smooth surface, so the sheet adheres to it snugly with no air and wrinkles. 

Minimum order quantity – MOQ

Minimum order quantity

Normally, sublimation blanks come in packages and there’s a requirement for minimum order. For example, you’ll get 12 pieces if you buy mug sublimation blanks. Likewise, many warehouses and big suppliers have a certain quantity set for the order. Some have 10, 12, 20, 24, etc. if you’re doing sublimation casually, you need a supplier that has a few quantities set for minimum order.  

Blank size:

Size is one of the biggest issues in any sublimation blank. Along with the order quantity and surface type, what you also need to consider is the size of the substrate available by the manufacturer/supplier. It must complement your sublimation sheet size, the design, and the application you need it for. For example, if you’re buying T-shirts, you want to make sure that the supplier has the same size available as you need.  

Shipment and return policy.

Shipment and return policy

Suppose you got an order today and you’re almost run out of the blanks. Now you reach out to your manufacturer and that says the shipment is in 10 days. Tell us the after story without crying… It’s okay. We know how it feels like to lose customers because of delays in your process chains. If time is the most important factor, we recommended getting suppliers that deliver within a day or two. In that case, Amazon and Etsy are your best bets. They offer free deliveries and provide fast delivery across the entire US. Besides shipment, also check the return policies of manufacturers. Don’t buy a “no refund, no exchange” blank unless you’ve got no other options. 

Reviews and Rating:

Reviews and ratings tell a lot about product quality and performance. Before you place an order at any store, check the ratings and reviews of that product. If you want the best blanks, the minimum rating should be 4.7 or 4.5 if it has 1900+ reviews. You may find both negative and positive reviews under any product. Just put your requirements on one side, examine if the drawbacks in the blank can be easily minimized (if any), and then add it to your cart.

Reviews and Rating

While you’re reading the reviews, pay attention to the description too. Some blanks are not sublimation-specific and you don’t want to buy them to regret later. 

Polymer Count:

Polymer Count

The more the polyester count, the brighter and more permanent your results will be. In a sublimation blank, the polyester count must not be less than 65%. Good polyester shirts have a 100% polyester count. In other blanks, the polymer coating must be thick and durable. Check the description for the type of polymer coating your manufacturer is using. 

Price:

Almost 70% of the time, the biggest turn-off for any entrepreneur in the sublimation business is the cost of the entire setup. The expense of the printer, press, and small supplies is pretty much a one-time expense or once a year. It’s the blank that makes the equation terrible. When you buy low-quality blanks, there definitely be one or two defaulted or broken blanks. Other times, you make color mistakes which makes the blank unable to use. 

Price

Although price is a serious concern, we suggest going for moderately-priced blanks. Cheapest blanks don’t yield the same quality that high-end blank does. Whereas, the expensive blanks may make your expensive look horrible. So, test what works for you. Also, if you want blanks for practicing only, you can go the cheaper way. 

Cons of not using quality sublimation blanks:

While that might sound exaggerating, you may want to look at the consequences of not using a quality sublimation blank. 

  • The blanks are not versatile. 2 out of 10 blanks will be inferior and have faults. 
  • Colors will suffer. You’ll hardly have bright and vibrant colors. 
  • Low-quality sublimation blanks don’t help in the 100% transfer of the color from the paper to the substrate. 
  • In broken/defaulted blanks and mess-up prints, you’ll need a replacement which makes your expense 2 times the amount you saved when buying a cheap blank. 
  • They’re not durable. 
  • You’re putting the entire quality at risk. 

Which blanks are the best for sublimation:

Hands down, polyester and ceramic blanks are the best if you’re asking about material specifically. Besides, there are a few brands that manufacture or wholesale state-of-the-art sublimation blanks. From any of the 10 brands we mentioned, you’ll get the best sublimation blanks that’ll turn out as beautiful as you are <3. And that wasn’t a pickup line, though. Let’s conclude: 

If you’re a small-scale business, we’d recommend that you stick to the marketplace. Try sample products from 3-4 brands, and use Etsy and Amazon only. Their delivery and price points are quite fair and will help you keep up the profits. Besides, for those who are looking for bulk quantities, the niche-specific brand is the ideal way. For example, if you’re in T-shirt printing, go for Vapor apparel; if decoration, choose best blanks; or if customized mugs are your business, Cricut is your best friend.

Emily

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