Note: This article appears in the 2018 Custom Gift Annual. To ensure that you can access this and other industry-focused pieces, be sure to subscribe today!
A person’s home is much more than their castle. It is an expression of who they are and what they love. From the spare, modern designs with clean lines and minimalist decoration, to the cozy feel of a lived-in family home, there is no décor scheme that would not welcome sublimated products. As more and more substrates that fit right into the home environment become available for sublimation, demand in the market will continue to grow, especially for product decorators with desktop systems. Yes, even with a small sublimation printer you can create home décor items that will dazzle and delight.
WHY SUBLIMATION IS A GOOD FIT FOR THE HOME DÉCOR MARKET
- Increased demand for more personalized items to decorate the home environment makes sublimation an ideal technology for delivering products to meet these consumer needs.
- Digital decorating technology makes changing colors, adding names and photos, and creating custom pieces for customers quick, easy, and cost-effective, even in small numbers.
- Full-color imaging and photographic reproduction are just a few of the perks you can offer customers looking for products to enhance their home décor and express their individuality.
- Coloration is permanent and will not crack, fade, or peel. It withstands the test of time, repeated washing, and most environmental conditions.
PILLOWS, PILLOWS, PILLOWS
- Pillows are easy to make with sublimation. All you need is a pillow case made of a polyester fabric and a pillow insert. From there, you have endless possibilities for designs that can range from full-bleed photos and frame arrangements to birth announcements, wedding dates, favorite animals/icons (moo-moo cows, anyone?), monograms, and more.
- Mermaid pillows — the ones with the double layer of sequins that flip when you run your hand across them — are all the rage this year. Not only do these pillows command premium prices, but people love how sayings, pictures, and artwork look on the shiny sequins. You not only have the fantastic colors of sublimation, but the sparkle and shine of the bling as well. It’s a powerful combination.
- If you’re skilled with sewing, you can create your own fabric patterns and panels to create custom-shaped pillows. These add all kinds of personality to living rooms, bedrooms, and common sitting areas of the house.
- Parents love having pictures of their children all over the house. That makes them the perfect market for home décor items featuring their little ones. Glass cutting boards, coasters, mirrors with tiled borders, slates, trivets, magnets, keepsake boxes, key and coat hangers, as well as aluminum and MDF photo panels are all great choices to offer in this market.
- Memory blankets have transcended out of the exclusivity of the quilt market to become incredibly popular for sublimators. Polyester blankets come in luxurious textures these days — from traditional microfleece to silky mink and even Sherpa varieties — and can be decorated with just about any size sublimation system. Personalized blankets with names, photos, dates, and other commemorative designs are popular, especially when a small design is repeated to create a larger pattern effect. Sublimators even use multiple interconnected presses to create the same effect that would be achieved using a wider format printer and press.
- Sublimation takes vacation pictures to a whole new level. ChromaLuxe in particular offers creative wall art solutions that enable you to use multiple panels in coordinating shapes and sizes to create one large mural. Single panel prints in natural wood or aluminum float-mounted to a wall are great choices for more modern tastes. Canvas wraps, too, are popular for photo reproduction, as well as fine art.
- New ColorLyte curved acrylic photo panels add style and form to any photo. These are great because they can stand on their own, and light can be placed behind the panel to make the image stand out. ColorLyte also makes glass photo panels, ranging from small to large, which can really transform a room when used to showcase professional artwork or photography.
FAVORITE PLACES, TEAMS, AND MORE
- Floor and door mats are popular this year. They are easy to sublimate with multiple transfers or with one large image. These items sell great around holidays, especially when designed with images and text that enable the customer to show they like to celebrate with style.
- If you can get permission to use team logos from local schools or a licensing agreement from popular sports organizations, you can make all kinds of decorative items for a fan’s home. Aluminum and MDF panels make great signs for a man cave or big game party area. Coordinating coasters, light switch covers, garden flags, pennants, banners — even blankets and pillows — are all in high demand.
- Monograms are perennially popular for home décor. People love having their family name on pillows, key and coat hangers, door mats, cutting boards, mugs, table runners, garden flags, serving trays, and more. These also make excellent items to sell to real estate professionals as thank-you gifts. They love to start a new home owner off with some decorative items.
- Don’t forget the finishing touches you can offer: candle holders, clocks, picture frames, letter cut-outs, pet accessories, ceramic tile accents, collectible shot glasses from events and places, kitchen towels, and more. Also remember you can go big with ceiling or floor panels, table tops, full-size flags, and banners.
These items just scratch the surface of what you can offer customers looking to make their home a real reflection of who they are. Sublimation gives you a lot of flexibility to get creative and turn a profit on both small and large orders. This market is definitely worth looking into for just about any sublimator.