Sublimation: Fruit of the Vine

  Trisha & Larry Lambert own Millenium Art, Inc. located in Louisville, Kentucky. For more than a decade, Millenium Art has specialized in sublimated awards and gifts. You can reach the Lamberts at

In the United States, wine, grape and grape products contribute in excess of $162 billion annually to the American economy, according to a comprehensive study by MKF Research LLC of Napa Valley. This number is expected to grow in coming years because of the influence of independent wineries and a projected surge of national interest.

Wine and other grape products are truly a catalyst for future sales in the award and gift market. There is an opportunity for tremendous growth for your store by the ripple effect from the economic impact of the wine industry.

Oftentimes, we receive requests from individuals that are looking for awards or recognitions that can eventually be used by the recipient. Wine and culinary gifts are perfect for this shopper. Wine products are ideal for the event planner that is looking for something that will please almost anyone. Sublimation and sublimatable products are available for you to enjoy some sales in this arena.

Wine Glass

Conde Systems offers a 10-ounce pewter wine glass that is available for sublimation. The wine glass features a pewter embellishment that is adhered to the side of the glass. The pewter adornment houses a 24mm aluminum disc that is easily sublimated with text or a photo. Although the disc is small, an image of a home can fit nicely here. Also, team or company logos or other personalization can accent the wine glasses with style.

To sublimate, print the transfers reversed and slightly larger than the disc size. Secure the disc to the transfer using heat-resistant tape. Sublimate for 55 seconds with the substrate face up. The metal will get extremely hot; use caution when removing it from the press. We use a silicone adhesive to adhere the cooled sublimated disc to the pewter. This will hold firmly, and will tolerate water for clean up after each use.

Tote Bags

The delivery and presentation of wine can be almost as fun as opening it. Conde Systems offers wine tote bags that are made of heavy white canvas material that are easily sublimated with colorful graphics and text.

We imprint totes by first covering the press with protective paper. Position the tote bag with the handles hanging free from the heat press; this will insure that the heat platen will make even contact  with the substrates and transfer successfully. If you want to insure that all wrinkles and moisture are removed from product, prepress the tote for a few seconds.

If you plan to press beforehand, we suggest that you cover the tote with a protective paper such as tissue paper, to prevent any unwanted stray ink from sublimating to your bright white tote. Allow the canvas to cool, then position the transfer using pro spray or a small amount of heat-resistant tape. This will keep your transfer in position while closing and opening your heat platen. Press for 60 seconds using firm pressure.

Wine Gift Box

A handsome presentation for wine is a wine gift box available from Conde Systems. The box is available in both cherry and maple finishes. It features a 4” x 13” hardboard sublimatable insert for the lid. Sublimate the insert for 75 seconds, and slide it into place for a wonderfully unique presentation of any favorite wine.

There are many ways to decorate the wine box for a special presentation. Artwork could include the names of special events, holiday or birthday greetings, company logos and recognitions. Perhaps your customer is celebrating a company milestone, or an individual is planning a wedding. This is an ideal gift for men and women alike.

The wooden box holds a standard 750ml bottle, perfect for your homemade wine or other favorite wine selection. Suggest to your customer that you coordinate the wine gift box with the wine bottle. If this gift is to welcome customers to your city, then use local artwork and wine from the neighboring area.

Wine Label

Create your own wine label for homemade wine by sublimating Rowmark’s label material. Label material is available in clear, white, chrome, gold and prism. It is easily sublimated for 25 seconds at 400 degrees. If possible, use a Teflon sheet to protect your loading table from the adhesive that may ooze out from the MATES material. The Teflon sheet will wipe clean after use.

The adhesive material is available in 8.5” x 11” sheets, 1” x 2” ovals, 2” circles or 12” x 50’ and 36” x 50’rolls. The MATES material is pre-adhesive and is very aggressive. It will stick firmly to glass without any problems. You can purchase Rowmark material from almost any sublimation distributor; simply cut it to the desired size. The MATES adhesive material is flexible and will allow you to customize wine bottles with your customer’s personal message.

Coaster Sets

Is your customer planning a wine and cheese party? There are other coordinating products that we can suggest. Available from many sublimation distributors, you may consider coaster sets. Use artwork of wine or grapes; photos of vineyards are beautiful.

Also, a company name or logo can be added discreetly at the bottom of any beautiful picture. Coasters are available in a wide variety of substrates and shapes.

Glass Cutting Boards

Glass cutting boards have long been popular among wine lovers. Johnson Plastics offers cutting boards that are bottle-shaped. They come frosted or white coated and are sublimated on the back of the product. We prefer the white-coated wine bottle because the image appears sharper and clearer.

However, the frosted-coated bottle gives the illusion of a real bottle. Sublimate all glass products using the heat-conductive pad. The pad is a must for glass products. The rubber pad serves as the buffer between the substrate and the heat platen. It allows the heat to distribute slowly and evenly. It helps protect the product from breaking during the sublimation process.

Once completed, you are looking through the glass to the image for a unique and sophisticated appearance. There are other glass cutting boards available in various shapes and sizes. Conde offers some glass cutting boards that are inlaid in wood. Cutting boards are not just for slicing; they are very nice and are perfect to serve cheeses and other appetizers. See your sublimation distributor for ideas and glass products.

Serving Trays

Serving trays can be sublimated using artwork of grapes or wine themes; they are available in mahogany or natural finish in two sizes, 8” x 13” or 11” x 17”, with a hardboard insert for sublimation. They are easy to sublimate and assemble. Serving trays are also available that house ceramic tile. Although more expensive, your customer may enjoy the look of wood combined with ceramic for a dramatic appeal.

Lazy Susan

For the wine and cheese party, a lazy susan may be perfect to use in the center of a table, with a cheese wheel or a variety of cheese balls, flanked by baskets of crackers.

The lazy susan is 11.25” x 11.25” and accepts four 4.25” x 4.25” tiles. For the image you wish to sublimate, you can repeat the image or you can use a tiling software that will divide the image into the correct number of squares or tiles for the finished product. If you use Photoshop, it has a tiling function, but for this project there are only four tiles, and you can easily divide your image yourself. The benefit of doing this is that in the event that a tile does not sublimate correctly, that particular tile is isolated and will be easier to reproduce.

Press the ceramic tile face down for six minutes covered with the heat-conductive rubber pad. After the tile has cooled, adhere to the lazy susan with Liquid Nails or silicone adhesive. Finish the product with a sandless grout. This is purchased in a tube from most any home improvement center. Do not use a grout with sand, because the sand will scratch the tile. Run grout around the open areas surrounding the tile and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Just keep in mind that it is your artwork and graphics that will tie the pieces together for a wine theme. Wine imagery is broad brushed, and that allows for the creation of sublimated products that your customer will desire. With the expected growth in the wine industry, be sure to use the capabilities of sublimation to capture your share of this market enthusiasm.