Frequently Asked Questions.
What Is Dye Sublimation?

What is Dye Sublimation?

A method of applying an image to specially coated metals, ceramic, stone, wood, and polyester cloth, using dyes, heat, and pressure. Dye sublimation is a digital print technology that allows the reproduction of full color images on a variety of surfaces. Instead of printing images directly on a surface, which may scratch easily, the image is infused into the coating to provide permanent protection and durability. Dye sublimation on ChromaLuxe aluminum results in high-definition, durable photo panels that preserve images for generations.

The word “sublimation” refers to the process the dye goes through, moving from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid state, similar to dry ice. This transformation happens under the right conditions of heat, pressure, and time. The dye particles, in their gas state, bond with any polymers present and change back into a solid during the cooling process.

The result is NOT lamination or a sticker.

Dye-sublimation printing yields beautiful and permanent colors that are embedded in our specially formulated coating, rather than printed on the surface. Colours are rich, text is clear, details are sharp.

Dye sublimation is UV and scratch resistant

What is ChromaLuxe?

From chromaluxe.com (manufacturer of most of our substrates):
ChromaLuxe is an American made product manufactured in Louisville, Kentucky.
Dye sublimation ink consists of a solid, heat-intensive dye, which provides the color, dissolved in liquid. Under heat and pressure, the solid dye particles change into gas, bond with any polymers present, and change back into a solid. The high temperature used in sublimation opens the pores of the polymer and allows the gas to enter. When the substrate is removed from the heat source and is allowed to cool, the pores close, and the gas reverts to a solid, becoming a part of the polymer. As such, the dye particles can no longer be removed and will not wash out with even chemical solutions.

White or Clear Substrate?

Many of our products are available with either a glossy or matte, white base or a glossy or matte, clear base. When an image is transferred into the white base, it yields a vibrant result with exceptional detail and rich color. When an image is transferred into the clear base, the brushed aluminum shows through the lighter areas of the image, creating a slightly metallic sheen with the perception of depth. It can be a very nice, more sophisticated look, especially for black & white images, but the detail is usually slightly less crisp.

Is ChromaLuxe 'Green'?

ChromaLuxe coatings:
Contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Contain no lead or other heavy metals or phthalates
Coating is a thin, very durable layer which is cured using a low energy process creating zero emissions

The aluminum panels are created from post-consumer recycled aluminum and can be recycled.

The hardboard panels use raw material from managed forests and clean content with no added formaldehyde and can be recycled. 10% of hardboard material is provided from sawmill waste.

MDF materials have a clean content with minimal added formaldehyde, can be recycled, and are created out of 80% post-consumer recycled materials.

Can I Use My Own Photo or Artwork?

Here are some guidelines for using your own image:
The should be high resolution, with details that are clear and crisp. If the image is already “soft”, it will stay “soft”. Images from facebook are not high enough resolution. Straight from the camera is best.
It must be your own image, not one you have taken from anywhere on the internet, including somebody else’s facebook, flickr album, or blog. I will press third party images (other photographers) as long as that photographer’s watermark is visible on the pressed image.
cShoresal’s Sally Rothenhuas is a professional photographer, able to take those special photos for you if you want to be assured of a high quality image. We love working with your family (human or otherwise), your products, and in many cases can come to your location or event. Please inquire to arrange pro-photography services.

Sublimation is:


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