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Are you looking the unlock the secrets to custom, long-lasting koozie designs with sublimation on koozies? Well, you have arrived at the correct destination.. This thorough guide cuts straight to the chase, offering you actionable steps and essential tips to perfect your sublimation techniques. Learn to select the best materials, prepare your workspace, and apply your designs with precision. Start transforming your koozies into works of art that stand the test of time—begin your hands-on journey here. Are you ready to get into it?

Key Takeaways

  • For successful sublimation on koozies, use materials like polyester or scuba foam for durability and quality prints, and make sure to preheat and lint roll the koozie before printing.
  • When designing for sublimation, align layers, mirror text, use the right printer and sublimation paper, test on polyester fabric first, and ensure correct sizing to avoid stretching or distortion.
  • Apply the transfer carefully with heat-resistant tape and the right heat press settings, then sew, inspect, package properly, and consider bulk purchasing koozie blanks for cost efficiency.

Understanding Sublimation on Koozies

Two koozies have colorful sublimation designs

Sublimation on koozies is a magical process that allows you to transfer your favorite design onto the koozie material, creating a lasting, full-color image. The beauty of this method is that it allows for customizing koozies with full-wrap designs and seamless prints, which can be applied on both sides of the koozie.

The key to successful sublimation lies in the koozie’s material. Koozies suitable for sublimation are typically made of polyester or a polyester blend. This type of fabric can withstand the high temperatures required for the sublimation process, ensuring that your design will adhere perfectly to the koozie.

Dye Sublimation: The Basics

Dye sublimation is an innovative printing technique that uses heat-sensitive inks to transfer images onto polyester or polymer-coated items, such as our beloved koozies. It works by:

  1. Printing a design with sublimation ink onto sublimation paper.
  2. Transferring this design to the koozie under high heat.
  3. Creating vibrant, full-color images that are durable and do not peel or fade.

But why is this method beneficial for koozie customization? The answer lies in the quality of the results. Sublimation prints are renowned for their vibrant colors and durability. They’re resistant to washing, light exposure, and general wear and tear, making them perfect for koozies that are constantly being used and washed.

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Sublimation Koozie Materials

scuba foam seen in the picture

When it comes to the best material for sublimation koozies, scuba foam leads the pack. This soft material retains its shape well under heat and during shipping, making it ideal for sublimation koozies. TahoeBay’s higher grade polyfoam is a great example of this material, well-loved for its superior softness and durability under a heat press. Plus, scuba foam koozies are more cost-effective compared to neoprene, offering a more economical choice without compromising on print quality.

While neoprene can be sublimated, it’s not the best choice. In fact, not neoprene materials, such as polyester and polyester-coated materials, including scuba knit polyester fabric, are preferred for their durability and effective dye bonding. Neoprene is prone to issues such as pressing marks and maintaining foam structure under heat, making it less ideal. And the best part? These materials are also compatible with other decoration methods such as screen printing and heat transfers.

Preparing Your Koozie for Sublimation

Colorful sublimation design on paper close to some tools

Proper preparation of your koozie is a fundamental step before embarking on the journey of koozie sublimation. This includes preheating your koozie, lint rolling to remove any dust or debris, and removing any protective coatings on sublimation blanks. Remember, a well-prepared koozie is the first step towards a flawless finish!

Preheating is especially important as it helps prevent shrinking and ghosting during the sublimation process. Imagine spending hours on your design, only for it to come out distorted because of a shrunken koozie – you wouldn’t want that, would you? Therefore, preheating your koozie remains a prerequisite to initiating the sublimation process.

Lint Rolling: Why It Matters

Lint rolling isn’t just for your clothes – it’s a crucial step in the sublimation process too! Lint rolling the entire surface of your koozie to clear off any dirt, dust, hair, or fibers is a pre-sublimation step that you should not skip, as these can compromise the print quality.

Skipping this step can lead to imperfections in the final sublimated image, such as color distortions or ghosting. So, if you want your sublimated koozie to look its absolute best, never underestimate the power of a good lint roll!

Heat Press Settings

With your koozie thoroughly prepared, you can now proceed to correctly adjust your heat press settings. The standard settings for koozie sublimation typically involve a heat press temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, although it’s always a good idea to verify this against the specific requirements for each sublimation blank.

Alongside the temperature, timing is crucial too. A common time setting for sublimating a koozie is 60 seconds, with a pre-press duration of approximately 30 seconds to ensure the koozie is evenly flattened, especially along the edges. And let’s not forget about pressure – medium pressure is essential to achieve an even transfer and avoid scorching or press marks.

Lastly, keep an eye on your sublimation results. If the black areas of the design appear greenish, it indicates under-sublimation that might require additional time or heat, whereas brownish tinges imply over-sublimation.

Creating Your Design

Image of a koozie and laptop

Designing for koozie sublimation involves careful planning and consideration. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Align all layers of the design before printing.
  2. Mirror the design if it has text or a specific direction.
  3. Take into consideration that the underlying color of the koozie can show through the translucent sublimation ink, affecting the overall look of your design.

By following these tips, you can create a visually appealing and high-quality design for your koozies.

Remember, your design isn’t just about looking good – it’s about representing your brand, expressing your creativity, and creating a product that your customers will love. So, take your time and make sure it’s perfect!

Design Tips for Sublimation Koozies

Prior to starting your design process, ensure to measure the widest and tallest points of your koozie. This will help you determine the maximum size for your image, ensuring it fits properly without stretching or distortion. And if you’re going for a full-wrap design, remember to print on a full sheet of sublimation paper to avoid press marks that can detract from the visual quality of the product.

Also, don’t forget to mirror your design if it includes directional elements. This will ensure that the image appears correctly after the sublimation process. And before you start sublimating onto the final koozie blanks, it’s always a good idea to test your design on inexpensive polyester fabric. This can help you catch any potential errors and save costs on materials.

Choosing the Right Printer and Paper

The selection of the right printer and paper holds equal importance as the design in your sublimation project. Using a sublimation printer with sublimation ink and paper is essential for achieving the best results on your koozies. If you have a flexible budget, the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 is a top-of-the-line sublimation printer that comes highly recommended. But if you’re just starting out or working with a tighter budget, converting an Epson EcoTank ET-2620 can be a more affordable option.[1]

When it comes to sublimation paper, A-Sub is a highly recommended brand known for producing vibrant, high-quality images on sublimated koozies. Choosing the right size of sublimation paper can also reduce costs and waste, especially when printing designs for smaller items like koozies. And remember, always print on the correct side of the sublimation paper – the bright white side – to ensure proper ink absorption and prevent quality issues.

Applying the Transfer

A lint roller and some other equipment

When your design is set and your koozie is prepared, you can proceed to the transfer application. This includes:

  1. Positioning the sublimation transfer paper onto the koozie carefully, ensuring the design is centered and straight.
  2. Securing the transfer paper to the koozie using heat-resistant tape. This prevents the paper from shifting during the heat press process.
  3. Setting your heat press machine to the recommended temperature, usually around 400 degrees Fahrenheit for koozies.

Consistency is key when it comes to applying the transfer. Your heat press should provide even heat distribution and consistent medium pressure to achieve a quality transfer. Once you’ve pressed the koozie for the appropriate amount of time (generally about 30 to 60 seconds), remove the koozie and peel off the transfer paper while it’s still hot.

Now, you’re one step closer to your finished koozie!

Properly Positioning Your Transfer

For a flawless finish, precise positioning of the transfer on your koozie is key. One handy tip is to use a design template that’s slightly larger than your koozie’s dimensions – this will help you align and center your image on the koozie. You can also reduce press marks on foam koozies by tearing the edges of the sublimation paper or using a full sheet of paper.

For a seamless full-wrap design, use larger sublimation prints and secure the design to the back of the koozie. This will enable a continuous image transfer without visible seams. And remember to place the sublimation print on both sides of the koozie, using heat-resistant tape to hold it in place. This will ensure that your design is centered during the sublimation process.

Heat Press Technique

A command of the heat press technique is fundamental to successful sublimation. It involves carefully adjusting the pressing time and temperature, using protective paper, and minimizing pressing marks on your koozies. Always remember to cover your transfer design with parchment paper before pressing. This should be done using a heat press for 10-15 seconds, or for 15-20 seconds if you’re using a home iron.

To minimize pressing marks on your koozies, consider using the following techniques:

  • Tear the edges of sublimation paper or use a full sheet of paper.
  • Use a pressing pillow inside the koozie to achieve an even heat transfer.
  • Use heat-resistant tape to secure your design in place.

Just be cautious as the tape might leave marks on some materials.

Finishing Your Sublimated Koozie

Robotic arm applies finishing touch on koozie

Upon completion of the sublimation process, you can move on to the final touches of your koozie. This involves:

  1. Sewing up the sides of the sublimation printed koozie
  2. Conducting a thorough inspection to ensure there are no sewing defects and that the sublimation print is flawless
  3. Flattening the koozie to make sure it’s wrinkle-free and ready for packaging.

Also, don’t forget to apply your brand’s tag or sticker on the koozie. This will enhance the product’s presentation before it reaches your customer. And voila! Your sublimated koozie is now ready to impress!

Sewing Your Koozie

Sewing your koozie is the final step in creating its form. If you’re working with flat koozies, you can finish them by sewing two straight seams on the sides, creating a full-wrap koozie with a professional appearance. The sewing process depends on the material of the koozie. Scuba foam typically undergoes a straight stitch on the inside, and is then turned inside out to conceal the stitching. Neoprene koozies, on the other hand, often feature visible zigzag stitching on the outside.[2]

The sewing process for a flat sublimated koozie is simple and can be done quickly. This results in a koozie that looks different from pre-sewn options, potentially having a slightly rounded appearance on the sides and bottom. So, don’t be afraid to try it out – you might just discover a new favorite style!

Packaging and Shipping

With your sublimated koozie beautifully sewn up, it’s appropriate to consider its packaging and shipping. Proper packaging is crucial for sublimated koozies. You should use protective materials to ensure they retain their shape and high-quality finish throughout shipping. Plus, utilizing online shipping platforms can help you reduce shipping costs and get perks like free tracking for your koozie shipments.

When calculating shipping charges, remember to take into account the package’s weight and dimensions. Lightweight items like koozies can have very low rates with postal services. And for single koozies, regular envelopes have been used successfully for shipping, keeping the cost under $1 for a foam fold flat style koozie.

Purchasing Sublimation Koozie Blanks

A koozie sublimation blank

Having become proficient in sublimating koozies, you could be contemplating buying koozie blanks for your forthcoming project. Sublimation koozie blanks come in various types, including options like zipper bottle coolies, collapsible can coolies, and other styles to cater to different customer preferences. Plus, you have the option to purchase koozie blanks in mixed colors and still qualify for quantity discounts, offering flexibility in order customization.

And if you’re planning to purchase in large quantities, you’re in luck! Bulk purchasing is often incentivized with discounts, making it a cost-efficient approach for customers in need of substantial quantities of koozie blanks. So, you can get the koozie blanks you need without breaking the bank.

Finding the Best Supplier

A few crucial factors should be in mind when searching for the ideal supplier for sublimation koozie blanks. First and foremost, you want to ensure that the supplier offers high-quality products that are compatible with sublimation. This will help you achieve the best results on your koozies.

Another important factor to consider is the printable area of the koozie blanks. For instance, having a 3” x 3” space opposite the zipper and a 2” x 3” space below it is a crucial aspect to consider when evaluating the suitability of a supplier’s product for your sublimation projects.

Bulk Discounts and Decreasing Quantity

Bulk purchasing can be beneficial in terms of significant cost savings, especially when you want to decrease quantity costs. Many suppliers offer volume discounts that are applicable to orders with mixed colors of sublimation koozie blanks. Plus, you can look for coupons and discounts to further reduce the cost per unit when making bulk purchases. Don’t forget to use the “cart buy” option to take advantage of these deals and consider using shoppay buy for a seamless checkout experience.

Bulk packs of sublimation koozie blanks are typically sold on both dedicated platforms and marketplaces like Amazon, with quantities ranging from 25 to 200 pieces. This offers significant cost savings for large orders. And if smaller packs are more suitable for your needs, you have the option to decrease the total quantity of the order for saving costs.


In conclusion, sublimation on koozies is a fantastic way to create vibrant, durable, and custom designs. With the right preparation, design creation, and application techniques, you can produce high-quality sublimated koozies that your customers will love. So, don’t wait – dive into the colorful world of sublimation on koozies today and let your creativity shine! And remember – there are so many other sublimation projects you can work on – from sublimation on bookmark projects to sublimation projects on earring blanks!

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature do you sublimate on koozies?

You should sublimate on koozies at 400 degrees F for 30 seconds with medium pressure, placing paper face down and using heat transfer tape if needed. This temperature and duration will ensure a successful sublimation process.

What temperature do you sublimate on neoprene?

You can sublimate on neoprene at a temperature and pressure setting suitable for sublimation printing.

What is sublimation on koozies?

Sublimation on koozies is a process that transfers dye onto polyester materials using heat and pressure, creating a permanent, full-color image on the koozie. It’s a great way to personalize your koozies.

Why is lint rolling important in the sublimation process?

Lint rolling is crucial in the sublimation process because it helps remove dirt, dust, and fibers that might affect print quality. It ensures a clean surface for the sublimation to work effectively.

What are good design tips for sublimation koozies?

When designing sublimation koozies, be sure to measure the dimensions, opt for full-wrap designs, and test on inexpensive fabric first. This will help ensure a successful final product.


  1. Yu, J. (2012c, October 4). How to buy a printer. CNET. https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/printer-buying-guide/
  2. Neoprene – chemical safety facts. (2022, October 14). Chemical Safety Facts. https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/chemicals/neoprene/
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