Spoonflower’s got short-pile minky but no mochi, so I’ve been contemplating the possibility of sublimation on mochi for quite awhile. It’s polyester (generally 94-96%, the elastane being the remaining percent) so I figured it should take sublimation well. But a sublimation printer is a pretty big investment in both cash and space, so I wanted to try it out with pre-made transfer sheets. So here we go!
I tried two different fabrics: upholstery velvet (actually the unprinted area of some Celosia Velvet from Spoonflower, since I couldn’t find the white Royal Velvet… all polyester, so mostly a good test). I ran a sheet of Cricut brand “Infusible Ink” through the Silhouette, and cut a scaly belly for a mochi dragon, thinking I’d do a white-with-scales version of the pink-hearts-with-white-foiled version that I, uh, haven’t finished yet.
Anyway, I took some of the scraps and tried them out on the velvet and the mochi. I cranked the heat press up to 400, preheated the fabric for 10 seconds, then pressed the fabric plus ink sheet for 30 seconds, with mostly good results. The velvet showed a little creasing around the edges of the press. It’s a little hard to make out, but it’s pretty definite in person.
So I might dial things down a little. Another thing that happened on both the velvet and the mochi is a lot of scattered fibers seem to have picked up pigment somehow – that’s why the velvet above looks “dirty.” I probably need to actually read the directions.
Then I tried the main piece of mochi: preheated it for 10 seconds, put down my pattern piece to get the alignment correct… and the mochi was too short. I was 99% sure I hadn’t mis-measured, so I tried again: cut a 7.5 x 7.5 piece of mochi, and preheated it for 10 seconds and yep, it stays 7.5″ wide but shrank down by almost half an inch in height.
The elastane seems fine, it still stretches and springs back very well, so I went ahead in the name of science and re-preheated it, placed the ink sheet, pressed it for 30 seconds… and now it’s about 6.75″ tall, so about 10% shrinkage. That will be something to take into account, and I’ll definitely want to fully pre-shrink it before sublimation so the design doesn’t get distorted. (I should note that JoAnn’s care instructions are wash cold, tumble dry low, do not iron. I read those directions, I just ignored them.)
Other than that, the mochi handles the press just fine. I need to try out a true black transfer to see if the 6% elastane (which won’t absorb the ink) makes a visible difference.
And, most importantly, I need to align the scales right-side up next time. 🤦