Textile Futures as a module has been an exploration into different manufacturing and printing processes. For one of my final outcomes I have decided to make use of the sublimation printing facilities within the textile department in conjunction with a specially coated form of MDF.

Sublimation is defined as turning a a solid into a gas then back to a solid again without any liquid stage. This allows the application of sublimation inks into a materials surface using a heat press to provide the required combination of heat, time and pressure. The colour penetrates the material giving a result which is long lasting, colourful and resistant to scratching.

The sublimation dye after a short amount of time has not fully transferred

The heat press, set to 170 degrees and the countdown beginning

Using a pattern created by Rebecca derived from our ethnographic research into peoples kitchens we printed our design on sublimation paper using a standard inkjet printer. As we were the first in the university to use the specially coated MDF it was complete guesswork to know the exact temperature and time we would have to leave the piece under the heat press. Using rough guidelines for acrylic and fair few throwaway samples we eventually settled on 170 degrees for 45 seconds.

We have decided to make a tea caddy to house one of our other outcomes, an exploration into paper folded teabags. This is all under our exploration of peoples everyday rituals for Designspeck as tea making is a ritual many of us can relate to.

My Tea Caddy sublimation printed on all sides

The inside of the completed tea caddy ready for the folded tea bags

Read more from James Rice at http://www.jamesricedesign.wordpress.com