Awards & Engraving

December '16

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T here's something special about full- color glass imprintables. Glass adds an additional dimension to full-color images as light interacts with vivid colors on images displayed by a window, by a table lamp, on a desk, or on a Christmas tree. Thousands of blank sublimation glass imprintable products are now available, ranging from small jewelry pendants to glass murals and room dividers for major hotels and office buildings. Market opportunities are only limited by your imagina- tion and drive. About 20 years ago, glass items coated with sublimation ink-receptive coatings were intro- duced for indoor display. The first product releases were problematic, to say the least. The front of the glass was coated for sublima- tion, resulting in a double vision effect that distorted the image. It was quickly determined that the glass should be coated on the back, mimicking traditional reverse painted art glass. For the first time, an artist, photographer or graphic designer could create or import images on a computer, print heat transfers, and heat press them on the glass in just a few minutes. A d d i t i o n a l c h a l - lenges remained. Sub- limation dyes are rela- tively transparent, and colors did not stand out enough on a clear glass background. Two variations of coating were developed to dis- play deeper colors on the glass. Frosted glass backing improved contrast and color density, and allowed backlighting from a lamp or window. A second opaque white-backed coating provided even more color density and contrast, but did not allow very much light transmission through the glass substrate. For years, these ✦ 34 ✦ Glass & Crystal Report • A&E DECEMBER 2016 The Evolution of Full-Color Sublimation Glass Awards and Gifts By Bill Leek Top: Front view of a sublimated Condé ColorLyte photo glass. Right: Condé ColorLyte glass viewed from the back. IMAGES COURTESY BILL LEEK

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