I love making keychains with adhesive vinyl and my Silhouette or Cricut! What I don’t love is that the vinyl tends to get knicked and dinged up by my keys. When I set out the other day to make some keychains, I remembered that I had some blank sublimation keychains. I thought to myself that they would be a great alternative to vinyl on keychains because the sublimation printing can take getting beat up and thrown into my purse better than adhesive vinyl. Today, I’m sharing the process I used to create keychains (and a luggage tag).
Tutorial: How to Create Sublimation Keychains and Luggage Tags
- Order some supplies. Pick up some blank Unisub keychains or luggage tags. Unisub is the manufacturer and doesn’t sell direct to the public, however, you can pick up sublimation keychains from my friends at Coastal Business Supplies through this link. There’s a ton to choose from including an anchor, martini glass, awareness ribbon, circle, square, heart, football, and many more. If you are looking for luggage tags, head to this link.
- Grab the templates. Unisub offers templates for all the products they manufacture. I have a tutorial showing how to use the templates with Silhouette Studio in this blog post.
- Create your designs. Use your favorite software (Silhouette Studio, Cricut Design Space, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or whatever you like best!) to create some designs. I stuck to simple with my designs and used colorful themed backgrounds with some text. I picked up commercial use backgrounds from stock photo sites. Be sure to mirror your design before printing.
- Print your design on heat transfer paper. Here is a link to the paper I’ve been using. (My phone number is blacked out in the photo below so thousands of people don’t call me!)
- Line up your design with your blank keychain and tape it into place. I use this heat resistant tape. You will see that I made the design slightly larger than the keychain. This is referred to as a ‘bleed’. This ensures that your entire keychain is covered with your design. Be sure that no important details are in the bleed area.
- Press the design. I pressed for 180 seconds at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and got great color. I used my handy little pink heat press that I talked about in this post. As a quick reminder, the keychains are metal and they really heat up in the press! Be cautious taking them out and allow them to cool before touching them.
- Add the hardware. The keychains I have (martini glass, 4666 and anchor, 4731 came with a keychain ring and plastic connector) the luggage tag (flip flop, 4729) did not include hardware.
That’s it! I think sublimation makes for great keychains and luggage tags! Wondering what else you can do with sublimation? I’ve got a tutorial for jewelry at this link, mugs at this link, and a whole beginners series on what exactly sublimation is that starts at this link.
Love this project? Save the image below to Pinterest.