How to Print on Demand on Pet Collars – A Simple Guide!


Print on demand on pet collars

Your dog has a big personality, well, more like huge, actually. You’d love for them to be able to express themselves everywhere they go with a customized pet collar. How do you use print-on-demand for your own pet collar designs?

To print a pet collar on demand, follow these steps:

  • Buy a sublimation collar
  • Create your collar design
  • Feed the collar through your sublimation printer
  • Enjoy your new pet collar

In this article, we’ll talk about all the reasons to print a custom pet collar as well as elaborate on the above steps. We’ll even share a few other collar customization methods you can try if you can’t get your hands on a sublimation printer. You’re not going to want to miss it.

Why Customize Your Pet Collars with On-Demand Printing?

At any pet store, you can find countless collars in all sizes, styles, and colors. You can also browse around online for something a little more to your dog’s liking, but even that’s not a customized design.

On-demand printing is a great way to recognize your dog or cat for the amazing, one-of-a-kind furry friend they are. Here are some reasons you’ll want to try printing your own pet collar ASAP.

Name Recognition

We live in an age where pets have Instagram accounts that sometimes generate more followers than people. Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have such a huge following (yet), the name recognition a printed pet collar delivers is a great way of saying hey, your pet is a big deal.

A collar and bandana combo with your dog’s name printed on both will have everyone whispering whenever you walk down the street with your favorite four-legged friend.

Spoiling Your Pet

You’ve always tried to refrain from giving your pet everything they ask for, but you just can’t avoid those sweet eyes. You always give in and let your dog or cat have their way, from more treats to extra miles walked outside to a nice belly rub.

Since you’re already so into the habit of spoiling your pet, why not continue the trend with a custom collar? You may recognize the significance of such an accessory more than they do, but they’ll still appreciate it nonetheless. 

Easy Identification

Print-on-demand pet collars are for more than just looks and fun, of course. They also act as an easy means of identification. While we wouldn’t advocate for a customized pet collar above something like microchipping, it’s hard to miss a dog with their own vivid, labeled collar.

4 Simple Steps to Follow for Printing a Pet Collar On Demand

You’re convinced! You’d love to print a pet collar for your favorite cat or dog, but how do you get started? Allow us to expand on the four steps we listed in the intro.

Step 1: Buying Your Collar

First thing’s first, you need a collar you can print on. Not just any type of collar will do here. If it’s not a sublimation collar, then your results won’t turn out as intended.

What is a sublimation collar? It’s a pet collar made of sublimation material for adhering the graphic or image. It should be completely blank so you can print your design on it.

Here’s a video of what they look like courtesy of YouTube:

This link also has sublimation collars and bandanas for sale.

We’ve talked in the past about printing on sublimation paper, but sublimation can encompass a variety of materials. To recap from that post about sublimation paper printing, to sublimate is to transfer a substance like ink onto a medium such as your pet collar using a heat source.

Please double-check before you buy your collar that it’s of the sublimation variety. That means leaving that spare pet collar you have lying around at home for another project.  

Step 2: Designing the Collar

Next comes the fun part, which is choosing what kind of design you’ll adorn on your pet’s collar. Collar lengths depend on the size of the animal, but the shorter ones are 13 inches long while XL collars may be as long as 34 inches.

Collars are lengthy, then, but they’re not very wide. You must keep that in mind when making your design. To plan the design more accurately, you might want to measure the pet collar when it arrives in the mail and then make a design that’s as long and wide as the collar itself.

Complicated designs may not transfer as well on a pet collar as they would on a t-shirt or a pillow. Keep it simple, like a recurring pattern or your pet’s name.

If you have some sort of 3D modeling computer software, run your design through there to make sure it doesn’t look cut off or squished.

Step 3: Sublimation Printing

You’re happy with your design and would like to proceed with getting it printed. To do that, you can’t use a regular inkjet printer. Since it’s a sublimation collar, you need a sublimation printer.

These aren’t the cheapest, as a good printer costs between $300 and $600. Mass-produced sublimation printer, which you’d likely need if you run a printing business, has a price tag of $10,000 or more.

Sticking to personal sublimation printers, one of the better ones on the market is the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500. This is a full printing kit that includes the sublimation printer and an install kit. As your new desktop printer, the SG500 can print on items that are 8.5 inches by 14 inches. That’s perfect for smaller pet collars for a cat or toy dog breeds.

You can check out this introductory video about sublimation printing on YouTube here if you need a more thorough recap.  

When you order your printer and it arrives, you can feed your sublimation pet collar through, select the print option, and the design will be imparted from there. Here’s a video showing how pet collars are mass-printed on a large-scale sublimation printer. It’s really cool to get a glimpse into how it’s done on a commercial scale:

Step 4: Using Your New Collar

When the printed collar pops out of the printer, take a look at it. It should be true to your original design. If you’re pleased, then let it cool down a bit (since the sublimation printer uses heat) and then feel free to put it around your pet’s neck.

Leash up your dog and head to the local dog park to show off that cool new customized collar. You and your pup will certainly be the talk of the town now!

Do You Have Other Options for Customizing a Pet Collar?

If a sublimation printer is outside of your budget for the time being, you can still apply your own custom-designed prints to your pet’s collar. Here are two options to try outside of on-demand printing. They don’t produce results as seamless, but they’ll still do in a pinch.

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Your first customization option is heat transfer vinyl. Here’s a video to follow along with. For this project, you need to transfer vinyl, a blank pet collar, and an iron. In this case, there’s no need for the collar to be of the sublimation variety since you’re not doing sublimation printing:

Pick the vinyl appliques you want to add to the collar. Lay the collar flat on a hard surface such as a table. Add the vinyl appliques where you like them, then press your ironing board on the collar.

When you remove the ironing board after several seconds, the vinyl applique should be attached to the collar. You’d then repeat this process until you cover the whole collar or however much you want the design to be displayed on.

Paper Sublimation

This method involves sublimation but doesn’t require a sublimation printer. Check out this video as you get started:

You’ll need protective paper, scissors, your design, a press, your pet collar, and DyeTrans ProSpray. This aerosol adhesive spray enhances the sharpness and quality of your printed design so it’s almost like using a sublimation printer.

Oh, and as a note, you do need a sublimation collar in this instance.

Take your design and print it out on the paper sheet. Then cut the design strip using the scissors. Put a piece of protective paper on the press and then the pet collar atop that.

Apply the DyeTrans ProSpray to your paper and then lay the paper design-side down on your leash, pressing down. Lay another piece of protective paper over the leash and use your press for a minute. The temperature should reach at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the paper off the leash and the design should be imprinted.

Conclusion

Printing your own custom pet collar design is easier than you think. For best results, a sublimation printer is recommended, but you can also use a press and sublimation paper or even heat transfer vinyl for a quick project.

The key is having a sublimation collar to transfer the design onto. Now that you know how it’s done, you can have lots of fun printing homemade custom-designed pet collars. They make a great gift, too!

Henrik Bruhn

Owner of a danish Print On Demand production facility and writes about the craft, techniques, and trends in the business

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