Sublimation paper is a critical element of creating quality sublimated items. Sublimation paper, like Beaver TexPrint XP sublimation paper, is coated so it will not absorb the sublimation inks and will release the sublimation inks from the sublimation paper easily with the use of a heat press.
Additionally, tacky sublimation paper such as Beaver TexPrint Tacky sublimation paper is coated with a light tacky coating which keeps the sublimation paper in place during the heat transfer process.
There are literally hundreds of different items you can decorate. One of the main applications is to decorate fabric for apparel and soft signage. You can also decorate hundreds of polymer coated substrates including mugs, tiles, plaques, coasters, interior signage, etc. Unisub makes an entire catalog full of sublimation blanks. The majority of photo gifts you see offered in the market place are made with sublimation. Click here to see sublimation samples including sublimated apparel, flags and tiles.
An iron can't reach 400 degrees and it won't be able to provide even and heavy pressure. A good heat press for sublimation is the George Knight DK20S heat press. It is a heavy duty heat press for a reasonable price that has the ability to press thicker blanks if you ever want to get into decorating plaques. Be aware that cheap heat presses from abroad don't provide even, accurate heat and most are likely to fall apart in the first year of use.
More info: http://www.skyimagepaper.com/