Sublimation printing, also known as dye sublimation printing, uses heat to transfer dyes onto various substrates, such as t-shirts, mugs and other items. Here’s everything you need to know about sublimation printing—and its many advantages over other methods of fabric decoration. You can also check out our infographic on the topic below!
What is sublimation?
Sublimation is a specialised printing process that transfers dye onto paper or other substrates. It’s most often used for creating mass-produced, durable products such as t-shirts, bags, and cups. Sublimation works by using a sheet of polyester film (which acts as a carrier) with a layer of ink sandwiched between two layers of plastic. The inks are specially formulated so they can be melted at room temperature when placed under high pressure in an industrial press. After heating, only the ink remains on top of an otherwise blank sheet—leaving no messy residue behind. Sublimated prints are extremely durable and won’t crack or fade like screen-prints will over time.
How does it work?
When dye sublimation printing works, it is a wonderful process. This is because it allows you to create a wide range of products that are practical, fashionable, and sturdy. However, if you aren’t familiar with how sublimation printing works or if you don’t have a good understanding of how it works, then things can go wrong quite quickly. The most common issues occur when people try to print items on their own without getting them professionally printed.
What equipment do I need?
When choosing a sublimation printer, it’s important to note that there are two distinct types of sublimation printers: dye sublimation printers and inkjet sublimation printers. Dye sublimation printers use dyes rather than inks to transfer images, which results in more accurate and precise color rendition.
How much does it cost?
Sublimation printing is a bit more expensive than other methods, since sublimation printing systems are expensive and higher-quality paper is required. Still, it’s a great way to customise shirts and other clothing items—which makes it ideal for all sorts of events, from stag parties to team building activities. The good news is that no matter what your needs are, there’s a printer that can fit in with your budget.
Is it safe?
Like inkjet and laser printers, dye sublimation printing is safe for homes and offices. In fact, sublimation printing utilises a method of transferring dye that results in a beautiful, finished product. But it’s important to know what kinds of materials you can print on with dye sublimation printers and how they affect your products before you start operating your new machine.
Will it last as long as other methods?
Sublimation printing has been around for quite some time, and there are plenty of companies out there that offer high-quality sublimation products and systems. So, will your printed images last as long as they would with other methods? It all depends on your product, but most printouts should last a lifetime—certainly many years!
Can I get it on anything?
Before you go to a shop and spend your hard-earned cash on a sublimation printing system, you should know that sublimation transfers can be applied to most materials. This means that any part of your t-shirt design will be visible – if it’s going on a t-shirt, it’ll probably transfer.