How do sublimation printing work

If you are new to the word sublimation and wondering, what does this sublimation printing means? No more wonderings.

In this article, we will give you authentic details about how to do sublimation printing and its process.

Sublimation printing is a high-tech sublimation process and it is mostly used in apparel firms.

How to do Sublimation Printing

Sublimation:

Sublimation is an innovation in the printing industry. It is actually printing a design onto a piece of fabric with the help of heat and ink.

This sublimation printing is a breakthrough in the printing and apparel industry. This has given a huge new direction to apparel designs and schemes.

Sublimation printing process:

Now let’s get the details that, what is the process of sublimation printing.

  • In the sublimation printing process, the transferring agent is heat that transfers the design from the page to the fabric.
  • First, the chosen design is get printed on a special kind of page called the sublimation page.
  • The printed page is then entered into the heat press with the fabric.
  • The ink used at the instance is turned into gas.
  • And then that heat lifts that gassed ink onto the fabric.
  • The print that is now printed on the fabric is permanent.
  • The permanent print is insured because the heat opens up the pores of the fabric and the ink gets embedded in the pores. After that, the ink gets solid within the pores and there is no chance that the print gets fade with any type of washing.
  • The process turns the ink from gas to solid directly and doesn’t allow it to turn into liquid. That is what the word sublimation implies.
  • The process starts with heating and is controlled by pressure.

Materials required for sublimation printing:

The followings are the things that you need to have for starting a sublimation printing setup.

  • A sublimation printer will be in need because you have to print the design onto the transfer paper from the software. A sublimation printer is necessary because no other usual printers can do the sublimation printing.
  • Heat press/mug clamp and press; Heat press is required if you want to print the design onto a piece of fabric. If you going to transfer the design from the transfer paper onto the mug the mug clamp press will be in need.
  • Transfer paper; Transfer paper is also called the sublimation paper that you will need when you are doing sublimation printing.
  • Substrate; last but the most essential thing that you will require while doing a sublimation printing is the substrate on which the design is going to be printed permanently.

Types of sublimation printing fabrics:

Following are some fabric types that work best with sublimation printing.

  • Polymer coated plastic
  • Polyester-made fabric.
  • Polymer coated metal.
  • Polyester-coated aluminum.
  • Polyvinyl chloride.
  • Ceramic
  • Polymer
  • Poly cotton textile

Among the above-mentioned materials, the best are polyester or ceramic.

In sublimation printing, you can print more than one design on the fabric. Unlike the other printing process where you just can print one design or one logo on a single piece of apparel.

Sometimes the sublimation doesn’t go well with some kind of apparel this happens due to a mismatch of colors.

Fabric-like cotton and other natural ones don’t work with sublimation printing. This is because these fabrics don’t have pores and the ink doesn’t get embedded into them.

Pros and cons of using sublimation printing:

Some pros and cons of using the sublimation printings process are

Pros:

  • Most importantly, with sublimation printing, you can go crazy with your designs. There is no restriction that you have to add only a specific design to the apparel. You can have a series of designs on your t-shirt.
  • The other advantage of sublimation printing is its reliability. The print doesn’t get fade, peeled, or cracked anytime soon or with any kind of washing.

Cons:

  • The cons are mostly substrate-relating. If you don’t choose the best material for your print then it will end up in bad results.
  • Go with materials that have some amount of polyesters in them. Don’t go with 100% natural material.
  • Sometimes after printing some parts remain blank, this happens due to the transfer paper may contain some moisture, or during the heat process that it may get a fold.
  • This problem is common while you work with sublimation printing.

FAQs

Can we do sublimation with the usual printer also?

No, sublimation can’t be done with the usual printers. The sublimation printer uses sublimation ink and sublimation paper. The game lies here; sublimation printing is all dependent on the ink and the paper. Thus no other printer can do the sublimation printing.

Can we do sublimation at home?

For sublimation printing you just need a small setup having some machines. You can do it in your home also. The things you need to have to start sublimation printing at home are

  • Sublimation printer
  • Transfer paper
  • Heat press
  • Substrate

Does sublimation printing go well with any color?

The answer is yes, but the end quality deviates greatly. If you want to print in a dark color, it will get printed but, it will be not as visible as it is on the light color material.

Better to take light colors for the sublimation printing. Especially avoid black for quality results.

Conclusion:

Let’s end the above discussion by giving it a brief conclusion.

Sublimation printing is a breakthrough in the printing and apparel market. Through this technique, we can have a series of reliable prints on our shirts and things. The setup simply just comprises 4 main basic machines.

The sublimation printed substrates are reliable in that the print is not going to fade anytime soon, nor get peeled, or cracked. The print is reliable with any kind of washing also.

The only flaw that sublimation printing has, it does not go well with the dark colors. The print is not visible when printed in dark colors.

It is recommended not to use dark colors while working with sublimation printing.

Thank you for reading the article. If you like this let us know in the comment section below.

References

Bemska, Jadwiga, and Joanna Szkudlarek. “Surface modification of cotton fabrics for sublimation printing.” Autex Research Journal 13.3 (2013): 67-70.

El‐Halwagy, Azza A., Hanan S. El‐Sayad, and Mohamed M. El‐Molla. “Sublimation transfer printing of cotton and wool fabrics.” Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 286.10 (2001): 618-623.

Özomay, Meral, and Zafer Özomay. “The effect of temperature and time variables on printing quality in sublimation transfer printing on nylon and polyester fabric.” Avrupa Bilim ve Teknoloji Dergisi 23 (2021): 882-891.

Chavan, R. B., and M. Hanif Langer. “Sublimation transfer printing of polyester/cotton blends.” Textile Research Journal 58.1 (1988): 51-56.

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