Sublimation printing has gained a lot of popularity in the shirts business. With sublimation, you can add much more worth to your simple t-shirt just by some designs or pictures printed on the shirt. As a result, you can add more attractiveness to your product. It will undoubtedly boost the revenue of your t-shirt business to extreme heights. If you do not want to make sublimating t-shirts your business, you can also get excellent and unique designs restricted to yourself.
How To Sublimate a Shirt? yes You can sublimate your shirt by acquiring a sublimation printer, sublimation paper, ink, heat press, and digital designing software. After getting these things, you have to make your design using the software and print them on sublimation paper and put them on the shirt. After that, pass the shirt with the design through a heat press to embed the design permanently on the shirt.
Further ahead in this article, you can familiarize yourself with the sublimation process on t-shirts along with their ups and downs. So, read till the end to learn the steps and sublimate the shirts.
How does sublimation printing work?
Sublimation printing is the process in which you can do sublimation on many sublimation-friendly surfaces. We can do it on any blank, but it is essential to have a sublimation coating. Dye-sub printing can be applied to ceramics, metal, fabric, wood, plastic, vinyl, and many more.
It is a computer technology that creates digital printing by using sublimation printers, sublimation inks, sublimation papers, and heat transfer machines. In the sublimation process, if I tell you in simple words that using pressure and heat on a surface, the ink goes into gas form and is firmly infused into the blank cells without liquifying, and that’s the beauty of sublimation.
Moreover, to perform this process, a design is created on a transfer paper with and then sublimated on the fabric using heat and pressure in a pre-heated temperature 340-360 F heat press machine for about 45 to 60 seconds or until the design gets printed on the fabric.
In a heat press machine, the time for pressing a Polyester Fabric/ Apparel is considered to be 50-60 seconds, and the temperature is 380-400 F. I recommend pressing the fabric/shirt on a medium level so that The upper surface of your clothes doesn’t damage.
The printers use micro piezo heads capable of sublimation printing and perform very well with blanks. The result of sublimation on any material is nearly permanent. These printers are available in a wide range in the market. Epson and Sawgrass brands are big manufacturers to produce these printers.
I have written a detailed article on what is sublimation printing. you can visit to explore more things for your printing needs.
How To Sublimate a Shirt?
Before getting started with sublimation for beginners, you need to equip yourself with some types of equipment for sublimation on shirts. These are the required things;
The most crucial element to sublimating a shirt is to use a sublimation printer for shirts, which helps different printing design with high precisions on a shirt. A particular type of printer embeds and imprints digitalized designs on polyester products.
A special kind of ink that is made for sublimated printing is a mixture of heat-reactive solids and sublimation printer fluid that forms bonds with polyester in designs. Without these inks, it would be a dream to get prints on a shirt.
A special kind of sublimation paper coated with polymers makes sublimation possible and practical. The quality sublimation heat transfer paper gives a permanent facing using the heat transfer process. Further, the printed image at medium pressure gives an attractive sublimation print that follows almost the same process that is used for t-shirts.
Shirt to sublimate:
A person will need sublimation shirts to embed prints on. The best shirts for sublimation can be of any brand or length as long as it is a polyester product.
Sublimation shirts often come with lots of dust and lint on them. A lint roller wipes away all the dust from the shirt in seconds.
Butcher sublimation transfer paper protects the shirt from touching the heat press and prevents the design from imprinting on the other side of the sublimation t-shirt.
A Heat press is a tool that sublimates the ink and imprints the design permanently on the shirt. The heat press is also used for sublimation transfers. The most suitable one for a Shirt is the Calendar press. For those who are always concerned about sublimation on a shirt with a heat press, I would suggest, following heat press instructions and you are good to go.
Heat Resistant Tape
A heat-resistant tape keeps your design from spreading and giving a ghost effect to the design. It can resist temperatures up to 425F.
Once you have acquired the things required for t-shirt sublimation, you will need to follow a specific number of steps to know, how to do sublimation shirt printing correctly. The steps are;
- Print the design onto the sublimation blank paper.
- Now, put the sublimation paper on the t-shirt and cover the edges with heat-resistant tape.
- Pass the shirt along with the design and heat-resistant tape through the heat press system. It will embed the design with the help of sublimation transfers.
- Place your shirt for 60 seconds in the heat and press under 400F.
Following these steps carefully will help in how to do sublimation on shirts embedded with your unique design perfectly.
Advantages of Sublimation on shirts
Sublimation dye printing on shirts can be advantageous to you in various ways. With technology being modernized day by day, sublimation has evolved to a very great extent. So, these are the advantages;
In the old times, printing designs on shirts was very time-consuming and a tricky feat. But now, with modern technology, you can imprint designs on shirts with ease without wasting any time.
Sublimation-printed designs are much more durable and long-lasting than human-imprinted designs. They are even washable and do not fade for years.
With the help of sublimation transfer printing, you can get the best possible output of designs in terms of quality. This is all because of the sublimation ink used in this process. So, do consider this point while sublimating.
With the help of the sublimation process, you have the liberty of customizing and personalizing your designs to the extent you desire. For example, you can design wide, long, or three-dimensional shirts.
Disadvantages of Sublimation on shirts
Everything in the world has some cons along with pros. Same as that, the sublimation printing process also has several disadvantages for you. But, these disadvantages can never outrun the advantages of sublimation in any way. These disadvantages include;
Mismatching of colors:
The first disadvantage most people face is the mismatch of colors between the digitalized design and the printed design. This is because the computers show the designs in RGB mode. On the other hand, printers follow the CMYK mode making the colors very different from the original colors of the design.
The next disadvantage of the sublimation-ready printer is the blurry effect on the design’s edges making the design look broken. You will mostly face such circumstances. But, do not worry; you can use heat-resistant tape on the edges of the designs to avoid the blurry or ghosting effect.
When any part of the shirt near the design is wet or has bends in it, it creates white lines on all the areas having such effects. This disadvantage of printing can sometimes be irreversible and can render your shirt non-sellable. Then, that shirt will be a complete loss for you. So, always keep your shirt straight and dry while sublimating.
Tips And Tricks To Sublimate A Shirt
There are some specific tips and tricks by using which you can avoid any problems while doing sublimation.
Use Cricut easy press while sublimating on T-shirts. Just be sure to use an easy press mat underneath the press to protect your surface.
Standard inkjet ink will not adhere to polyester-coated surfaces and survive being washed. It has to be sublimation ink for the shirt to be cleaned and held up over time.
After printing the sublimation design, You do not have to press it immediately, but you don’t want it to sit in direct sunlight before it’s pressed, so keep it covered.
The use of a spray on the fabric is unnecessary. The spray adhesive will wash out, so I do not recommend it. If you sublimate on polyester, then it won’t fade.
Another vital thing to tell you is if you want to sublimate the shirt but do not have all the setup, like a sublimation printer and sublimation ink, sublimation paper at home. So, you can purchase different kinds of ready-to-use designed transfer sheets from the market or specific online stores. You buy it and directly use it on your shirt in a heat press machine. Only by taking the sublimation transfers can a design be printed quickly and easily on the fabric the way you want.
I highly recommend testing and running at least a few print tests with your sublimation printer and your sublimation paper to ensure that you have the best setting possible.
Applying heat to sublimation transfer with a heat press will activate the sublimation ink and turn it into a gas that will then absorb into the polyester shirt. The higher the polyester count, the better it will absorb that sublimation ink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you do sublimation with a normal printer?
No, you can not do sublimation using any ordinary printer. there are specific printers that use micro Piezo printing heads designed for sublimation printing can do sublimation.
Why does my shirt look burnt after sublimation?
Above 375 F overheating the fabric can cause sublimation shirt looks blurry or can turn brownish which makes the fabric look burnt. you can not use that cloth for sublimation again unless use another fabric.
Can I sublimate on 50% cotton 50% polyester?
sublimation on 50% polyester and 50% cotton can cause a faded look to the fabric
because when you wash the shirt, the sublimation dyes that will be on the cotton can vanish.
What is sublimation printing?
Sublimation printing is a method to imprint digitalized designs and images on a polyester product like fabrics, etc., following a simple process. Sublimation printing has become one of the most revenue-generating businesses worldwide. It is also known as dye sublimation.
In this process, the design is embedded on the shirt with a special kind of ink called sublimation ink. Almost anyone can do sublimation printing in a comfort zone with the required equipment.
What type of shirt for sublimation?
You can sublimate quickly on any material of the shirt as long as the design is imprinted on a polyester product. You can get sublimation dye sheets from your nearest mall. This sheet is already coated with polyester layers, allowing you to sublimate on anything like ceramics, fabrics, etc. Polyester is the key to sublimation printing.
Does the shirt have to be 100% polyester?
Sublimation printing requires 100% polyester fibers fabric for sublimation printing. Instead, you need the area you want to sublimate to be covered with a polyester layer. The most common fabrics used for sublimation are 60% polyester and 40% cotton.
Can I sublimate to a 100% cotton shirt?
In short, you can not sublimate onto 100% cotton because sublimation printing works with the process in which sublimation ink adheres firmly to the polymers of the material. If the material has no polymers, sublimation printing is not possible on them. However, if you are curious to know how to sublimate to cotton shirts? There are still some other methods.
does a lint roller require sublimating a shirt?
You might need to use a lint roller for sublimation printing. It is because a lint roller wipes off all the dust and dirt on your materials for sublimation in seconds. If you do not use a lint roller, you will expose your printed designs to the danger of spreading around and ruining them. So, watch out for that.