What Are Sublimation Transfers?
Sublimation transfers play a significant role in the sublimation printing process. These are unique sublimation paper that holds dehydrated ink transferred to many sublimation-friendly blanks, like a t-shirt, mug, wood, keychain, vinyl, ceramics, fabric, etc.
When I started working with sublimation printing, I often wondered: What are sublimation transfers? or what is sublimation printing? Is it something different from sublimation printing, or is it the same? Because I needed to familiarize myself with the process. Therefore, after getting some practical experience, I found these transfers are essential to this sublimation printing process.
In this blog post, I will share my findings about sublimation printing transfers that can help to create custom designs accurately. even you can start your business at a beginner level after reading this blog post.
some important points and tips to consider;
- Sublimation on 100% cotton can not be done.
- Vivid and sharp printing can be avail when fabric contains more polyester.
- To perform sublimation printing, we usually use light or white blanks. However, if we sublimate on dark color or black fabric, it will lose its brightness the design will look too soft or not correctly visible.
- When you sublimate any blank, it requires a specific coating that works with sublimation.
- Moreover, you can buy a ready-made Cricut infusible ink transfer sheet or purchase sublimation paper that can be designed and printed on different surfaces.
How to print with Sublimation Paper
To explain this, exactly how to make sublimation transfers? Here is an example of Sublimation printing t-shirts. You can sublimate a light-colored t-shirt containing 60% polyester and 40 % cotton. Also, Remember the more polyester fabric has, the better the design will print.
1. Make your desired design with Silhouette studio, procreate, and photoshop or other designing programs. Always mirror your design first before printing.
2. Print the design onto the paper and transfer it through a heat press machine to the desired blank.
3. Place the t-shirt inside a preheated heat press machine.
4. Face down, transfer the paper to the material, and press it for about 45 seconds. That’s it. Now the design has been moved from paper to the t-shirt. how a simple process gives us brilliant quality results in a little time.
How do you make sublimation transfers?
Well, we can get transfer paper in different ways, and that’s the flexibility and beauty of these transfer sheets. So, how do you do sublimation transfers? Read these simple ways to get transfer sheets.
Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets
Suppose you only have a little time to make or design a sublimation transfer on a sublimation printer, so what can be your next step? Yes, you can buy these ready-made transfers online from Etsy, amazon as Cricut infusible ink sheets, or you can also buy any custom-designed ready-to-use papers.
Ready to Press Transfers papers
Moreover, it is best if you have a sublimation printer but if you can not afford to buy it you should make a plan to purchase pre-designed sublimation transfer sheets available in different A4, A5, and A6 sizes from marketplaces that cost as low as $1.
Sublimation Printer Ready Design
The best way is to make a custom-design sublimation transfer on a sublimation printer. You can create a design, print it on sublimation paper, and use it to print vibrant crispy designs on your favorite blanks.
What do you need to do for sublimation printing?
To do sublimation printing, we need some vital things in completing the process.
- Sublimation printer
- Sublimation ink
- Sublimation paper
- Heat press machine
First, we will learn a little about sublimation printing and cover the essentials individually.
What is sublimation printing?
To explain the sublimation process, I will share with you some examples that will give you an idea of how sublimation transfers work.
In sublimation printing, a special ink called sublimation ink works with heat. When we heat the item, the ink converts into gas and goes into the pores of fabric, mug, glass, or any material you are working on without going through a liquid state.
Unlike simple printed designs, which sit only on top of a product and fade over time, in submission printing, the ink is absorbed into the pores of the item and lasts for many years. It does not make an outer layer like a sticker or temporary swelling on the surface. That is how sublimation printing works.
In glass sublimation, mug sublimation, and clothing sublimation, heat converts the ink into a gas state when we heat the glass/mug in an oven or heat the fabric in a heat press machine. It instantly penetrates the pores of the blank, and the design is transferred onto the product.
I have written a detailed article on what is sublimation printing go for it and grab more knowledge.
In sublimation printing, sublimation inks are used in sublimation printer. These inks are dye particles based on the dye sublimation printing process.
By applying heat and pressure, the ink goes into a gas state, drives through into the blank’s pores, and sublimates designs perfectly onto various items.
There are two types of sublimation inks that are used in sublimation printing. Aqueous sublimation inks and Solvent sublimation inks the first one is used for large format printers, and the solvent type of sublimation are for wide printers’ head like Konica and Spectra, etc.
The versatility of these inks can be implemented on surfaces like textile printing, sportswear printing, and hard surfaces like wood, glass, ceramics, and metal.
want to read detailed information about sublimation inks here you go;
Sublimation papers are unique piece of paper that works with sublimation inks. These are also like transfer paper coated with wax and pigment that works with inkjet sublimation printers to complete sublimation projects. The inks create transfers designed to be imprinted on many sublimation-friendly blanks.
So, how to use a sublimation paper? Sublimation transfer is a straightforward and quick solution to create custom designs on various surfaces.
As I mentioned above, it is quoted with wax and pigment when we use it on a t-shirt, mug, or metal to sublimate a design. When it gets the heat, it extricates absorbed sublimation ink, and the design is printed onto the desired object.
There are several types of papers are available in the market. You can select according to your printing needs.
Well, the sublimation sheets I used for most of my sublimation printing tasks are A-Sub paper, and the result was fabulous as it works with almost every surface, whether it is wood, metal, fabric, vinyl, and so on.
Moreover, the koala brand paper, HTVRONT brand paper, and Printers Jack brand paper all are worthy of use.
If you also want to know more information about the sublimation paper here you can read it.
A sublimation printer is a high-quality computer printer used to design images on transfer paper. Mostly regular printers are converted into sublimation printers.
Sawgrass is the only brand that brings out ready-to-use sublimation printers. Epson also introduced some of its sublimation printers, but only some are equivalent to sublimation printing. Some Epson printers are converted from regular printers to sublimation printers via sublimation ink.
And it’s also essential to remember that only some standard printers can be converted into a sublimation printer, as some unique features support sublimation printing. However, they are considered to be converting best for sublimation printing.
The Sublimation printers that I like the most are;
Sawgrass and Epson sublimation printers
Both brands have good characteristics and features, which is why the quality of both brands is satisfactory at any level.
To buy any printer, you must consider some attributes.
- Printing speed
- Printing dimensions
- No. of ink colors
My recommended sublimation printers are
Heat Press Machine
A heat press machine is a tool that produces heat and applies pressure on fabric to imprint designs. For example, when we do custom fabric sublimation printing, This machine uses heat and pressure to transfer our desired design onto the substrate.
A wide range of automatic and manual heat presses are available. While we can use it for shirt printing, these heat presses can also work to apply designs on steel, mugs, caps, etc.
A heat press machine’s job is to transfer designs on different blanks using transfer paper. As a result, many transfer sheets have been introduced in the market. These are sublimation transfer paper, inkjet transfer paper, heat transfer vinyl paper, plastisol transfer sheets, and laser transfer paper.
Sublimation Vs. Heat transfer
What is the difference between sublimation and heat transfer? To understand it, let’s summarize the sublimation and heat transfer paper.
In sublimation printing, a particular paper must print different designs on desired items through heat and pressure. However, the design printed during the process is durable because it goes into the material’s pores.
Hence, the sublimation design does not fade or get damaged, no matter how often you wash it. Therefore, the durability of sublimation is much better than heat transfer.
Heat Transfer Paper
Two types of heat transfers are available: inkjet transfer paper and laser transfer paper. Both need a supportive printer that works properly with them. Heat transfer paper is a special paper used for printing the design on any surface with a heat press.
What is the difference between sublimation and heat transfer?
When I went through these processes, it was clear to differentiate both. In the sublimation process, the ink changes to a gas state, and the design firmly prints into the inner particles of any surface through heat and pressure and does not fade away or crack.
Whereas heat transfer paper adopts the same process as sublimation, it can be used on any surface without special coating.
Moreover, in sublimation printing, we can only print on white or light color garments or surfaces, whereas in heat transfer printing, you can print on any color fabric or even on hard surfaces.
Regarding durability, sublimation printing is more durable than heat transfer as in the heat transfer process, printing only prints onto the surface of a substrate, but in sublimation, the design penetrants into the blank very well.
So sublimated design can not be weeded or cracked and discolored, but in heat transfer, it prints like a sticker and easily removes from the fabric.