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Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing is a popular process of transferring your designs onto a garment. When the image is printed, there is no resolution loss when compared to the original image and the inks will last for many years to come.

What is Sublimation Printing?

The definition of sublimation is a chemical process where a solid turns into a gas without going through the liquid stage, this applies to sublimation printing too. 

Sublimation is possible with any design that you desire. The design that you’ve created will be transferred to special sublimation transfer paper using a digital printer and sublimation inks. The sublimation paper is then transferred to your garment of choice (must be made of 100% polyester), and a heat press is placed on top, heating the sheets to 177-200oC. The inks then turn into a gas state and sink into (permeate) the fibres of the garment. This is because the heat releases the sublimation inks from the transfer paper, at the same time as opening the pores of the fabric. In a gas state, the inks permeate the fabric through the open pores. When the heat press is removed, the gas turns into a solid and the pores close, trapping the inks inside the fabrics, creating a design that will not crack, fade or peel from the garment. 

When Should you use Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation is best used on 100% polyester white fabrics or hard surfaces with a poly coating such as mugs, coasters and mouse pads. Sublimation is used for all-over dye applications as the colours are bold and long-lasting (except for black inks that appear lighter than usual black shades). These all-over dye applications are perfect if you want to stand out in a crowd or simply love a top but want to change its colour. 

Sublimation printing is commonly used to create sports clothing as they require a soft finish. Sports clubs can easily create their own branded kit and colours using sublimation printing. 

Furthermore, there is no minimum or maximum order needed to make sublimation printing viable; you can simply print a design onto one T-shirt or create hundreds for an event or your own fashion line. 

When shouldn’t you use Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing continues to be an effective way to print a vivid design onto a garment or an object. However, sublimation may not be best for you if:

  • You’re worried about white marks. Because the garment is underneath a heat press with the transfer paper, it’s not uncommon that there are patches of white where the colour has failed to transfer. This is due to creases in the T-shirt and can be commonly found in the armpit area.
  • You want an all-over black colour. The garment can only absorb a certain amount of sublimation ink. A solid black cannot be achieved as the garment can’t absorb enough ink, resulting in black colours looking less saturated.
  • You want a design on a black shirt. The colours won’t be as bold on darker fabrics, which is why it’s recommended that you use a lighter shirt and dye the shirt an all-over dark colour.
  • You want your design to be printed in a specific place. Sublimation printing is effective but it’s hard to accurately pinpoint a design; sublimation is commonly used for randomly placed ink effects. 

Here at The Funky Peach, we are sublimation printing experts with the most up to date technological machinery. If you would like to view some sublimation examples or have any questions regarding the process, please do not hesitate to call The Funky Peach on 01202 722333.