5 Most Common Sublimation Issues: How to Avoid them?

Learn How to find 5-most-common-sublimation-issues and resolve them

Challenges are a part of everyday life, and you have to face challenges in all aspects no matter what. These challenges and problems are a natural part of your learning and development process. You cannot expect to fix a bug in your laptop unless you have the necessary training to resolve the issue. On the same page, sublimation printing also has to face various bugs and sublimation printing problems. Whether you are skilled or beginner, you will face some errors if there is even a minor factor against the process. Based on the years of experience in sublimation, professionals have gathered common sublimation issues that everybody has to face and the measures to resolve these issues.

5 Most Common Sublimation Issues

complete Guide to find detect the most common sublimation issue during sublimation and how to resolve them steps by steps

A Sublimation design has innumerable expectations and emotions linked to it. Imagine you’re sublimating a ceramic cup or tumbler, and the image ghosting or bleeding causes it to deteriorate. I can imagine the anguish you’ll experience if you lose your blank. But don’t be concerned! Remember, it’s all part of the learning process, and you’ll be ready to tackle the next sublimation job in no time. By following the right approach and a list of experts’ instructions, you will have the guts to overcome these common sublimation issues quickly. So, let’s jump into the magical solutions to your common sublimation issues without further ado.

1. Image Ghosting | Shadow effect:

Ghosting means a second version. On the same note, Image ghosting is a shadow effect of your transfer, a second but blurry version of the image you are trying to sublimate. It may also be referred to as doubling the design on the outside of the edges.

Reason for image Ghosting:

It is instructed to tape the sublimation paper tightly with the sublimation blank during pressing. If the paper is not firmly adhered to the blank, it causes it to shift. The sublimation transfer paper’s shifting or even a slight movement during the sublimation process causes ghosting.

Resolving Image Ghosting:

Use heat-resistant tapes to secure the transfer paper to the substrate firmly. Use adhesive spray if you are sublimating on fabric. Spray it lightly on the image side of transfer paper from at least 12-18″ distance. Remove the transfer paper immediately after pressing. When removing transfer paper, make sure it doesn’t slide along the substrate’s surface, as this could distribute sublimation dye into undesirable areas and produce ghosting. The transfer should be promptly and cleanly peeled off the surface with rigid substrates. When it comes to clothing, it’s best to take one end of the paper and carefully draw it away while securely holding the garment down.

Protip: Expert advises not to use an auto-open press for sublimation because it tends to pop open too quickly, causing the paper to shift if not properly taped down.

2. Dull transfers | Less Vibrant outcome:

While sublimating any merchandise, the only reward a person desires is a vibrant or appealing design. If the sublimation colors aren’t rich, you’ll be disappointed and won’t use the product again. Sublimation prints dull or sublimation not bright is the most common sublimation issue that every business or individual has to face, and these problems occur due to various factors.

Factors that cause dull transfers:

  • When you sublimate on the wrong side of the sublimation paper.
  • You are using the wrong color correction software.


How to make sublimation brighter? Before continuing, double-check that you’re printing on the right side of the sublimation paper, which is usually brilliant white. The other side is off-white. Next, make sure you’re printing with the right color correction software. When you use sawgrass virtuoso sg400, the bright side will be facing down the tray. Sawgrass provides a Print Manager for their sublimation printers, making it easy to get outstanding color results with CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other programs. Ensure you’re using the right color correction program, To avoid sawgrass sg400 color issues.

Protip: Print through the custom print drivers– Because these drivers have built-in color correction software in the print control system.

3. Banding | Series of missing Ink Lines:

If you have multiple lines on your design, you most probably have a banding issue. Banding mainly occurs when you are using digital inkjet printers. All the printers need to upgrade the ink cartridge overtime; ink dries with time and needs to be renewed. If the Ink in the print head dries up, the flow of Ink will come to a halt, and the outcome will be stressful Lines of missing Ink that is Banding. If you use a sublimation printer regularly, you won’t have to worry about this because the Ink will flow constantly and won’t clog the print head. This is excellent news for sublimation business owners. However, if you like to sublimate occasionally, then long periods with no printer activity will cause the Ink to dry out.

Causes of Banding:

Usually, Banding appears due to the following three reasons:

  • Clogged Print head nozzles
  • Striations of missing Ink
  • Drying of Ink inside the print heads
  • Running out of sublimation ink

Let’s fix Banding:

Manage to run a bit of ink every day even if you don’t have to print anything.

Use the head cleaning function of the printers to prevent Ink from desiccation.

Some printers cleanse the printhead each day automatically. Congrats if you have Virtuoso or Ricoh printers, But make sure this happens if you leave the printer turned on. But, in other printers, for instance, Epson, you have to do the cleaning manually every few days by pressing a button.

Also Read: Can We Use Sublimation Ink In A Normal Printer?

4. Faded and foggy Images | Vague design:

The moment you pull off the transfer paper and notice the fading of your design is when you realize you messed up in the sublimation settings. As we all know, the Excess of everything is terrible. So don’t think that your project was destroyed just because you were hasty in removing the blank from the heat press, and you should give it more time/ temperature in the next run. You should have to lie at the perfect spot of sublimation settings between not too high and not too low. Balance is always necessary for everything. And you have to set up balanced settings to succeed in your project.

Reasons for blurring:

This will answer all your queries, like why is my sublimation print faded? Why does my sublimation look faded on tumbler or mug?

  • Blurring occurs because you got yourself a low-quality image. If you downloaded the image from the internet and it printed out having low quality. Don’t use it for sublimation.
  • Another reason for image blurring is using high temperature or time settings. So make sure to double-check the settings before proceeding because the sublimation bleeds through due to high temperature.


  • Get yourself a high-quality image
  • Use optimum settings as recommended

Protip: Turn off quick printing modes and adjust your printer’s paper type to a matte paper setting for a high-quality image.

5. Small Dots in the image | Dampness:

If you notice small dots in your design, it is due to environmental conditions. The moisture can burst to steam during production using a heat press set to 400 degrees, practically blowing the Ink away from its intended destination. Color shifting, bleeding of the image, and uneven transfer of solid filled areas are only a few issues caused by dampness. A tiny amount of moisture can collect in your transfer paper under normal conditions, and it’s typically absorbed directly into the substrate during pressing.

It’s also likely that the substrate has moisture if you’re working with clothing or fabric. Pre-pressing the clothing for 3 seconds should remove any moisture and creases. Be careful not to overheat the substrate. When a sublimation transfer is applied to a heated surface, the gassing process begins early, which can result in ghosting.

How to fix it?

  • Pre-press the substrate in the heat press before sublimation
  • Shield the paper from moisture
  • Use butcher paper
  • Get yourself a Hygrometer

Protip: Sublimation works best when the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is between 35 to 65 percent (no condensation).

Quick Tips Regarding Sublimation color problems:

  • Poor Image Quality—Due to the lower resolution of the image. Set DPI of 300 in sublimation printing.
  • Black shade appearing Brown—Over-pressing the mug causes the Ink to gas out and spread.
  • The appearance of Yellow Shade– means usage of Inkjet Ink in place of sublimation ink.
  • Sublimation black looking green—Under-pressing of the mug, Decreased pressure.


The sublimation process is challenging and straightforward, as it necessitates precision and takes a great deal of attention to detail. These are some of the most common sublimation issues that Sublimators have, and each one is relatively simple to fix. This page explains some of the most frequent sublimation errors and issues and how to get the most acceptable print possible. We hope that this expert guide will assist you in resolving any potential challenges that arise as you gain more expertise in the sublimation industry.

Leave a Comment