Sublimation printing leads to the emergence of personalized items on a frequent basis. People are more interested in learning about sublimation printing and how it works. This is why experts have finally chosen to break the ice and unveil the science underlying sublimation. Many small businesses and enterprises turn to sublimation printing to create bespoke items for their customers. They sublimate various things, including ceramic mugs, tumblers, water bottles, T-shirts, mousepads, etc.
What is the Idea of Sublimation Printing?
The process of printing designs on various items or materials using ink and heat is known as sublimation. It is a cost-effective way of converting solid ink to gas without having to go through the liquid state, and it provides the benefits of customized products with ease. This speedy and effective printing technology is gaining popularity for smaller batch orders and designs that rely on details. It’s nearly like getting a tattoo, except it’s for your selected product instead of your skin. The outcome is a full-color, permanent image that will not break, peel, or wash away from the blank.
“It’s so easy to lose faith and become lost in all of the politics of the world. That’s why we need the arts. To sublimate our frustration and anger into something beautiful. Freud called sublimation a virtuous defense mechanism because it is in the arts that we can find our humanity.”Kamand Kojouri
How does sublimation printing work, and What is it?
As the name implies, sublimation printing begins with the transfer paper being printed with your chosen pattern or image. It may be printed using any sublimation printer. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to printing your transfer. Simply get the best sublimation printer and begin your fantastic sublimation printing journey.
Some things to remember before printing your design:
- Before printing, flip or mirror your image.
- Make sure your design’s dimensions are compatible with your sublimation blank.
Having RIP software installed can give you a substantial advantage over the competition. Raster Image Processor Software (RIP) is designed to quickly and accurately convert digital images into print-ready files. RIP software also includes color management techniques and the ability to process and print multiple files at once. As a result, you won’t have to wait for custom designs and can get the most out of your sublimation printer.
After you’ve printed your design, it’s time to start trimming. Pre-heat your heat press to 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the meantime. Then cut the transfer’s excess and modify its size to fit your fabric or blank. Use hot tape to apply the design to the blank with a better grip. Make sure there are no bumps or spaces in the transfer. Place your substrate in the heat-press or mug press (if it’s a sublimation mug) and press it for the set time and pressure. When the substrate and ink have been brought together, the ink will be embedded into the material, making it a permanent design that will not fade away or wash out. The paper can then be gently removed from the shirt or mug after the press has been released or whatever object you have used.
Although most commonly used for sublimation printing t-shirts, the method may also be used on ceramic, wood, stainless steel, and metals with a specific coating to accept the print.
Sublimation includes many different kinds of products; as explained by Aditya in the image below; You may sublimate Air fresheners, camphors, mothballs etc in your sublimation journey..
Dye-Sublimation printing Supplies:
Printers compatible for Sublimation
Most Experts recommend using Epson or Sawgrass printers for sublimation errands. Many people convert their old Epson printers to make them work with sublimation ink, but their warranty voids with this process. The Epson printers designed for sublimation make it easier to work with sublimation ink and are pocket-friendly. This is why most home artists and small businesses prefer to use Epson printers.
Build new business opportunities with creative printed products and easy-to-use print workflows from virtually any desktop software.
- Coffee mugs
- Water bottles
- Pillow covers
- Gaming Pads
- Door mats
- Promotional Products
In order to transfer sublimation ink into the surface of a product, we use an equipment specifically created for sublimation printing called a heat press.
Sublimation inks are specialized dyes or inks made for the sublimation printing method. These inks are used in conjunction with sublimation printers to enable sublimation. These colors don’t dry unless you press them with enough heat.
When using sublimation printing, the design is first transferred to the sublimation paper before being applied to the substrate. Sublimation blanks and designs can be transferred onto transfer paper.
Sublimation blanks, like polyester tees, are specially made items that are both sublimation-compatible and heat press-proof. You can find a wide variety of sublimation blanks on the market, and most of them include an extra coating layer specifically designed to facilitate sublimation.
Pros and Cons of sublimation printing:
What Kind of Designs work better with sublimation printing:
As we explained previously, sublimation works well on polyester. But there’s still room for another question, such as What kind of designs works well with sublimation? Can you choose any random design to sublimate on a polyester shirt? To answer this question, Experts have experimented with different designs, and in their opinion, sublimation works ideally with the most vibrant, fanciful, and off-beat designs. It works well on ridiculous designs with no proper shape or purpose because they are in huge sales at massive brand stores.
In these designs, we use a vivid and quirky series of colors to sublimate a product, specifically shirts. You may also repeat the designs by flipping or color transition because it amplifies the whole look.
Protip: Plan to do sublimation printing with your favorite photography prints with a muted base and see the magic happening.
In addition, you may add a professional touch by sublimating your company’s logo onto products. Furthermore, sublimation is ideal for printing artwork and designs; you can use it to print anything from premade designs found online to your own handcrafted creations. Also, after being sublimated, tool-created graphics appear quite nice.
Sublimation vs. Digital Printing:
- Only polyester is suitable for sublimation printing.
- Heat is used in sublimation transfer printing.
- Sublimation is used to create durable, high-quality designs.
- A design can be printed on polyester, silk, or cotton, using digital printing,
- Digital printing does not require heat to print onto the material.
- Digital printing produces graphics that aren’t entirely absorbed by the paper utilized, resulting in color breaks and is not durable.
Sublimation vs. Heat Transfer:
- Only the ink transfers to the material in sublimation printing.
- Sublimation is usually less expensive than heat transfer, and the outcome is more colorful, beautiful, and durable.
- The sublimation pattern is thoroughly infused into the fibers or material you are printing on; it will not fade or crack over time.
- During the heat transfer process, there is usually a transfer layer transferred to the material.
- Heat transfer is less expensive and can be used on wider fabrics, but the outcome will not be as vibrant and beautiful as sublimation.
- Prints from the heat transfer method are not much durable, and they can crack or fade over time.
Sublimation printing vs. Screen Printing;
- A sublimation transfer paper and heat press are used to infuse the sublimation ink into the material according to the printed design.
- Sublimation is a considered a bit more expensive than screen printing because it requires sublimation printers and a heat press to proceed.
- Dye-sublimation printing allows for more imaginative and vibrant designs.
- Sublimation can only be done on polyester or poly-coated goods.
- The range of materials printed in sublimation is substantially more extensive.
- A mesh stencil is used to press ink onto the fabric during the screen-printing process.
- Screen printing is not expensive, but it does necessitate a new stencil for each pattern and color.
- Because it’s a stencil, the graphics are usually kept simple with few colors.
- Screen printing can be done on any flat surface.
- There are a limited number of materials on which we can print using screen printing.
Some Hacks to Sublimate on Hard Substrate:
You can sublimate on hard surfaces like mugs, ceramic tiles, Mouse pads, glass sheets, wood slices, or coasters. But you need to follow some care and hacks to sublimate effectively;
The surface must be coated with polyester material.
The surface should be able to withstand or endure high temperatures or heat press.
Peel off the protective film from the surface before sublimation.
Use clay-based transfer paper.
Press the product in the heat press according to the given temperature guidelines.
Sublimation printing is a one-of-the-premium option for individuals looking to produce full-color, high-quality images on garments and other materials. It is one of the most cost-effective printing methods since, if you already own a computer, you can spend it on a sublimation printer that links via wireless networking. Then you only need to buy inks and transfer paper. Sublimation is one of the most critical processes for all-over printing, and it excels at tiny lines and details. It’s ideal for small runs because of the minimal setup costs, and the printing is so near to permanent that it’s practically unbeatable.
Hi, I’m Talha Bhatti founder and director of Printershome. As a Leading Author and Writer, I found a huge gap in studying the quality and variety of the printers. My Main goal is to help potential users find the solution to their problems, solve their queries with quality assurance and focus on the perfect solutions.