Understanding How Sublimation Printing Works | The Complete Guide

Sublimation printing is a popular printing method that involves printing on sublimation paper and then heat transferring the design onto the fabric or polyester material. It is also referred to as digital technology printing and is commonly used for creating appealing designs on shirts, mugs, decorative apparel, banners, polyesters, and other sublimation-friendly materials. Read on to find an answer to What is sublimation and how its work? In addition, how it works, with its limitations.

What is sublimation?

To know all the ins and outs of sublimation printings, let us first understand what sublimation is. In scientific language, sublimation is when the substance is transformed from the solid phase to a gas state bypassing the liquid state. This solid-to-gas transition provided the basis for sublimation printing. 

Process Of Sublimation Printing

There is two basic steps.

  • Print the design or image on the sublimation paper using a sublimation printer and its specific link.
  • Transfer the design onto paper by using a heat press.

During step one, liquid gel sublimation inks are transferred on “transfer or sublimation paper” in the desired pattern. The ink is projected on these inkjet papers. Afterwards, which are further utilised in the next step.

In the second step, the sublimation dye is transferred to the material to be printed using heat. Heat converts these sublimation dyes into the gas form, bypassing the liquid state. As the heat is applied to the dye, the pressure penetrates the substrate and creates a permanent dye coating. After removing the heat and pressure, the dye returns to its solid state, and the printing is done.

What are the best substrates for sublimation printing?

The best materials for this printing are polyesters, polyester mixes, and ceramics. Materials suitable for sublimation should have pores that can absorb the sublimation ink. The results might not be good if you try sublimation printing on cotton fabrics because they do not have the desired pores.

What are the limitations in it?

Sublimation printers provide permanent designs on the fabrics as the ink is embedded into the fabric and does not fade. Still, we cannot do sublimation printing on every fabric or material.

  •  Only a small range of materials can be subjected to this printing.
  • The initial cost of sublimation is heavy on the pocket, and we need to buy a costly sublimation printer and sublimation ink.
  • It requires costly “transfer papers.”
  • A white colour design can not be printed with sublimation printers.

Bottom Lines

This printing is a good option to produce full-colour, high-quality images on fabrics and other ceramics. We have given a brief overview of sublimation printing and its working process.

It is a popular printing method. It involves printing on the sublimation paper and then heat transferring the image onto fabric or polyester material.

We hope you find this article helpful and get the answers to your questions. Now, I’d like to hear from you. Scroll down to the comment box and share your experiences about this printing, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.