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How To Do Sublimation Printing on Colored Shirts?

How To Do Sublimation Printing on Colored Shirts?

Sublimating white shirts is easier than colored t-shirts. When we sublimate colored shirts, we sometimes face minor inconveniences because shirts are already colored and it’s not easy to spread colored prints onto them effectively.

But no worries, we bring a solution for your problem, so that you can sublimate colored shirts without trouble. We presented the easy step guide, by following it you will be able to sublimate colored shirts smoothly within a few seconds. 

So stay with us to learn how to sublimate colored shirts simply with 100% fabulous results. 

Are you ready? Let’s start!

Quick steps to sublimate colored shirts:

Let’s quickly review the brief overview of the steps for sublimating colored t-shirts. 

  1. First, get a good sublimation printer and ink. Look for reputable brands like Epson or Sawgrass.
  2. Second, choose a design or image for printing. Make sure it’s suitable for sublimation printing.
  3. Third, wash and dry your colored shirt without fabric softener to prep it for printing.
  4. Print your design on sublimation paper. 
  5. Place it face down on the shirt, and secure it with heat-resistant tape. 
  6. Use a heat press with recommended settings. 
  7. Remove the paper, and let the shirt cool or dry before wearing or washing. 
  8. Follow safety guidelines and manufacturer instructions.

Considerations for sublimating colored t-shirts:

Let’s see the considerations and suggestions for sublimating colored shirts in detail.

1.treat the colored shirts:

First, follow the pre-treating technique if you want your design’s colors to stick accurately on colored shirts. This includes pre-applying a solution on the shirt to create a barrier between the fabric and ink. It helps the ink stick well and stay vibrant. 

Dark shirts may need a stronger solution and longer drying, while light ones need less. Follow the instructions from the solution’s manufacturer or ask experts for guidance. Pre-treating ensures your prints look top-notch with true colors.

2.Choose the right sublimation ink:

Choose sublimation inks made to sublimate colored shirts for vibrant and lasting colors. Ensure they’re compatible with your printer model. Experiment with ink colors to get the shades you want. Moreover, understanding how colors mix helps you create unique designs.

3.Test and adjust printing parameters:

To make sure your sublimation prints look great on colored shirts, pay attention to temperature, pressure, and time settings. Test them out first using the manufacturer’s guidelines. Remember, different printers and papers may need slight adjustments. 

Also, consider the fabric type and the colors you want to achieve. Keep testing and adjusting until you’re happy with the colors. With practice, you’ll find the perfect settings for each colored shirt.

4.Post-treat the sublimated shirts:

After sublimating colored shirts, post-treating them is crucial for long-lasting prints. This strategy includes using a heat press to cure the ink and bond it firmly to the fabric.

In this regard, follow the post-treatment instructions from the ink and fabric manufacturers as precautions. The suggested temperature and time may vary depending on what you use to sublimate.

Post-treatment improves washability and color durability. It also removes any leftover gas or moisture that can affect print quality. This step keeps your designs vibrant and lasting on colored shirts.

Color Management in Sublimation Printing on Colored Shirts:

Color management while sublimating colored t-shirts is necessary for attaining vibrant colors. Alongside pre-treatment, good inks, right printing settings, and post-treatment, effective color management techniques enhance the expression of your designs.

1.Calibrate monitor and printer:

For accurate colors in prints, calibrate your monitor and printer. Use a reliable calibration tool for your monitor, following the instructions. 

Also, calibrate your printer to ensure accurate color reproduction. Refer to the printer’s manual for guidance. Regular calibration keeps your colors true.

2.Color profiles and color spaces:

Maintain color profiles, and color spaces to sublimate colored shirts to achieve accurate colors.

A color profile tells devices how colors should look in different conditions, ensuring consistent reproduction. Use a profile designed for your printer, inks, and shirt fabric for sublimation printing. Seek recommendations from manufacturers or professionals.

Color spaces such as sRGB and Adobe RGB represent the range of colors. Match your design software’s color space to your printer and monitor. Convert designs to the right space before printing for consistent colors.

2.Color management software:

Color management software simplifies color control in sublimation printing on colored shirts. It creates and applies profiles, converts color spaces, and ensures accurate colors.

Pick software compatible with your printer and design tools. These programs offer advanced tools for better color accuracy.

Keep your software updated for the latest improvements.

Color calibration and testing:

To sublimate colored shirts regular calibration and testing are mandatory to attain consistent and accurate colors. Use color swatches to check accuracy, compare results to expected colors, and adjust settings according to necessity. Regular testing ensures optimal color consistency.

To conclude:

In conclusion, sublimating on colored shirts requires extra steps like pre-treatment, choosing the right inks, testing print settings, post-treatment, and color management. 

You can sublimate colored shirts painlessly by following these guidelines and refining your techniques, you’ll achieve vibrant prints. Pay attention to pre- and post-treatment, use quality inks, adjust print settings, and manage colors effectively for best results.


  1. Can we sublimate any colored shirt?

Sublimation is ideal for polyester fabrics. Light-colored shirts work best for vibrant prints. Dark shirts may affect print quality. Choose colors that suit best with your design for best results.

  1. Is pre-treating the shirts mandatory?

It is not mandatory, it’s only your choice to use the pretreat solution on the colored shirts so that print colors blend best with the fabric. Just make sure a shirt is neat and clean before sublimating it.

  1. Is colored shirt sublimation the same as sublimating white shirts?

No, sublimating white shirts is simple while colored shirts sublimation is technical, and needs more attention and care. 

  1. How would we know what temperature to set in the heat press?

Temperature and pressure vary with the fabric, adjust the temperature according to the checklist.

  1. Can we sublimate dark shirts?

Sublimation isn’t ideal for dark-colored shirts. The ink blends with the fabric, resulting in faint designs. Instead, consider screen printing or heat transfer vinyl for vibrant designs on dark shirts. 

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