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Ultimate Step By Step Sublimation Printing Guide

Ultimate Step By Step Sublimation Printing Guide

You are interested in learning the process of sublimation printing. But you don’t have the proper guide for it. No worries we have provided the complete details on sublimation printing. 

Sublimation is an innovative printing technology and learning it is a brilliant idea, whether you are starting a small business or custom purpose. Sublimation printing is trendy worldwide. 

Let’s talk about its process, steps, pros and cons, what products it works on, and why it’s better than other printing methods.

Let’s start!

Sublimation printing process:

Sublimation printing is a way to put colors onto stuff using heat and pressure. 

First, we make designs on a computer, then print them onto special paper with special ink. After that, we use a heat press to stick the designs onto things like fabric or ceramics.

The ink turns into a gas and sticks to the material, making bright prints that last a long time.

Why sublimation?

Why choose sublimation printing over screen printing and DTG? 

Let’s answer this question concerning the following factors;

1. Cost:

Sublimation printing costs less than other methods. For example, DTG printers are expensive and difficult to maintain.

On the other hand, screen printing needs a big space and costs a lot for screens. But with sublimation, it’s simple and cheap. You just need a printer, ink, heat transfer, and designs.

2. Quality of Printing:

Sublimation printing is unbeatable for quality. It transfers digital designs onto materials using special paper. You get high-quality images quickly, no matter how complex.

In contrast, screen printing has color limits and needs separate screens for each color. Complex designs are harder, and if screens aren’t clean, prints can be bad.

3. Saves Time:

Moreover, sublimation printing is faster and better for small and medium orders than other methods. While some methods might be faster overall, they’re harder to set up and learn. So, if you’re new to printing or have small orders, sublimation printing is your best choice.

What kind of products can be sublimated? 

Ultimate Step By Step Sublimation Printing Guide

Sublimated products:

Usually, sublimation printing works on these items:

  1. Apparel: Like T-shirts and sports jerseys.
  2. Housewares: Such as mugs and mouse pads.
  3. Accessories: Like phone covers and keychains.
  4. Wall Decor: Such as aluminum, canvas, and wood prints.
  5. Awards and Memorabilia: Or custom plates and sports apparel.

What materials are required for sublimation printing?

Keep the following supplies at your table before printing;

  • Sublimation printer: A unique printer loaded with sublimation ink.
  • Sublimation paper: Special paper to transfer your design.
  • Polyester-coated substrate: Like a t-shirt or mug.
  • Heat press: Machine to transfer the design with heat and pressure.
  • Heat-resistant tape: Helps secure the paper during transfer.

Steps for sublimation printing:

Follow the below steps for sublimation printing;

  1. Design Creation: Make or find the picture or design you want to print on your computer.
  2. Printing Setup: Put special ink into a printer made for sublimation printing.
  3. Paper Loading: Load special paper into the printer.
  4. Print Design: Use the printer to put your design onto the special paper.
  5. Prepare Object: Prepare the object by choosing it (like a shirt or mug) and ensuring it’s clean.
  6. Positioning: Then, position the object on the heat press machine in the correct spot.
  7. Transfer Process: Put the printed paper on top of the object, then close the heat press machine to press them together.
  8. Heat Pressing: The heat press machine heats up and presses the paper and object. The ink turns into a gas and sticks to the object. 
  9. Cooling Down: Let the object cool down after pressing.
  10. Paper Removal: Carefully remove the paper from the object once it’s cooled down.
  11. Inspect: Look at the design to inspect if it looks good and there are no mistakes.
  12. Finish: You’re done! Now you have your printed object ready to use or give to someone.

Follow these steps to make great sublimation prints on different materials.

Pros (benefits) of sublimation printing:

Some benefits are as follows;

  • Sublimation prints last long, do not fade away or peel and give a fine look.
  • They work well on polyester, ceramics, and metal.
  • You get full-color, high-quality prints without extra costs.
  • Sublimation uses dry inks that go directly into materials, reducing waste and being eco-friendly.

Cons (limitations) of sublimation printing:

It has not only benefits but limitations too;

  • Sublimation works best only on polyester materials but not on cotton or silk.
  • It’s not good for solid color or precise prints.
  • It is apparent well on white or light-colored materials only.
  • Sometimes the colors may not match the screen exactly, but can be fixed with software.
  • If the paper gets folded or wet, it may leave blurred spots on the print.

Wrapping up:

In short, Sublimation printing has made printing intricate designs easier. Getting a sublimation printer is a great idea for your business for offering custom clothes. We have shared the complete details regarding this technique, now it’s up to you, whether you benefit from it or not because it’s fruitful for your own. 


  1. Are sublimation and heat transfer the same things?

No, these are two different procedures. In sublimation ink turns into gas and sticks to the material, while in heat transfer an already printed design shifts onto a surface using heat and pressure.

  1. Can we use a random printer for sublimation printing?

No, you can’t use a random printer for sublimation printing, instead, you need a unique printer that works only with sublimation ink and paper.

  1. Which is the finest designing software for sublimation printing?

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are considered the best designing software for sublimation printing with fine results.

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