How Does Sublimation Printing Work? The Complete Guide
Firstly, what is sublimation printing? Sublimation printing is a popular method of printing which aims at transferring a design from sublimation paper onto a piece of fabric or material by using pressure and heat (between 350–400 degrees). Changing the solid particles of the ink into a gaseous state, it is an easy and cost-effective way of adding personalization to products that is used by both companies and people at home.
The high-quality end product of sublimation printing has resulted in its popularity increased over the past few years. However, like all forms of printing, it is essential that you know how to create the designs (by watching tutorials or reading guides like this one) before you try it for yourself. If you are wondering how does sublimation printing work, read the explanation below to help better understand what the process entails.
If the process is done incorrectly, it can create designs that have white creases on them or ghosting patterns. This can cause you to lose both time and money. You should always test out a few designs before doing it in bulk, to get more familiar with the machines and how the designs will work on the fabric. Try with a simple design to start with, rather than a design that covers all of the fabric. Once you have gotten used to it, you can start experimenting with more detailed creations.
So how does sublimation printing work? After you have chosen your design, you should use a sublimation printer to print it out onto the special paper. The design is then printed onto the fabric, by either using a heat press or (if you are doing it at home) by applying pressure and putting it into the oven.
You will have to use a transfer paper (usually sublimation paper) so that the design transfers onto the fabric. Bringing the ink and the fabric together, the ink is embedded and therefore will remain more vibrant for longer (in comparison to other printing processes). The heat in the press or the oven opens the fabric’s pores up, whilst the pressure that’s put onto the fabric cools the ink down — turning it into a solid form. The press can then be released and the paper gently taken off of the shirt or mug (or whatever object that you have used).
A simple process once mastered, it can be inexpensively be recreated at home with the help of a compact sublimation printer and a heat press. If you’ve ever wanted to create designs that stand out from the crowd, this is an efficient and creative way of doing so.
Dye sublimation supplies
There are a few things that you need in order to start printing designs onto your merchandise through the use of sublimation printing. The first, of course, will clearly be a printer that allows for sublimation printing and can take sublimation ink cartridges.
Secondly, you will need to invest in a heat press in order to print the designs onto the fabric. If you want to print the design onto a ceramic mug, you can purchase a mug clamp and press. It is important to think about the material that you want to use for your sublimation printing as not all materials are suitable. You will also need transfer paper (either sublimation or copy paper) and can also invest in RIP software that will help with color correction.