Sublimation Printing: All You Need to Know

Sublimation printing was introduced almost seven decades ago, but it has been trending for the past few years. The reason behind the increase in demand is that people love to wear and use personalized and unique items, and sublimation printing is the perfect solution. 

If you are looking for some extraordinary gift which is also not too heavy on your pocket and your friend will love it, then you must go for sublimation printed gifts. It would be a fantastic and cost-effective idea.

No problem, if you are listening to this word for the first time, you will get to know all the basics of sublimation in this article. Today, we will tell you how it is done and what you need for sublimation printing.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a method that involves the transfer of the image from the sublimation paper on the product using heat and pressure.

It might sound confusing and complicated, but it is a super easy and long-lasting printing technique used nowadays. 

In terms of chemistry, sublimation is the process of conversion of solid directly into the gaseous state without passing through the intermediate liquid phase. The same process works in sublimation printing, which is the reason behind its name. The dye used in the printing undergoes the sublimation process and immediately turns its state from solid to gaseous and then gaseous to solid; there is no liquid state in between.

Sublimation printing is not the same as regular printing because it is a permanent one. It lasts for a long time on the sublimation blank.

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

 The process of sublimation printing is quite simple. At first, the design you need on your fabric must be printed on sublimation paper. After printing, the design appears to be a mirror image. The paper is then attached to the sublimation blank (the object on which the printing is being done), and heat is applied through the heat press. Because of the heat, the ink turns the solid design into gas, which diffuses completely into the pores of the fabric. Once it is completely transferred, it solidifies, giving a permanent and long-lasting finish to the product.

What Products Can We Use for Sublimation?

You might think that sublimation printing can be done on any object, but it is not the case. Sometimes, it might work, but it will not give you as satisfying results as you wished for.

Let’s see some objects that are suitable for sublimation printing.

Polyester fabric

It is recommended to use polyester fabric to sublimate your design. A minimum of 65% polyester can go with it if you want a vintage look. But if you want to have solid and vibrant colors, then you must use 100% polyester fabric.

Note: Cotton fabrics are not recommended for sublimation.


Sublimation is ideal to use for high-quality photo printing on various objects. Now you can print a variety of customized canvas, backdrops, wall mounts, and other stuff by using sublimation.


It might seem strange to you, but yes, you can sublimate on the ceramic tiles too. Isn’t it a good option for your home and office decor? You could give a unique look to the house.

Rigid Substrates 

Sublimation printing is not limited to polyester fabric only. There are polymer-coated objects widely available that can be used for sublimation printing. It includes aluminum, brass, fiberglass, plastic, and many more.

Soft Signage

Printing signage has now become so easy with sublimation. You can get your customized soft signage. So next time, when you see high-quality signage at any shop, it might be sublimation printed.

While carrying out the sublimation printing, it is not recommended to use dark-colored objects, as it will cause hindrance in printing, and it might be possible that some parts of the design remain unprinted. In the worst case, the printing does not appear on the material. So always go for light-colored objects, as they will give the best result.

Things Required for Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing can’t be done as an ordinary regular printing. You need to take care of the required materials for sublimation if you want to get high-quality results.

Things that are a must for sublimation includes,

  • Sublimation Printer

There are printers available that are specifically used for sublimation. On the other hand, if you have a regular printer, you can still use it. But for that, you must have sublimation ink. Moreover, if you are using common printers instead of sublimation printers, there are chances of facing difficulty in the future.

With the increase in sublimation printing demand, a wide range of sublimation printers are also available. Thus, you can choose according to your needs.

You must know that you can’t switch onto regular printing after using the regular printer for sublimation.

Here are some points that should be kept in mind,

Maintenance is the key factor for any machine. If you don’t use the printer often, there are chances of clogging. It may harm your printer. Thus, it must be used regularly. Secondly, if somehow clogging doesn’t destroy the printer, you will have to waste a large amount of ink to clean out the clog.

The next important factor is the size requirement of the printer. If you want to sublimate large prints, you should purchase printers that can print large sublimation papers.

Besides considering these two factors, you should also know how much sublimation you will do on average. If you are planning to do so in bulk, your printer must have a bulk ink storage system so that the ink is not short during printing.

Some of the popular brands of sublimation printers are Epson, Sawgrass, and Ricoh. 

  • Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper is the most essential for your sublimation process. Obviously, if you want a high-quality design, you must use top-quality sublimation paper. If you compromise on the quality of the paper, then whatever design you want to print, it will affect the quality of your design. If the sublimation paper does not completely transfer the design, it means it is not of the best quality.

You also need to check the paper size. You must know what designs you will print and what their size will be. Furthermore, you must check whether the size of the paper fits well in your printer or not.

There are a lot of sublimation papers out there, but we have made it easier for you. We have a wide range of sublimation transfers (customized sublimation paper) made on the best quality paper and will give you satisfying results.

  • Heat Press

After printing the image on the sublimation paper, next is the heat press. It is essential for sublimation printing. The heat press provides the required temperature for sublimation. You must look for a good heat press; otherwise, it might destroy the final image. Like the printer, it is also available in different sizes, prices, and capabilities, so you need to purchase the one that fits your requirements.

  • Sublimation Blank

A sublimation blank is an object onto which you can sublimate your desired print. Widely used sublimation blanks include mugs and tumblers. Keep in mind that they are not the regular mugs; they are coated with a polymer that allows the material on the sublimation paper to transfer over it. You can also find a range of sublimation blanks at our store.

Pros of sublimation

One of the major concerns of digital printing on fabric is the life of printing. Usually, the design on the commonly printed shirts peels off after the first wash, and it looks so messy. But in sublimation printing, as the ink enters into the pores and combines with the polymer, it does not peel off even after several washes and can be used in the long run.

As already mentioned, sublimation printing is not only restricted to fabric printing, but you can print your customized designs on a variety of objects. You have the freedom to print on any compatible object.

Cons of Sublimation

One of the drawbacks of sublimation is that it is quite expensive in terms of a business. You have to buy all the accessories to get your desired results. 

Secondly, the choice of materials is sometimes difficult. You can’t use any regular fabric or material for sublimation. 

If you want to print your design on fabric, it should be 100% polyester or at least 65% polyester to ensure the optimum results. The lesser the polyester, the worse will be the quality of the printed design.

Another problem that arises in sublimation printing is white creasing. If the area of the sublimation blank remains uncovered with the transfer or the transfer is not pressed properly, the area appears white. 

Final Words

Sublimation is a pretty easy technique if carried out in the right way. It allows you to incorporate your ideas on a dress, mug, tumbler, coaster, or anything else. It is an amazing idea to create personalized and unique things. We have discussed everything that you need for sublimation printing and how it works. We hope you have a clear idea of what it is.

Check out our store to see the latest sublimation products.