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Sublimation Printing: Details About Sublimation Printing in 2024

sublimation printing

Sublimation printing is a common term in the clothing industry. If you are working in the clothing or fashion industry, you will hear the term “sublimation printing” at least once. So, today we will be discussing all the details of sublimation printing that you need to know. 

In the sublimation printing method, first of all, they produce images by using specialized equipment. Secondly, they use special ink on specific transfer paper. Thirdly, they heat it up and press it into the fabric. It produces a permanent printing of high-quality and high-definition graphics on fabric. This technique is only applicable to polyester or polyester mixed fabrics. 

The dye goes from a solid form to a gaseous form without passing through the liquid form when it sublimates. In layman’s terms (for those interested in creating their own fabrics with their own images), it means getting the required image permanently penetrated onto the fabric. 

Necessary Supplies and Equipment Needed for Sublimation Printing

1. Sublimation Printer

2. Sublimation Paper

3. Computer & RIP Software

4. Cutting Mechanism

5. Heat Press

6. What to print on?

Sublimation printing is a simple process, but you’ll need a few additional items. You cannot use sublimation printing if you lack any of these. In sublimation printing, they print the design on special paper.

Sublimation Printer

sublimation printer

The first thing you’ll need is a sublimation ink printer. Popular sublimation printer brands include Mimaki, Mutoh, and Durst. If you plan to use sublimation for a lot of projects, you might want to invest in a sublimation printer. However, these printers can be very expensive, costing up to $2,000 or so. 

The most common practice is to convert an inkjet printer to a sublimation printer. They purchase an inkjet printer (Epson printers are the most suggested brand for this) and modify it to function as a sublimation printer. There is a lot of work involved in flushing out the old ink from the inkjet printer and then filling it with the sublimation ink. There is no guarantee of a successful result, though. 

Sublimation Paper

You will need to print the design on a particular piece of paper. The sublimation printer and the sublimation printing paper must be compatible.

You can complete this step at a store with an appropriate sublimation machine if you don’t have the printer material or if you can’t print it at home. 

Computer & RIP Software

sublimation printing rip software

There are some sublimation printers that come with software that allows you to customize what you want to print. The RIP software stands for “Raster Image Processor.” This feature is not included with all printers, but can be purchased separately. 

If you are using inkjet printers and making your own designs, you will need software for that. Design a high-quality digital image yourself or find one online. When using inkjet printers and making your own designs, you will need software. 

You will need software if you plan to create your own designs and print them using inkjet technology. Find or make a top-notch digital design.

If you choose to create the sublimation printout at a shop, you can design it yourself using software like Inkscape or Pixabay, convert it to a usable format (like SVG format), and then take it there to print it. You can utilize high-resolution images from a design application, downloaded or self-taken pictures, or your own photography. 

Cutting Mechanism

You will need cutting tools, such as a knife, rotary cutter, or circuit machine, if you want to remove the empty areas from your design. Some cutting machines have many options in a single system to accommodate various needs. 

Heat Press

sublimation printing heat press

To set the ink, you need a heat press

What are you going to print on?

The presence of polyester fibers is the only requirement. (You can print on ceramics, rubber, and plastic as well.) However, you should also make sure that the polyester content is greater than 60%, otherwise the color will fade after frequent washings. We would recommend a minimum 70/30 polyester blend. 

The Process of Sublimation Printing 

Step 1

Printing your design is the first step. Make sure to print your design in both directions. To prevent the image from appearing backward on your shirt, you must mirror it. Make sure the design is also fixed in size to the size of your heat setting machine.

Step 2

Install the sublimation printer and sublimation inks in Step 2. Apart from needing unique sublimation ink, conventional printers and sublimation printers are functionally equivalent. The traditional cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink cartridges are still in use. You can either use the transfer right away or put it off until later. Place the sublimation transfer paper in the printer and print your design on it.


Before beginning the transfer process, step 3 is to clear the cloth surface of any lint, dust, or wrinkles.

Step 4:

You need to place the printed paper face down on the fabric . To prevent the transfer paper from moving, use a heat-safe adhesive tape. You should apply heat and pressure by using a specialized heat press. These machines are hotter than 175 degrees Celsius. This heat widens the fabric’s fibers, allowing the dye to soak in fully. 

The ink on the paper vaporizes into a gaseous state and adheres to the fabric. They bind firmly there after penetrating the fabric’s fibers. Remember that you only get one chance to do it perfectly, so complete this carefully and completely. 

You must keep the paper firm on the fabric at all times. You can get hazy images instead of the finely detailed, laser-sharp print you were hoping for if the cloth trembles even slightly as you push or move it. 

The Advantages of Sublimation Printing

The precise, sharp, and detailed images produced on fabric and other substrates by sublimation printing are its best features. 

The longevity of it is the next quality that is crucial. If you are utilizing the right surface for this printing, the result will last as long as you wash and preserve it carefully. This printing lasts a very long time compared to the easily obtained and inexpensive heat press stickers. 

The Disadvantages of Sublimation Printing

The disadvantage is that it is more expensive. The most economical printing technique is still screen printing if you plan to print a lot. Only a standard inkjet printer and heat press paper are required for the heat press printing technique. Specially priced printers and paper are needed for sublimation printing. It charges a fair amount to get it printed there. But for many, the simple, vibrant designs make up for this. It all turns around when inkjet printers are modified to work with sublimation printing.

Then comes the most obvious drawback: you can only utilize textiles with a polyester composition. This is not a problem when producing tablecloths, totes, wall hangings, etc. However, when it comes to clothing, some people like to wear materials that are natural on their skin, like cotton. This may deter many individuals because the sublimation printing procedure requires a high polyester percentage. 
You will get high quality sublimated printed clothes from the Beautiful Connection Group. This is one of the best clothing manufacturing companies in the USA. They manufacture any type of customized women’s clothing wholesale. You can visit their website for further information.