HOW DOES SUBLIMATION PRINTING WORK?

Posted 2018

HOW DOES SUBLIMATION PRINTING WORK?

Posted 2018

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.

The Process

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.

The Process

HOW DOES SUBLIMATION PRINTING WORK?

HOW DOES SUBLIMATION PRINTING WORK?

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.

The pros

It gives you the option to personalize and customize

A large plus point of sublimation printing is the fact that it allows you to personalize what you are printing. You can modify the size and quality of the image that you are printing and fix any errors that occur digitally on the printer itself. This freedom allows you to get creative and make your ideas truly come to life in a way that isn’t possible through other methods.

It can be done quickly

This makes it incredibly convenient for anyone wanting to bring a design to fruition in a strict deadline. As it uses technology, it can be done a lot quicker than other methods that would require more human power. However, as a heat press needs to be accurate, the process will have to be monitored to ensure that the designs are being produced at the same level of quality each time.

It creates high-quality designs

The quality of the designs produced through sublimation printing tends to be a lot better than other forms of printing. The vibrancy is generally impressive, as is the DPI – depending on the printer you have purchased.

It creates designs that will last

The print that is produced by sublimation will not fade or peel, unlike other designs that are printed. This is because the ink is absorbed, rather than remaining as a layer on top of the fabric. This means that you can wash the item of clothing as many times as you want without having to worry.

The cons

Unfortunately, like any form of printing, sublimation has a few disadvantages that are worth considering before investing in a machine. These are:

It is only suitable for polyester or polyester blend materials

As mentioned at the start of this guide, sublimation printing will only worth with light, polyester materials. It is also suggested that you use a light color so that the design is clear and more vibrant.

Ghosting

Ghosting occurs when the transfer paper shift during the pressing process. The print will then have a light fade beside it (that looks like a ghost) or will be blurry. Adding time and effort to the process, this issue will happen if the right amount of pressure isn’t applied or if the ink on the paper is not dry during the process. In order to stop this from happening, you should make sure that the ink is dry and that the right level of pressure is put on the fabric when it is being pressed.

White creasing

Another issue that sublimation printing can cause is white creasing. If there are any areas that the design has not reached, it creates white creases. This can occur if there is any moisture on the transfer paper or if any areas of the garment are folded. The most common places that are affected by the white marks are under the arms and along seams. This creates a piece of clothing that’s of less quality and will result in the t-shirt becoming unsellable.

It can cause color mismatch

The design that you have created on your computer will be displayed in RGB mode, whereas the printer will print your design in CMYK mode. This means that the colors won’t be exactly the same once they are printed, as they appear on the screen. In order to improve this, you can ensure that the correct settings are adjusted on the printer or you can use RIP software. RIP software is a good way of checking if any of the color has spotted. You will have to consider, however, that with all forms of printing, even though the image will be of a good quality, it won’t exactly be the same vibrancy as that of the one that exists on the screen.

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.

The pros

It gives you the option to personalize and customize

A large plus point of sublimation printing is the fact that it allows you to personalize what you are printing. You can modify the size and quality of the image that you are printing and fix any errors that occur digitally on the printer itself. This freedom allows you to get creative and make your ideas truly come to life in a way that isn’t possible through other methods.

It can be done quickly

This makes it incredibly convenient for anyone wanting to bring a design to fruition in a strict deadline. As it uses technology, it can be done a lot quicker than other methods that would require more human power. However, as a heat press needs to be accurate, the process will have to be monitored to ensure that the designs are being produced at the same level of quality each time.

It creates high-quality designs

The quality of the designs produced through sublimation printing tends to be a lot better than other forms of printing. The vibrancy is generally impressive, as is the DPI – depending on the printer you have purchased.

It creates designs that will last

The print that is produced by sublimation will not fade or peel, unlike other designs that are printed. This is because the ink is absorbed, rather than remaining as a layer on top of the fabric. This means that you can wash the item of clothing as many times as you want without having to worry.

The cons

Unfortunately, like any form of printing, sublimation has a few disadvantages that are worth considering before investing in a machine. These are:

It is only suitable for polyester or polyester blend materials

As mentioned at the start of this guide, sublimation printing will only worth with light, polyester materials. It is also suggested that you use a light color so that the design is clear and more vibrant.

Ghosting

Ghosting occurs when the transfer paper shift during the pressing process. The print will then have a light fade beside it (that looks like a ghost) or will be blurry. Adding time and effort to the process, this issue will happen if the right amount of pressure isn’t applied or if the ink on the paper is not dry during the process. In order to stop this from happening, you should make sure that the ink is dry and that the right level of pressure is put on the fabric when it is being pressed.

White creasing

Another issue that sublimation printing can cause is white creasing. If there are any areas that the design has not reached, it creates white creases. This can occur if there is any moisture on the transfer paper or if any areas of the garment are folded. The most common places that are affected by the white marks are under the arms and along seams. This creates a piece of clothing that’s of less quality and will result in the t-shirt becoming unsellable.

It can cause color mismatch

The design that you have created on your computer will be displayed in RGB mode, whereas the printer will print your design in CMYK mode. This means that the colors won’t be exactly the same once they are printed, as they appear on the screen. In order to improve this, you can ensure that the correct settings are adjusted on the printer or you can use RIP software. RIP software is a good way of checking if any of the color has spotted. You will have to consider, however, that with all forms of printing, even though the image will be of a good quality, it won’t exactly be the same vibrancy as that of the one that exists on the screen.

What’s the difference between sublimation printing and digital printing

The main difference between the two is that digital printing can print a design onto polyester, silk and cotton (to name a few). Alternatively, sublimation printing is only appropriate for polyester. Also, sublimation printing uses heat, unlike digital printing in order to transfer the design onto the material.

Sublimation printing is aimed at producing high-quality designs that are durable, whereas digital printing creates designs that aren’t fully absorbed by the paper that’s used, which can often lead to cracks in the color. It is also considered more expensive in comparison to sublimation printing and produces more waste due to the liquid it uses. This, however, isn’t always the case and it can create high-quality designs if the right printer is purchased.

The form of printing you choose will depend on the products that you are creating. Each are great forms of printing and there is a variety of technology available for both on the market. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of each when deciding and thinking about what your goals are – then the type of printing that you need will become clear.

Conclusion

There is a brief guide into what sublimation printing is, a quick explanation answering the question ‘how does sublimation printing work’, what the best dye sublimation printer is for your needs, the supplies that you need to use the dye sublimation technique, what fabric you need, facts and hacks about sublimation printing and the difference between sublimation printing and digital printing.

Sublimation printing is a great choice for those wanting to create both clothing and other materials with full color and high-quality graphics. There is hardly any downtime, which results in each of the creations being profitable (if you are selling them to customers) and it allows for as much product to be created as you want.

It is one of the most economical printing processes available as, if you already have a computer, you can invest in a sublimation printer that connects via wireless connectivity, then will only have to purchase the inks and the transfer paper.

The most expensive part of the process will be purchasing the heat press, which is a consideration when you are thinking about starting sublimation printing. Generally, however, a good quality sublimation printer is affordable for many.

Adding profit into your business, the customization that comes with sublimation printing appeals to many around the world. This customization will allow you to fully fulfill a customer’s needs and allows you to produce a variety of designs to suit all tastes. A quick and easy process, it allows people to bring their creations that they have made on the screen to reality.

As mentioned in the section above, the fact that sublimation printing is so eco-friendly means that it is a process that won’t only grow in popularity with consumers, but also with printing businesses. Everyone wants to decrease the amount of waste and electricity that they are putting out into the world – especially with the condition of the Earth in the present day. By using sublimation printing, you will decrease the amount of water wastage, ink wastage and will be able to use less power.

There are, however, a few cons that come with sublimation printing that you should investigate before investing in all of the equipment (three of which are mentioned above). However, two of these issues – white creasing and ghosting, can be easily amended and are more to do with a human error rather than a problem with the printing itself.

The piece of clothing or product should have the correct amount of pressure and should be checked before the design is put onto it. Similarly, if there are any pieces of dust or excess material on the fabric before you put the design onto it, it should be removed by using a lint roller. If not, it will cause the ink to not correctly transfer over to it, causing a break in the design.

The issue with color mismatch will always be relevant to printers as the colors you see can rarely become reality. This form of printing, however, does produce higher vibrancy and quality designs than more traditional methods. The color can also be adjusted via color correcting methods and through RPI software.

Similarly, you will have to consider the fact that only polyester and polyester-blend materials can be printed on through this method. If you want to use another material such as ceramic, it will need to be coated with a special material beforehand in order for the transfer to stick.

If you don’t want the hassle of spraying it with the coating, however, as mentioned in the hack section, a sublimation blank can be purchased that is already coated.

What’s the difference between sublimation printing and digital printing

The main difference between the two is that digital printing can print a design onto polyester, silk and cotton (to name a few). Alternatively, sublimation printing is only appropriate for polyester. Also, sublimation printing uses heat, unlike digital printing in order to transfer the design onto the material.

Sublimation printing is aimed at producing high-quality designs that are durable, whereas digital printing creates designs that aren’t fully absorbed by the paper that’s used, which can often lead to cracks in the color. It is also considered more expensive in comparison to sublimation printing and produces more waste due to the liquid it uses. This, however, isn’t always the case and it can create high-quality designs if the right printer is purchased.

The form of printing you choose will depend on the products that you are creating. Each are great forms of printing and there is a variety of technology available for both on the market. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of each when deciding and thinking about what your goals are – then the type of printing that you need will become clear.

Conclusion

There is a brief guide into what sublimation printing is, a quick explanation answering the question ‘how does sublimation printing work’, what the best dye sublimation printer is for your needs, the supplies that you need to use the dye sublimation technique, what fabric you need, facts and hacks about sublimation printing and the difference between sublimation printing and digital printing.

Sublimation printing is a great choice for those wanting to create both clothing and other materials with full color and high-quality graphics. There is hardly any downtime, which results in each of the creations being profitable (if you are selling them to customers) and it allows for as much product to be created as you want.

It is one of the most economical printing processes available as, if you already have a computer, you can invest in a sublimation printer that connects via wireless connectivity, then will only have to purchase the inks and the transfer paper.

The most expensive part of the process will be purchasing the heat press, which is a consideration when you are thinking about starting sublimation printing. Generally, however, a good quality sublimation printer is affordable for many.

Adding profit into your business, the customization that comes with sublimation printing appeals to many around the world. This customization will allow you to fully fulfill a customer’s needs and allows you to produce a variety of designs to suit all tastes. A quick and easy process, it allows people to bring their creations that they have made on the screen to reality.

As mentioned in the section above, the fact that sublimation printing is so eco-friendly means that it is a process that won’t only grow in popularity with consumers, but also with printing businesses. Everyone wants to decrease the amount of waste and electricity that they are putting out into the world – especially with the condition of the Earth in the present day. By using sublimation printing, you will decrease the amount of water wastage, ink wastage and will be able to use less power.

There are, however, a few cons that come with sublimation printing that you should investigate before investing in all of the equipment (three of which are mentioned above). However, two of these issues – white creasing and ghosting, can be easily amended and are more to do with a human error rather than a problem with the printing itself.

The piece of clothing or product should have the correct amount of pressure and should be checked before the design is put onto it. Similarly, if there are any pieces of dust or excess material on the fabric before you put the design onto it, it should be removed by using a lint roller. If not, it will cause the ink to not correctly transfer over to it, causing a break in the design.

The issue with color mismatch will always be relevant to printers as the colors you see can rarely become reality. This form of printing, however, does produce higher vibrancy and quality designs than more traditional methods. The color can also be adjusted via color correcting methods and through RPI software.

Similarly, you will have to consider the fact that only polyester and polyester-blend materials can be printed on through this method. If you want to use another material such as ceramic, it will need to be coated with a special material beforehand in order for the transfer to stick.

If you don’t want the hassle of spraying it with the coating, however, as mentioned in the hack section, a sublimation blank can be purchased that is already coated.

To determine the most suitable printing process for your garments, have a chat with our sales team on (011) 794 4820 or email info@embroideryjunxion.co.za 

They can also discuss all your branding requirements.

To determine the most suitable printing process for your garments, have a chat with our sales team on (011) 794 4820 or email info@embroideryjunxion.co.za 

They can also discuss all your branding requirements.

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