Best Sublimation Paper for Dark Shirts
Table of Contents
- Types of Sublimation Transfer Paper
- How to Choose the Best Sublimation Papers for Dark Shirts
- How to Get the Best Results with Your Sublimated Dark Shirt?
- How to Choose the Best Printer for Sublimation Paper?
- Sublimation Paper Vs. Heat Transfer Paper
- Heat Press vs Domestic Iron for Sublimation Printing
- So, which is better: dark or light transfer paper?
- Tips for Handling Sublimation Paper
- FAQ Answered
- Is it possible to use sublimation paper on dark t-shirts?
- What is the right sublimation paper to use for dark shirts?
- Is it easy to use heat transfer papers on shirts with dark colors?
- How can I sublimate a black shirt?
- What is the recommended heat transfer paper?
- How important is it to select the right transfer paper?
- Can I use pigment-based inks on a sublimation paper?
- Can I use dark transfer paper on light-colored fabrics?
- What are wheel marks in a sublimation paper?
- Can I sublimate cotton fabric?
- In Summary
Generally, sublimation works best on white and light fabrics. It doesn’t use white ink to produce colors.
Plus, the sublimation process dyes the fabric. It doesn’t add a layer of paper on top of your material.
The high temperature of the heat press causes the ink to become liquified during the heat process. That ink is transferred to the fabric and returns to a solid state once cooled off.
Since black is the absence of color, the design blends in with the dark material. Is sublimating dark shirts possible? Yes, it is but with a few tweaks during the process.
But first, let’s discuss a few things before we go on talking about the sublimation of dark shirts. It’s best to understand the basics, especially for beginners.
Types of Sublimation Transfer Paper
There are many types of sublimation papers. Some manufacturers categorize them by size or weight or the
Inkjet Sublimation Paper
This is the most popular transfer paper for sublimation. The other name for this paper is A-Sub and it is compatible with an inkjet sublimation printer. Usually, Brother and Epson printers are the most popular brand for sublimation.
Quick-Drying Sublimation Paper
Most sublimation papers are quick drying but it’s best to choose the paper with the highest drying rate. A-Sub sublimation paper is known for its quick dry period.
Sublimation Paper by Weight
A sublimation paper ranges from 50gsm to 150gsm. Thicker paper yields better results because of its ability to hold more ink. More ink means more vibrant colors you can heat press onto your t-shirts.
The optimum gsm is around 120gsm. However, different fabrics or materials require the appropriate gsm. For example, a 50gsm works best on a hard surface such as ceramics. In some cases, lower gsm is required for high-speed, industrial printers.
Image from teckwrapcraft
How to Choose the Best Sublimation Papers for Dark Shirts
A sublimation print is one of the coolest ways to customize dark shirts. You need a compatible inkjet printer, sublimation dyes, and correct sublimation paper. There are some things to consider to buy the best sublimation paper for your next project.
The common paper sizes are letter, legal, and A4. They are great for transferring designs onto t-shirts. Some come in rolls for larger designs.
For more challenging items such as mugs and plates, you will need special-sized papers, like 4x9 mug sheets. Unfortunately, not all brands have these sizes available.
Whether you're using an inkjet printer or a dedicated sublimation printer, each type uses specific inks to make the colors pop on your finished product.
Water-based inks are best suited to inkjet printers, while gel-based inks are compatible with sublimation printers. Additionally, there are specific papers that work better with either type of ink, giving users even more freedom and control over their projects.
If you want great design, then weigh your paper choice against your artwork and graphics needs. The more color depth in your design, the sturdier paper you should select.
However, if there’s plenty of white space involved, sublimation papers can work fine. Ultimately, the right combination of paper and design will turn your project into admirable artwork.
The transfer rate is one of the most important numbers you’ll need to know when buying sublimation paper. It determines the efficiency and accuracy of transferring the dye onto your dark or light fabric.
A higher transfer rate is less likely to cause inconsistencies in color or imperfections in design. For optimal results, a transfer rate of 95% should be your default number.
Image from teckwrapcraft.com
Anyone who's ever done a little DIY knows the importance of quick-drying materials. After all, it’s quite frustrating when you have to stop your project and wait for it to try. Of course, you can use additional tools to hasten the drying time, but the added time might be counterproductive.
With “quick-drying” papers, you can transfer your design seamlessly onto the substrate and get professional quality results in record time. So don't let the slow drying time stifle your creativity. Opt for the genius invention known as quick-drying.
Finding the perfect weight can make a difference between an artistic statement and a faded impression. If you want to print bold, vibrant colors onto fabric, then heavier paper with a higher-weight gsm is the best. With this, your print has a thicker foundation that holds up to deep saturation better.
But if you value frugality over artistry and don't mind slightly less crisp prints, then go with the lighter paper. You can still save money without compromising too much on quality. When shopping for the perfect weight in sublimation paper, the best range is 105-130gsm.
Choosing the right type of coating for your project is like finding the perfect puzzle piece. Clay-coated paper may not be quite as flashy as its resin-coated counterpart. This more affordable option holds up fantastically when transferring inks onto hard substrates such as ceramic and porcelain.
The superior stickiness of the resin-coated paper makes it an optimum choice for transferring dyes onto textiles. Having these two types of coating at your disposal gives you every opportunity to create something truly unique and spectacular.
To wrap up this section: sublimation heat transfer paper must have some special traits to be effective. First, it needs to hold the printed design without bleeding.
Second, the paper can handle extreme heat in the process of transferring designs. At the right amount of heat, these papers activate and release their contents accurately, leaving behind a flawless masterpiece.
Image from teckwrapcraft FB page
How to Get the Best Results with Your Sublimated Dark Shirt?
Dark shirts are not ideal for sublimation printing. But with a few techniques, you can make colors vibrant and dynamic. To get the best results possible when using dark shirts for sublimation printing, there are a few simple tips to follow:
1. Pre-treat your fabric before you start printing. This ensures that the colors stay true throughout the printing process and prevents fading.
2. Use a high-quality sublimation transfer paper. This will ensure that the colors are sharp and vibrant.
3. Make sure your design is reversed before you print it onto the fabric. This ensures that the image will be printed correctly on the shirt.
4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting the temperatures when pressing your image onto the fabric. This will ensure that your printed image looks its best.
5. Use an HTV as your white base. To add some creative flair, try using white glitter HTV for darker fabrics and create a vibrant contrast.
6. Wait twenty-four hours or more to cure the sublimated shirt for a longer shelf life of the printed design.
How to Choose the Best Printer for Sublimation Paper?
When it comes to choosing the best printer for printing on sublimation paper, there are several factors to consider.
First and foremost, you'll want to make sure the printer is compatible with your device. If you're using a PC or Mac, then you'll need to make sure the printer has drivers that will work with your operating system.
Once you've confirmed that the printer is compatible with your device, you'll want to look at the print quality. Many printers nowadays come with high-quality printing capabilities.
If you're looking for the best possible print quality, then you'll want to invest in a printer that uses sublimation inks. These inks are more resistant to fading and will produce richer, more vibrant colors.
Finally, you'll want to consider the price of the printer. While you can find some great deals on sublimation printers, you'll still want to make sure you're getting good value for your money.
To do this, compare the features and costs of different models before you make your purchase. This way, you know you're getting the best printer for sublimation paper at a price that fits within your budget.
With a little research and careful consideration, you can have the perfect printer for all your sublimation printing needs.
Sublimation Paper Vs. Heat Transfer Paper
The process of printing on these papers is the same. You need specialty paper where you print your design and a heat press to transfer the design. The differences lie in the paper, printer, and inks used.
Heat transfer paper is compatible with inkjet ink or laserjet. You cannot interchange using them because the result won’t be the same. An inkjet home printer can print on heat transfer paper.
On the other hand, sublimation paper is only compatible with a printer using dye-based or sublimation ink. One more thing, it has a special coating in it that allows ink to adhere to the paper. You can’t expose it to moisture. Otherwise, the paper will absorb moisture like a dry sponge.
As we have mentioned earlier, sublimation inks blend with your fabric similarly to dyeing. The heat transfer paper adheres to the fabric like another layer is added to it.
Heat Press vs Domestic Iron for Sublimation Printing
A home iron will not be effective for sublimation printing processes. A sublimation needs around 400 degrees Fahrenheit to transfer the ink completely to your choice of fabric.
Plus, you’ll need heavy pressure when doing such transfers, which an ordinary iron can’t achieve. You’ll also need a consistent temperature which you can’t achieve with an iron.
So, we recommend that you invest in a heat press for your sublimation projects. A mini heat press can handle simple sublimation projects since its highest setting can reach up to the minimum required.
Image from teckwrapcraft
So, which is better: dark or light transfer paper?
To answer this question, it is best to answer this question by knowing the difference between the two papers. Usually, iron on heat transfer paper has this classification. But in sublimation, you only have light transfer paper, which has a transparent background.
With the purpose of discussion, let’s differentiate between light and dark iron-on transfer paper. In white or light-colored t-shirts, you can use both dark and light transfer paper. But, with dark shirts, you can only use dark transfer paper because of the white backing.
Printing in light transfer paper requires reversing the image. On the other hand, dark transfer paper doesn’t need reversal during printing.
So, both are great but choose the right high quality paper based on the color of your fabrics or material.
Tips for Handling Sublimation Paper
Use the right protective paper intended for sublimation. Unfortunately, parchment paper is not suitable for this project. You either use blowout paper or butcher paper. If you don’t have any of these handy, you can use copy paper to protect your design during the process of printing.
Humidity can be your enemy. Excessive moisture in the air and on the paper can cause damage to your project. It can result in image bleeding, uneven transfers, and color shifting.
Also, you may find that the transfer doesn't lay flat. Worse, it curls and peels at the edges. To make sure your project turns out looking its best, take extra care to keep the humidity in check when working with heat transfer paper. It just might be the difference between a stunning creation and one that's better off forgotten!
Is it possible to use sublimation paper on dark t-shirts?
Yes. But with a few tweaks in the process. You’ll need to combine vinyl heat transfers and sublimation paper to achieve great results.
What is the right sublimation paper to use for dark shirts?
The A-sub sublimation paper is excellent for dark garments. With the combination of heat transfer vinyl, you can achieve the highest quality of an image printed on the fabric.
Is it easy to use heat transfer papers on shirts with dark colors?
Yes. It’s easy in three steps. Print your design on your transfer paper. Transfer your design to your choice of dark fabrics and apply heat with a heat press machine. Either wait for it to cool before peeling or peel it warm.
How can I sublimate a black shirt?
With the right sublimation paper, heat transfer vinyl, and a cool design, you can sublimate a black shirt. You may also read one of our guides on how to sublimate dark colors.
What is the recommended heat transfer paper?
This depends on your material. If you’re working on white background, a light or dark transfer paper will work. Designs on dark-colored fabrics print better with the dark transfer because of the opaque backing paper.
How important is it to select the right transfer paper?
It is very important because the right transfer paper will help you achieve the results you want. With the right paper, colors will be vibrant on a dark fabric.
Can I use pigment-based inks on a sublimation paper?
Unfortunately no. Sublimation paper can’t hold pigment-based inks.
Can I use dark transfer paper on light-colored fabrics?
Yes. The results will still be excellent.
What are wheel marks in a sublimation paper?
These refer to marks created by your printer on the paper. It means that your paper might be too thick and you’ll need a thinner paper to achieve the results you want.
Can I sublimate cotton fabric?
Generally, sublimation works best on polyester fabric. Other garments may not have the same quality but it is possible to sublimate cotton. Like dark shirt sublimation, you will need HTV to complete the process. This HTV should have a polyester content to serve as a base for your sublimation paper designs.
The best sublimation paper for dark shirts has a quick drying time and a high transfer rate. Unfortunately, most subli papers are intended for white t-shirts and light colored fabrics.
If you want to sublimate black shirts or any other dark fabrics, you’ll need the sublimation vinyl technique. This technique includes the use of polyester vinyl or glitter HTV as a base and then printing sublimation designs on top of it. We hope this guide will help you create the best-sublimated shirt.