Table of Contents
- Sublimation Sheets at TeckWrap Craft
- What is sublimation printing?
- What is a sublimation paper?
- What kind of printer is used for sublimation printing?
- What kind of ink is used for sublimation papers?
- What material is best for sublimation?
- Polyester Shirts (Light-Colored Garments Only)
- Sublimation over Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Sublimation Mugs or Tumblers
- Sublimation or Canvas Pillowcase
- Sublimation Pouch
- Canvas Bags
- Sublimation Caps
- Polyester-coated Sublimation Blanks
- Sublimation Paper of TeckWrap Craft
- Step-By-Step Guide and Tips on Sublimation Printing
- Supplies Needed
- Print Your Design
- Cut the Edges
- Remember to Print on a Flat Surface When Printing Garments
- Use Teflon Sheet or Butcher Paper
- Use Thermal Tape to Put the Design in Place
- Heat Press Temperature and Time
- Always Remember to Pre-press Garments!
- Frequently Asked Questions
Sublimation Sheets at TeckWrap Craft
Do you want to print a multi-colored design with intricate details? Heat transfer vinyl may sound like a good idea. But then you look at the detailed colorful design and realize that heat transfer vinyl printing may seem like tedious work.
That's where sublimation printing comes in! TeckWrap Craft now has sublimation sheets available. In case you didn’t know, there are plenty of products you can print using sublimation sheets. You can print on shirts, mugs, hats, and many other sublimation blanks you’ll get to know as you read further.
What is sublimation printing?
Sublimation printing is a digital printing method that uses heat to transfer the print on any sublimation blank. With sublimation printing, you need to print on a sublimation sheet using a printer.
The printed design on the sublimation sheet, when exposed to heat, transfers to any sublimation-friendly merchandise. The sublimation ink turns into gas when exposed to heat, combined with the right amount of pressure. As the heat cools off, the ink permanently transfers onto the substrate.
What’s great about sublimation printing is it’s less prone to fading and you’ll get the full color of the original image. It wasn’t called ‘all over printing’ for a reason if you can’t use it for seam-to-seam printing.
What is a sublimation paper?
Sublimation paper is a special type of paper used in sublimation printing. A special coating is added to a sublimation sheet so it can hold the dye sublimation ink. The coating is made of silica and binder that’s why it transfers its colors vibrantly into a sublimation transfer or a shirt.
A sublimation paper is different from a laser transfer paper or inkjet transfer paper. Get this — the sublimation sheet is only compatible with dye sublimation inks. You cannot print on a sublimation sheet using your regular ink printer, it won’t work!
What kind of printer is used for sublimation printing?
Inkjet or laser printer? The best kind of printer used for sublimation printing is inkjet printers that contain sublimation inks. Inkjet printers for sublimation are a more affordable and faster option.
You may be asking, what about laser printers? Can you use laser printers for sublimation printing? The answer is yes, However, using laser printers for sublimation printing is a costly option since you need a sublimation cartridge.
As opposed to inkjet printers where you only need to refill with sublimation ink from bottles, which are more affordable. So what are the good brands of inkjet printers for sublimation printing? You may want to check out Sawgrass and Epson for their inkjet printers that are suitable for sublimation printing.
Just a reminder though if you use sublimation ink in an inkjet printer, you may lose the warranty on your printer. The warranty of most printers only applies when the original recommended ink is used. So make sure to ask the store or contact the manufacturer before you buy a printer and use it for sublimation printing.
What kind of ink is used for sublimation papers?
The ink used for sublimation papers is called dye sublimation ink. Do not use regular printer inks, pigment inks, solvent inks, or other kinds of ink when printing on sublimation paper because it just won't work.
If you use a different kind of ink other than sublimation ink on sublimation transfers, it will smear or won’t transfer to the merchandise at all. So don’t even think about it! When buying an ink make sure it says ‘dye sublimation ink’ or ‘sublimation ink’ on the product label.
Dye sublimation inks are specifically designed to lock into the sublimation sheet and turn to gas when exposed to heat. As the ink transfers to the merchandise (shirt or sublimation blank), it bonds and turns solid. In short, the print will stick permanently.
What material is best for sublimation?
You’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of products you can sublimate. You’re not limited to printing on shirts because there is plenty of sublimation merchandise available now.
Many printing business owners always include sublimation printing services in what they offer because of the low overhead cost and plenty of projects they can print. In addition, sublimation printing consumes less time compared to heat transfer vinyl printing.
With heat transfer vinyl printing, you’ll need to cut, weed and layer the vinyl. As compared to sublimation printing, you can print intricate colorful designs and then directly press it, then you’re done!
So what are the products or materials you can print with sublimation transfer? Here comes the exciting part! Make sure to list this down and read up!
Polyester Shirts (Light-Colored Garments Only)
First on the list of the things you can sublimate on are polyester shirts. Yes, light-colored polyester shirts are the best fiber choice, not cotton shirts. You cannot print sublimation paper on 100% cotton. Furthermore, you cannot print on dark-colored fabrics.
Sublimation dye ink won't react to natural cotton fibers when pressed under the heat press machine. Sublimation will print on 100% cotton but don’t expect it to last after several washes and the colors to be as vibrant. On the other hand, polyester is a synthetic fiber that absorbs sublimation dye ink perfectly.
If you want to sublimate on cotton shirts, choose a t-shirt with at least 40% polyester content combined in it. But this doesn’t give 100% assurance that the vibrant colors will transfer fully.
Image from Katsa Atbp Iloilo by Lynsel de la Banda
Some crafters would use sublimation coating and spray it over the cotton-poly blend before pressing the sublimation sheet. But for best results, it’s best to sublimate on 100% polyester shirts.
As for the color of the garment, you can only sublimate on light-colored polyester fabrics like white, yellow, or light pink. Dye sublimation ink won’t be visible on dark-colored polyester fabrics.
So what do you do if you need to print on a 100% cotton shirt or dark-colored garment and you really need to use the sublimation process? Is that it? No! You can resort to printing heat transfer vinyl first, and printing sublimation over it, which leads us to the next item.
Related post: T Shirt Design Ideas: Ways to Customize Shirts
Sublimation over Heat Transfer Vinyl
If you have to work on dark-colored fabrics or 100% cotton, then you can print sublimation paper over heat transfer vinyl. What’s great about sublimation is you can combine it with other printing applications.
All you have to do is cut the vinyl onto the exact shape and size of the design. Then heat press the heat transfer vinyl first. The last step is to press the sublimation sheet above the heat transfer vinyl. Take a look at the photo below.
Sublimation Mugs or Tumblers
Yes! You can sublimate on mugs and tumblers as well. But hold on, you can’t just sublimate on any mug or tumbler you can find in the craft store. With adhesive craft vinyl, you can personalize it with any type of mug or tumbler.
But for the sublimation process, there are special types of mugs or tumblers specifically designed for sublimation printing. These mugs or tumblers need to have a poly-coating.
That’s why if you’re planning to sublimate onto mugs or tumblers make sure to search for ‘sublimation mugs’ or ‘sublimation tumblers’. If you sublimate on regular mugs or tumblers, chances are, the print won’t totally transfer or, the design will fade only after a few washes.
Sublimation on mugs or tumblers is best if you want a full-color design on your merchandise. Unlike with adhesive craft vinyl, you’re limited with the color hues and layers.
Sublimation or Canvas Pillowcase
If you want a full-colored print on a pillowcase, then sublimation printing is the best printing process. Since a pillowcase is a fabric, just like a shirt, polyester is the preferred garment type. Aside from polyester pillowcases, you can sublimate on canvas as well.
As for printing on pillowcases, many would debate in the customization industry on which is better — heat transfer vinyl or sublimation. The answer depends on the finished product you’ve envisioned.
If you want a chic and elegant-looking pillowcase but with no intentions of using it for your main sleeping pillow, then heat transfer vinyl would do fine. But if you want a full-colored pillowcase with multiple color hues, then sublimation is the better option.
There are plenty of sublimation pouches you can buy in craft stores or online, and this will make a great gift idea. These sublimation pouches come in different sizes. From make-up pouches to gift goodie bags, there are plenty of sublimation pouches to choose from.
The sublimation pouches are mostly made of polyester fabrics or are poly-coated. Do you want to know a little secret regarding sublimation pouches? You can buy one with printable sequins! Yes, you heard that right!
These are sequins that you can sublimate on. Have you seen those reversible sequin pillowcases? At first glance, you may think it’s a plain sequin pillow, but when you run your hands over it, and the other side flips, that’s where the magic hides.
These reversible sequin pillow cases are available in pouches and cellphone holders as well. This is the reason why you’re going to love sublimation printing because of the many projects you can create.
Custom sublimation transfer looks vibrant on canvas materials. Do you know the meaning of this? You can print on canvas bags, aprons, pouches, and basically any garment made of canvas! Of course, except canvas merchandise made of dark garments.
Some crafters, though, deal with an issue when sublimating on canvas garments, that is, the colors are not so vibrant when heat pressed. That’s not the case for all, but it may be an expected issue when it comes to sublimating canvas garments.
There’s a trick around this, that you’ll find useful in the long run – use a sublimation spray coating. A sublimation spray coating is sprayed on the canvas, pressed for about 5 to 10 seconds, then the sublimation paper follows.
Image from Katsa Atbp Iloilo by Lynsel de la Banda
You may have seen those trucker caps with vibrant prints, but wonder how it is done. Those are sublimation caps that you can buy online! If you try to search in Google ‘sublimation caps’, you’ll see these trucker caps with mesh net back, and white polyester front, on which you can print the design.
As for caps with dark colors or those plain baseball caps made of cotton, you can’t sublimate it. Instead, printable vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, or dark transfer paper is best used. If you intend to print on sublimation caps, you’ll need a cap press printing machine. It’s a heat press machine specifically used for cap printing.
Polyester-coated Sublimation Blanks
If you’re still thinking twice if investing in an inkjet printer for sublimation is a good idea, stop doubting! Why? With the many products you can sublimate on, it’s a sound business idea to venture into sublimation printing.
There are plenty of polyester-coated sublimation blanks in the market now, and you’ll be surprised to read this list! Here are some products you can sublimate:
- Face mask
- Cup coasters
- Baby’s bib
- Ceramic plate
- ID lanyard
Remember, when searching for these sublimation blanks, always look for ‘sublimation umbrellas’ or ‘sublimation face masks’ because these are polyester-coated, which are specifically designed to withstand heat and to absorb sublimation ink.
Also, you can only sublimate on light-colored or white sublimation blanks. Lastly, with some of the sublimation blanks mentioned above, you’ll need a special type of heat press machine. For instance, for ID lanyards, you’ll need an ID lanyard heat press which is longer.
Image from Katsa Atbp Iloilo by Lynsel de la Banda
Sublimation Paper of TeckWrap Craft
Now that you’re aware of the important points regarding sublimation printing, the question is, where do you buy the sublimation sheets? That’s where TeckWrap Craft comes in! You can now purchase sublimation sheets at TeckWrap Craft.
The package comes in 100 sheets. The sheet size is 8.3”x11.7” (A4 size) sublimation transfer paper. It’s best used in inkjet printers with sublimation ink. Remember to print on the white side, and mirror the design.
What you’ll love about TeckWrap Craft’s sublimation transfer paper is it dries fast. Unlike other sublimation papers where you have to wait for hours to let the ink dry before placing it under the heat press machine.
TeckWrap Craft’s sublimation transfer paper has a 98% sublimation transfer rate. This means 98% of the design printed from a sublimation printer, transfers to the garment or sublimation blanks with bright and vivid colors.
You can use this sublimation paper on white or light-colored garments. Even on garments that contain 30% cotton. Unlike other sublimation transfer paper, TeckWrap Craft's sublimation sheet does not fade, smudge, or crack at all. Most importantly, it's a great ink-saving type of sublimation sheet, which every crafter, such as yourself, would love.
Step-By-Step Guide and Tips on Sublimation Printing
Are you ready to create your custom sublimation transfer designs? You got this! For sure, you’ll be creating awesome prints. Of course, do good business with all the projects you can accept from clients, with sublimation printing.
In the next part of this post, you’ll learn the step-by-step guide to sublimation printing, including the supplies to gather. Remember, that the pressing instructions such as heat press temperature and time may differ from the sublimation blank or garment you want to sublimate on.
Before anything else, of course, you need to gather the supplies needed. Each supply mentioned below serves a purpose. Your life will be easier if you had all these supplies purchased beforehand.
- Inkjet printer with sublimation ink
- Sublimation sheets from TeckWrap Craft
- Sublimation blank or garment: As mentioned above, you can print on many sublimation blanks. As for garments, you can print on polyester or garments that contain less than 30% cotton.
- Heat press machine: Remember that heat press machines are available in different forms. The heat press machines for caps, shirts, or mugs are different, so better think about investing in all.
- Teflon sheet: Teflon sheets are heat-resistant and non-stick sheets that serve as a protective barrier between the heat press machine and garment.
- Thermal tape on a tape dispenser: You’ll need thermal tape to secure the sublimation paper in place when pressing. You don’t want your print to shift around and scatter its print (or ghost print) while pressing.
- Silicone rubber pad: The silicone rubber pad is the gray-colored mat placed below garments or caps on the heat press machine. You need a silicone pad placed beneath a shirt or cap to ensure the garment is flat and the sublimated design transfers properly. Without a silicone pad, chances are, the garment may look wrinkled and won’t transfer properly.
- Transfer gloves: Use the transfer gloves to handle hot items like freshly pressed sublimation paper or merchandise.
- Scissors or cutter: You’ll need scissors or cutter to cut the surrounding white background outside the design.
- Ruler or measuring tape
Print Your Design
As soon as you have all your supplies gathered, it’s time to set up your workstation and get the printing on! First of all, you want to print your design. Make sure the image is of the highest quality.
For instance, if you use pixelated designs, it will show on the garment when printed. You can use software like Microsoft Publisher, Adobe, or your cutting machine’s design studio.
Before printing, you need to change several settings on your printer. Here’s what you need to remember:
- Resize the design and make sure the image fits perfectly where you want to print it.
- In the ‘Printer Properties’ settings, change the document size to A4.
- Choose the highest quality print settings, not the ‘Standard’ or ‘Normal’ print settings. Choose the highest quality settings and the slowest speed settings. You don’t want the ink to print too fast on your sublimation sheet.
- Don’t forget to mirror the image.
- Print on the white side of the sublimation sheet.
Cut the Edges
After printing the design, since the TeckWrap Craft sublimation sheet is fast-drying, you can press it right away. But before doing that, you need to cut the edges of the design. The white blank space needs surrounding the design needs to be cut for two reasons:
- Design placement when pressing will be easier when you’re working on the print alone.
- There are instances that waste ink will print on the sublimation sheet especially found on the edges of the paper. This case usually happens when the inkjet printer lacks head cleaning and starts to waste ink.
You can simply cut the edges using scissors. Do you need to cut perfectly around the design? Not necessarily! That’s the beauty of sublimation printing. Unlike printable vinyl or dark transfer paper that you have to run through the cutting machine for a perfect cut.
The sublimation sheet does not transfer to the garment, only the design. Just a heads up though, sublimation does not print white color. So in case, your design has a white color in it, when heat is pressed on the merchandise, it is going to be transparent.
Remember to Print on a Flat Surface When Printing Garments
Just like printing with heat transfer vinyl, sublimation printing requires printing on a flat surface as well. That’s why a silicone rubber mat is a must. Heat press machines for shirts and caps usually come with a silicone rubber mat.
Use Teflon Sheet or Butcher Paper
When printing on garments, it’s always best to use a Teflon sheet. It’s recommended to use a protective barrier between the heat press machine’s hot surface and the garment. A Teflon sheet is your protection from garments getting scorch marks and prevents the ink from transferring to the heat press itself.
Use Thermal Tape to Put the Design in Place
Another must-have when sublimation printing is thermal tape. Use thermal tape to stick the sublimation sheet to the merchandise you want to print. This is to ensure the design stays in place and won’t keep moving which can lead to ‘ghosting print’.
A ghost print looks like a shadow of the actual design printed on the merchandise, and you don’t want that! Use thermal tape when printing on shirts, mugs, caps, and all sublimation blanks.
Heat Press Temperature and Time
Now for the most important part, the time and temperature on the heat press machine. As you may have learned by now, there are many sublimation blanks you can print on. This means, the heat press temperature and time differ for each.
The heat press time and temperature will vary depending on the type of material or garment you want to print on (polyester, poly-cotton blend, canvas, ceramic, etc). To give you an idea, here are the heat press time and temperature of the usual sublimation blanks:
Heat Press Temperature
Heat Press Time
150 to 200 seconds
350 to 400°F
100% polyester fabric
380 to 400°F
Take note when it comes to time and temperature of the heat press, to always check the manufacturer’s recommendation. When you buy a heat press machine, the package usually comes with heat press temperature and time guides, so make sure to check that out.
Always Remember to Pre-press Garments!
The last tip you should never forget is to pre-press garments. Give it a 5 to 10 seconds press, then let it cool for about 20 seconds before placing the sublimation sheet. If you place the sublimation sheet on the garment right after pre-pressing, the garment is still hot and the sublimation sheet may curl up and start transferring its ink.
This is another reason for ‘ghost printing’, so you want to prevent that as well. After pre-pressing and placing a thermal tape to position the design, it’s time to press the design. When the time’s up, you can remove the sublimation transfer while it's still hot. See the magic unfold! You will love sublimation printing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I print sublimation paper on a regular printer?
No, you cannot print sublimation printers on a regular printer with regular ink. When printing sublimation, you should use an inkjet printer that contains sublimation ink.
What kind of paper do you use when pressing sublimation?
The special paper used for sublimation printing is called sublimation sheets. You cannot use other types of paper for sublimation printing other than sublimation sheets.
Is heat transfer paper the same as sublimation paper?
No, a heat transfer paper is different from a sublimation paper. Heat transfer paper is coated with wax or pigment. A heat transfer paper is used for dark transfer paper and light transfer paper printing that’s compatible with pigment ink. While a sublimation paper has a special coating that’s compatible with sublimation ink only.
Read: Sublimation Temperature Chart
Buy Your Sublimation Sheets at TeckWrap Craft Now!
Are you ready to start your sublimation printing journey? Are you ready to venture into a business where you can provide a lot of printing needs to your clients? TeckWrap Craft sublimation sheets are the best partner for your sublimation needs!
You can order sublimation sheets through the website, and have it shipped right to your doorstep. TeckWrap Craft ships locally and internationally! Order yours now!