Sublimation printing 101

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Dye sublimation is a digital printing technology that enables the reproduction of colorful images on common everyday items. Some of these items include clothing and novelty. Sublimation printing is an quick and inexpensive process; in both the setup and production. This makes it an ideal choice for creating personalized, one-of-a-kind items or for mass producing a variety of custom products. Moreover, dye-sublimation printing yields beautiful and permanent colors that are embedded in the substrate or fabric, rather than printed on the surface. Images on fabric won’t fade or crack even after multiple washings. Images on hard substrates will not chip, peel or scratch. These are just some of the many benefits of sublimation printing.


The modern dye sublimation process is quite simple. You create an image on your computer then print it onto special transfer paper. This is done using special sublimation inks. You then apply the paper with the image to the item to be decorated. Using a heat press, you press the transfer paper unto the surface. This surface should be about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This then causes the sublimation inks to “transfer” from the paper to any polymer fibers within the substrate. After about a minute, the heat is removed and the transfer paper is peeled off, leaving behind a permanent, full-color image on the substrate.