posted by Ahijoy on October 31, 2022

How To Print Sublimation Images?

Sublimation is an amazing method that allows limitless creativity. You can create bespoke designs that define your persona and speak volumes about your aesthetic sense. It may seem to be a difficult task but don't worry! It's simpler than how it appears and before you realize it, you'll be an expert in sublimation.

How To Print Sublimation Images?

What Is Sublimation?

Sublimation printing is a method that uses heat to transfer dye/ink onto a substrate. It is ideal for transferring high-quality bright decals onto polyester and plastics without affecting the original image resolution. The ink used in the process transforms into gas without passing through a liquid stage and then solidifies infusing with the fibers of the fabric.

Important Equipment For Sublimation

Sublimation cannot be carried out with an inkjet printer. If you want to delve into this process you will have to invest in a sublimation printer which uses special ink needed for it. The printer costs anywhere between $200 - $1000.

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Basic Color Puff Heat Transfer Vinyl - Heat Transfer Vinyl - Ahijoy
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Basic Color Puff Heat Transfer Vinyl - Heat Transfer Vinyl - Ahijoy
Basic Color Puff Heat Transfer Vinyl - Heat Transfer Vinyl - Ahijoy
Basic Color Puff Heat Transfer Vinyl - Heat Transfer Vinyl - Ahijoy
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You will also have to invest in sublimation paper which is thicker and is coated with special chemicals that help the dye particles evaporate into gas. Once you have these two, you are good to go.

Sublimation On 100% Polyester Fabric

Sublimation works best on polyester fabrics. The process is simple and easy. Here’s how you can do it:

Supplies Required

  •  Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation paper
  • Shirt or any other type of fabric.
  • Image that you want to sublimate.
  • Heat press.
  • Butcher paper.
  • Heat resistant tape.
How To Print Sublimation Images?
  • Prepare your fabric by pressing it to remove creases. Any wrinkles will only create gaps in the design spoiling the final product.
  • Use a lint roller on your fabric to get rid of any fuzz.
  • Place a thick paper under the fabric to stop the dye from bleeding to the back side.
  • Make your design using any software you are comfortable with.
  • Print it on the sublimation paper. If your design comes out a bit dull than what is on your computer, don’t worry. The application of heat will make it brighter.
  • Once you have the print, place it ink side down on the fabric where you want it to be and secure it with a heat resistant tape.
  • Smooth out butcher paper on top of it then apply heat at 400°F for 60 seconds.
  • Once you have finished applying heat, remove the butcher and the sublimation paper and enjoy the vivid, beautiful design.

Sublimation On Heat Transfer Vinyl

Learn how to perform sublimation printing on vinyl to create stunning graphics that are not only colorful but also durable. Sublimation with vinyl is a very popular form of printing. It is a technique that uses ink and heat to transfer a pattern onto a cloth or fabric over HTV. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to print a sublimation image:

Supplies Required

The supplies required when using heat transfer vinyl for sublimation are the same. You just need transfer tape and Teflon sheet or parchment paper more to transfer vinyl on the fabric.

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PU Heat Transfer Vinyl - Heat Transfer Vinyl - Ahijoy
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Basic Colors Heat Transfer Vinyl
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Basic Colors Heat Transfer Vinyl
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Basic Colors Heat Transfer Vinyl
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Step 1: Make Your Design

To begin with sublimation, you'll need a design that you wish to transfer on your fabric. Sublimation is all about being able to transfer a graphic from your laptop onto your vinyl, so let's start there! There is a wide variety of options out there to choose from - It might be your child's favorite character, a family photograph, or even a gradient logo.

Duplicate the design on your software. If you are using Cricut, the Design Space software can easily do so for you. One is for printing and the other is for cutting the vinyl. The design that is for printing will be colorful as you want it and slightly larger than the one for cutting so that no white spaces are left on the vinyl.

How to Print Sublimation Images?

Step 2: Print Your Design

Now print the larger, colorful design on sublimation paper. Always remember to flip your image before printing. It must be the polar opposite of the way you want it to appear on the shirt. Consider this: you reverse your HTV before cutting it so that it reads correctly on the shirt. The same thing applies here! 

Step 3: Make An HTV Cut

Once the design is printed, put the sublimation paper aside and focus on cutting the vinyl with the same design. You'll trace the exterior of the picture and zoom in a little bit. Many programs have a "Trace" feature, such as the Trace panel in Silhouette Studio or Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator. Cricut’s Design Space software allows you to make your pattern transparent so that only the outline can be seen.

How to Print Sublimation Images?

Step 4: Pressing The Vinyl 

Once the design is cut on the vinyl and you have weeded out the negative parts, it’s time to heat press it on the fabric. This is similar to how most shirts are made: you place transfer tape on the design and smooth it out with a squeegee. Now remove the carrier sheet and paste the design where you want it on the fabric.

 Again smooth it out with a squeegee. Now place the Teflon sheet on top and heat press the vinyl according to the pressing instructions. Before removing the transfer tape, ensure the design has fully transferred.

Step 5: Sublimation On Vinyl

Now take out the printed sublimation paper you used in step 1. Cut around the borders of the paper to make it easy to line up with the design on the fabric.

 Align the sublimation print color side down with the vinyl design. Secure the edges with the heat resistant tape so that it does not move during pressing. Now crank up the heat press to 400°F!

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Once your heat press is up to the temperature, cover your image with Butcher paper and then press over it for 60 seconds applying moderate pressure.

Remove the heat resistant tape and sublimation paper. Voila! You have your very own brilliantly designed and sublimated project.

How to Print Sublimation Images?

Why Choose Sublimation Printing?

Following are the benefits of sublimation printing:

  • The ink infuses with the fabric and almost becomes a part of it hence your design will endure as long as the garment lasts.
  • Traditional methods of printing frequently stretch and obscure the design. Sublimation printing involves adding graphics to the entire fabric at once, resulting in crisp, clear designs every time.
  • Sublimation-printed fabrics typically offer a more upscale appearance and a smoother finish.
  • It is great for personalizing designs with changing components.
  • Sublimation printing is rapid and simple, allowing for same-day or same-hour printing as well as on-demand printing, which eliminates risk and waste.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Final Thoughts

If you use sublimation images on your shirts or any other piece of fabric, you will have your very own DIY project with a graphic that will not crack, peel, or wear out. Even after several washes, your clothing will never be moved to the back of your closet! Imagine how much cost you would save? So let’s try our hand at sublimation and make amazing designs.

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