What is sublimation printing?

What is sublimation printing?

Sublimation definition: Sublimation is a chemical process where a solid turns into a gas without going through a liquid stage.

Sublimation printing, also known as dye sublimation printing, is a popular printing method for transferring images onto suitable materials. Typical printing methods involve a step with water, where the solid turns to water before a gaseous state. Sublimation printing does not involve the liquid step but goes right from solid to gas due to a chemical reaction (like dry ice).

How it works

This typically involves the use of a digital printer to produce images on sublimation transfer paper with sublimation ink. The sublimation paper is then placed into a heat press with the material and exposed to high temperatures of about 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the ink and transfer material turn from solid to gas. Once they are in a gas state, they permeate the fibers of the material.

When the heat is removed from the transfer paper and substrate, the ink that has permeated the fibers solidifies and is locked permanently into place by the transfer material. Not only does the heat release the gas from the sublimation ink, but it opens the pores of the material you are transferring the image to. Once the pressure and heat are released, the sublimation ink returns to its solid state and the fabric pores close, trapping the ink inside.

Sublimation best uses

This printing method is best used on products such as polyester apparel in white or light colors or hard surfaces with a poly-coating, such as coasters, mugs, mouse pads and more.

Sublimation printing fabrics
The sublimation process can only be used on 100% polyester material or materials with a special polymer coating. Sublimation is best for white or light colored fabrics. This may seem like a limited option, but polymer coated products can include coasters, mugs, mouse pads and more.

Cost

Sublimation
The sublimation process can be quite pricey when you add up the cost of materials involved. Sublimation is best for small orders due to the cost and time it takes to produce an item. (SEE OUR ATTACHED OUT THE DOOR PRICE SHEET! 12 PIECE MINIUMS!!!)

Turn Around

Every Job is mocked up on a cad to allow our customers to see what they are receiving and make adjustments based on their vision. Once artwork is confirmed and deposit received the completion time for every sublimation project is between 3-4 weeks.