Sublimation printing, also known as dye sublimation printing, is one of the most common ways to print images onto synthetic fabrics and materials. The digital printing is crisp, clear, colourful and won’t fade, crack or peel.
Sublimation printing is a very specialized printing technique that requires very specialized equipment. The design is printed onto a large ream of transfer paper using specialized sublimation inks using a specialized digital printer. The inks are liquid within the cartridge but are formulated to become solids very quickly once printed. Once the transfer paper has been printed with the design, the roll of transfer paper is aligned with a bolt of polyester fabric so that the printed side is facing the fabric.
The transfer paper and the fabric are then fed into a heated roller. The sublimation process takes place within this heated roller. Through a combination of pressure and heat (between 350 and 420 degrees Fahrenheit), the solid sublimation ink on the transfer paper becomes so hot that it evaporates and diffuses before it even has a chance to melt.
This intense heat also opens the pores of the polyester fabric, allowing the ink vapour to work its way deep into the fabric. Once the heat has been removed, the pores of the fabric snap closed, capturing the ink vapours. The ink then quickly reverts to its solid state within the fabric. As a result, the material has been permanently dyed with a full colour, high resolution image. It’s then cut and sewn together, and you have your finished garment.
If you are looking for a truly fully customizable solution right down to the smallest detail, this is the right choice. You can do unlimited colours, logos, and placements on your garment all at a flat rate price. This is the top choice for many teams that require several logos on their garments. Many suppliers will also allow individual customization included in the garment cost. This is an ideal solution for sports teams and is a very popular choice for all athletic apparel. Sublimation is also a great option for some unique products like neck gaiters, scarves, flags, pop-up canopies, socks, lanyards and so much more.
If you have a team, are looking for a creative customer give away or are looking for a fresh new look for your company polos, contact us today. We will make it happen.
This process only works on 100% polyester. Sublimation printing does not work on natural textiles like cotton because the vaporized ink can pass through the fibres without bonding to them.
The cost of this very specialized equipment is high so it’s not readily available at most decorators and will likely need to be outsourced. Because of this, the time it takes to produce these garments is usually 4 to 6 weeks with many suppliers before you will get your garments. You will also have to order a minimum number of pieces.
Artwork quality can also be another challenge. It must be vector artwork and will need to be very high quality. There are no exceptions. If you don’t know whether you have a vector logo, contact us and we can tell you right away. If it’s not a vector our team can convert it into a vector for a small one-time fee.