How To Use A Sublimation Printer – Sublimation for Beginners

Are you planning to try sublimation printing for the longest time but do not have enough information regarding this craft? Then you are at the right place. This article has all the information you will ever need how to use a sublimation printer.

how to use a sublimation printer

It is a perfect guide that can help you personalize various objects on a low budget and in less time. You can print any design on a fabric or a mug and gift it to someone. Stick around till the end to learn the sublimation printing process for beginners.

How to Use a Sublimation Printer? – Sublimation Printing

Sublimation Printing for Beginners – What Is Sublimation?

Sublimation printing is a chemical process that has become popular over time. It is being used by both companies and people at home. A design is made on the sublimation paper. Then it transferred with great pressure and temperature to the material you want to sublimate. This is a cost effective method as the solid ink particles are directly changed into the gaseous state. It dries within no time. You can customize the designs and print them onto several materials like cotton fabrics, mugs, glass etc.

If you are a beginner, you have to know the sublimation printing process. Ensure you know all the steps to get the desired output on the materials. An ink with solid particles is used in this process that is transferred on the sublimation paper. The printer embeds onto the paper, ready to be placed in a heat press. The design is transferred onto the material when the heat transfer initiates a chemical process of sublimation. All these steps are necessary to follow as a beginner interested in making creative products on less budget.

How to Start Sublimation Printing? – Sublimation Print Design

Once you have all the materials required to accomplish the sublimation printing, you can start the printing process. The process is simple and easy for any material if you follow the step-by-step guide.

Creating a Design

The first step is to create a sublimation print design on your computer. There are many software that can help you make these designs. Cricut Design Space is one of the free options that can help you make many designs easily. You can also upload the images and select the image type from the three options. You can check the background, size and redesign the picture as well.

Canva is another website that beginners can use for sublimation printing. You have to buy the monthly subscriptions, but it has a free version with limited features. You can resize the images according to the size of the sublimation paper you are using. Download the image in high quality as a PDF file. However, Canva does not allow you to change the design’s colors.

The most powerful program, which I like the most for creating a sublimation print design is Photoshop. This allows you to adjust the dimensions of the designs by dragging the edges only. You can also change the colors so they appear bright when printed. You can print any design and drag them on the paper to make some space between. As a beginner, you can also use templates to create designs and perform customization according to your requirements.

Transfer Design on Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper is a special paper containing silica layers and a binder. It holds the sublimation inks in place and makes sure the color is not dull. Air the papers, load them into the printer, and print onto the smoother side. Take a single print at a time and select a high speed on the sublimation printer. Throw some powder on the paper and leave it for a few minutes, so the print does not spread.

Heat Press

The heat press uses some heat to transfer the design on the products in high quality and less time. Pressure and heat are applied for a few seconds on the drawing surface to transfer the prints. It is recommended to use a high-quality heat press or sublimation machine. So that the prints do not crack and look dull. Hence this is the last step you need to follow on how to use a sublimation printer.

Factors To Consider

Besides following the steps above, there are three factors that you need to consider while sublimation printing. These can affect the printing output, especially when you are a beginner.


The time for each item varies when you are printing on various materials. If you are printing a design on a demanding object like a mug or a glass. You will have to sublimate it for a longer period. Similarly, if you want to customize a shirt, you will only sublimate it for 60 seconds. The dwell time plays an important role in sublimation printing. The thicker the object, the more time it will require for the print to get transferred.


Pressure also plays an important role in sublimation print design. The harder force you apply by the heat press, the more likely the design will not spread and transfer perfectly. Make sure you do not press with too much pressure that the item breaks. You can print almost every design on different products or materials by applying the force accordingly.


The recommended temperature for sublimation printing is 175 degrees. The higher temperatures can melt the objects or destroy the design. A polyester cloth may need 205 degrees for transferring the design. You can increase or decrease the temperature according to the printing material.

Sublimation vs. Other Printing Methods

A sublimation printer permanently transfers designs on other materials and has bright colors compared to other printing methods. Design will not fade away after several washes. This gives high quality results and requires less space than other printings techniques like screen printing.

The screens for screen printing are costly. The printing equipment is huge and requires large areas and proper ventilation throughout the process.

Similarly, in digital printing, the designs get cracked and do not fully transfer onto the materials. Because they do not get properly absorbed by the paper.

What Items Can You Sublimate on for Business?

There are multiple products which we can sublimate on. Here is a list of products which we can perform sublimation and start selling.

  • Mugs
  • T-shirts
  • Photo Tiles
  • Glass items
  • Bags
  • Phone cases
  • Mouse mats
  • Photo blocks etc.


What do I need to start sublimation printing?

You need four things to get started with sublimation printing. The list includes a sublimation printer, sublimation paper, inks, and heat/easy presses. You can personalize your t-shirts or mugs if you have all these things.

How to do all over sublimation printing?

For doing all-over sublimation printing, you have to design the sublimation paper with the help of software. Paste or create designs according to paper’s size and transfer them onto the shirt using the heat press.

How to do sublimation printing on fabric?

Sublimation printing is very easy on the fabric. You have to create a design with the software on your PC and print it onto the sublimation paper. You can heat the heat press and transfer it onto the fabric of any material.

How to do sublimation printing at home?

Sublimation printing at home is very easy. You have to need sublimation printer, sublimation ink, paper and heat press. You can create great designs in very less time. It does not even need huge spaces and proper ventilation like other methods.

Can any printer be used for sublimation printing?

No, you can not use any printer as sublimation printing. For sublimation printing, we have required special type of sublimation ink to print on sublimation paper. This can not be performed by all printers. The printers which use thermal or heat technology can be used for sublimation printing.


After this brief discussion, now you can understand it How to Use a Sublimation Printer? Sublimation for beginners is very easy if you follow the easy steps discussed above. You can personalize any item you want in less budget and time. Sublimation printing can help do a lot of DIY projects and does not need huge space. You can use the sublimation printer and get started by creating multiple designs with the help of design-creating software. These designs are high quality and look bright when compared to other printing methods.

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