What is a Sublimation Transfer – Sublimation Printing

What is a sublimation transfer? How to make sublimation transfers? How does it work? What benefit can you get from it? These are some of the questions I get asked very frequently. You may have heard different people tell you different things about what sublimation is and how it is done? Quite frankly, it only complicates things further. When in fact, it is just a simple process that involves a few steps, to get any image printed on any surface you want.

what is a sublimation transfer

Sublimation transfer is a glorious process to bring your apparel to life. You can get cool images printed on your t-shirts, bags, mugs and anything you want. If you ever see an image on the internet that vibes with your personality, just hit download it. Sublimate it onto your plain white t-shirt. Are you excited to know more about it? If yes, then keep on reading because I am about to explain everything down to the littlest detail. So keep on reading and enjoying!

What Is a Sublimation Transfer?

Sublimation Printing Process

Sublimation printing process is a special printing process. In this process the design is first move to a special paper then it transfer it to the desired printing material by applying heat 375 degree from 50 – 60 seconds.

Sticking strictly to the definition of sublimation transfer, it literally means printing any material other than paper using heat. This whole process is called sublimation transfer. It requires specific tools and inks such as:

  • Good heat-press machine
  • Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation ink

This entire sublimation transfer process can be broken down into a series of steps. You can sublimate almost any kind of material including t-shirts, cups, saucers, tote bags, etc.

How To Make Sublimation Transfers

Making sublimation transfers involves a series of steps. You have to be very careful and patient in each and every step. If by chance you try to rush things, you might end up ruining the image. Also, try to follow every step to the fullest to get the best results possible. You may sublimate any material like acrylic, glass, mugs, nylon, fabric etc. But just to explain things in a more elaborate way, I am going to use a t-shirt as an example.

Step # 01: Straighten the T-shirt Using Heat

After such a lengthy procedure, the last thing you want is gaps in your printed image. This usually happens when the fabric you are trying to sublimate is creased. So, to avoid any such happening you need to carefully iron your t-shirt before getting started.

Step # 02: Get Your Favorite Print on Heat Transfer Paper

This is the fun step because you get to choose an awesome image you want to sublimate on your t-shirt. It can be anything ranging from a quote, a boss babe motto, your favorite superhero, or just a funny face. Adjust the size and positioning of the image on the monitor before hitting print. Make sure that you use proper tools to get the print. For example, use a good sublimation printer, proper sublimation inks, and a good quality heat press paper.

Step # 03: Heat Press

The next step in line is to transfer the sublimated image from the paper to the t-shirt. For this carefully set the t-shirt in the heat press machine and put the sublimated paper on top of it. Feel free to position the paper to the part of the t-shirt you want to sublimate. Once you are done adjusting the image face down on the t-shirt, secure it in place using heat-resistant tape. Then cover it up using butter paper. Now, adjust the temperature and time of your heat press machine and close the lid.

Step # 04: Peel Away the Paper

When the timer of the heat press machine runs out, open the lid. Be careful not to touch the t-shirt just yet. It will be hot and you might burn away the delicate skin of your fingers. Wait for a few minutes to let it cool, then slowly and carefully peel away the paper from the t-shirt. And Voila! You have done with beautiful design. This is the whole process what is a sublimation transfer and how to make sublimation transfers.


What is sublimation transfer paper?

Sublimation heat transfer paper is a special kind of paper specifically used in sublimation printing. Sublimation paper is just a regular paper treated to some special process, which deems it fit for sublimation printing. A very unique coat of substrate is applied to the paper which makes it perfect for use. Without substrate coating, a paper is of no use in the sublimation process. So, make sure that you use a proper type of page for your next sublimation project.

How to print on sublimation transfer paper?

Printing a sublimation transfer paper is fairly simple. All you need is the right type of printer and suitable sublimation inks to get the job done. However, make sure that you purchase the sublimation ink for this process. Because regular ink won’t stick to the sublimation transfer paper. After that the job is pretty easy, just fill the ink cartridges of your sublimation printer, feed the paper in the printer tray, adjust the settings on the monitor as per your preferences, and hit print.

How to use sublimation vinyl?

Heat transfer sublimation vinyl is a specific type of paper that enables you to sublimate on cotton material, which would otherwise be impossible. But using sublimation vinyl just requires extra effort. You will have to heat press the sublimation vinyl onto the fabric you intend to sublimate. Be very careful with correctly positioning the vinyl paper. Next, take your printed heat transfer paper and put face down on the vinyl pressed area. Heat press the entire thing again to get a perfectly sublimated image onto the fabric.

Final Thoughts

Summing up this entire discussion, now you get what is a sublimation transfer and how to make sublimation transfers. It is fair to conclude that sublimation transfer is an excellent and fun process that enables you to get your desired image printed on any surface. You no longer have to comb the markets looking for just a simple t-shirt that has your favorite print. You can also turn it into your own small business. It will just require a small investment. You can start selling customized printed stuff online from the comfort of your home.

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