What Is Sublimation Ink? And Dye Ink vs Sublimation Ink

How could you define, “what is sublimation ink?” It is a special kind of ink most commonly used in sublimation printers. The ink requires heat so that it can transform into a gas without going through the liquid phase, a process simply known as ‘sublimation’. Sometimes, the ink is also known as a kind of dye that you see on various objects, printed in a form of unique designs. One interesting fact about sublimation ink is that it is also used with normal printers that you commonly see. However, the results are not quite appealing as it affects the quality of the print.

what is sublimation ink

Along with the heat, the process of sublimation requires some great pressure for forming the print. The most suitable and appropriate material for such printers and ink is polyester since it has the capacity to bear all the heat and pressure, unlike cotton. Cotton is a very delicate material that cannot tolerate such pressure. However, it is totally possible to get the print on the cotton but it will not give the best results. This process of printing requires you to first get the print on some paper, and from there it is transferred on the cloth.

What is Sublimation Ink?

We have already discussed what is sublimation ink? It is basically a specific kind of ink that is used in sublimation printers. Sublimation ink printers are of various types. Some of the printers are solely meant for business purposes while others are easy to use at home.

However, any sublimation printer is good for a business depending upon the kind of business one wants to start. Small-scale businesses will definitely require a compact printer that offers something precise. On the contrary, large businesses need multifaceted printers i.e. the printers that offer multiple features.

Dye Ink Vs Sublimation Ink

Dye Ink

Dye ink is the mixture of water and colorant. The color of dye ink is due to this colorant. Dye ink uses in inkjet printers.

One of the major differences between the two types of inks is that the dye ink offers you a variety in terms of its compatibility with various materials. For instance, this ink is appropriate for any material that may include paper or a piece of cloth. However, one needs to take special care that it must not come in contact with excessive heat or any liquid. Also, dye ink is quite affordable too.

On the other hand, sublimation ink is suitable for limited fabrics such as polyester. However, you can use it for different things like mugs, frames, etc.

Difference Between Inkjet Printer and Sublimation Printer

A very basic difference between the two methods of printing is that the inkjet printer uses liquid ink and is suitable for paper mostly. For instance, the documents that you get out of the printer are a product of inkjet printers.

Meanwhile, sublimation printing process converts the ink into a gas. So, the print you get is a result of gas. For example, this method is more suitable for printing designs on cups, mugs, glass, frames, cloth, etc. So, both the printers offer you unique features, different from the other.

Material Available for Sublimation Printing

There are too many available that we can sublimate on

  • Sublimation ink
  • T-shirts
  • Glass
  • Mugs
  • Hoodies
  • Towels
  • Mouse pads
  • Key Chains
  • Tumblers and much more.

Usage of Dye Ink

Dye ink works best for

  • On dark material
  • Glossy paper
  • Document printing
  • Photo paper
  • Pvc card

Advantages of Dye Sublimation Ink

One of the biggest advantages that you can get with sublimation ink is extremely durable. Sublimation ink print does not fade away upon washing. The quality of the print is of really high quality and does not fade away that easily unlike the prints by inkjet printers. Due to this reason, this method is preferred by professionals for their businesses.

With this printer, you achieve an elite quality print. This is vibrant, properly saturated, and smooth as if it is polished. All these qualities add value to the printer thereby, increasing its demand.

Drawback of Dye Sublimation Printing

A major drawback of this method of printing includes that it consumes a lot of effort as it involves multiple steps. Not just that but this method is comparatively costly if compared to other types of print.

This is probably because it consumes a lot of effort and energy. Moreover, this is a slow method that can prove boring and tiring, unlike other methods. Other than that, sublimation printing, as discussed earlier, is more suitable for polyester. This shows its limited function.


Can I use sublimation ink on regular paper?

Regular paper is compatible with the inkjet printer most of the time. Whereas, the only suitable paper for sublimation ink is the sublimation paper. This paper is specifically meant for the sublimation printer. This means that a great difference between inkjet printing and sublimation printing does exist.

Is sublimation ink better than regular ink?

Both the inks serve their own unique purposes. However, sublimation ink has the finest quality that lasts for a long time. The results of sublimation printers are really amazing, offering permanent effects that do not vanish when washed.

Which is better: sublimation or heat transfer?

Both are fine in their own way depending upon the type of result you want to achieve. If you want something in a light or white color then sublimation printers are the best. However, sublimation printers are not suitable for colorful materials. For such materials, you need a heat transfer method. The quality of both the prints is nice in their own ways.

Can I use sublimation ink on any printer?

For good result you can use only printer specified ink. In inkjet printers which are using Micro Piezo printing head then you use sublimation ink for those printers. Its not a good practice if the printers those are using thermal printing head.

Final Verdict

So these were some of the interesting facts regarding what is sublimation ink and how various printers require different inks. Also, the amazing results you get with these inks on various objects are also quite fascinating. So, if you are planning to start a business, either a small home-based or a proper business then this information may prove fruitful. The printers come at different prices depending upon what they have to offer. However, most of them are quite reasonable. So, you should choose wisely considering all the facts and figures and on the basis of what you really want to achieve.

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