What is Sublimation Paper – How to Choose Best One?      

Sublimation papers are composed of silica and binder that is basically a kind of an extra coating meant to retain the sublimation ink. As the name suggests, the entire process of sublimation involves the direct conversion of a solid ink into the gaseous form. Thereby, processing the ink for printing purposes.

what is sublimation paper

In the sublimation process, whatever you print on the fabric, the print merges into the fabric. You can wash the fabric no matter how many times and the print will still retain there. So, let’s talk about a few interesting facts regarding what is sublimation paper?

What is Sublimation Paper and Types of Sublimation Paper?  

As we now already know what is sublimation paper? Let’s now talk about some of the important factors that you should keep in mind when you buy a sublimation paper. So, given below is a list of few important aspects to look at the time of purchase:

1. The Capacity of the Ink

The capacity of the ink reflects how thick or diluted the ink is. If the ink is too thin, you need to choose the paper according to sublimation printing. Otherwise, the paper cannot absorb the liquid. You need to strike a balance between the paper material and the ink thickness so that the paper can easily absorb it without tearing or twisting. So, this is the first and foremost important aspect that needs consideration to get the desired and precise results.

2. The Speed of Printing Machine

The thickness of the paper is determined by the printing speed. If the printing process is done at a slower rate than the paper that is used as a result is quite thick. On the other hand, if the printing speed is fast then ultimately the paper is going to be light in weight. So, all of this shows that it is the printing speed that determines the quality and also the durability of the paper which is an important point to note.

3. Quality of the Sublimation Paper

The quality of the sublimation paper is of utmost important. Quality leads to the durability and longevity of the paper. The best way to go about it is by choosing the right kind of paper. It can actually absorbs the ink and give you the best results.

Not all kinds of papers are suitable for the sublimation printing process. The thickness and the ink itself also determine the ultimate outcome. Most importantly, if you are working on a very important project then choosing the right paper is a must. Otherwise, the results can be disastrous, which ma leads to the appointment.

4. Important Factors While Choosing the Sublimation Paper

The kind of paper that you need for the printing process depends highly upon a few important things. Firstly, your choice for the paper needs to be in accordance with the size of the printer. Also, as different size printers offer different features, it is advised to choose the paper accordingly.
Apart from that, the substrate also has a lot to do with the sublimation paper. Lastly, the cost of the paper is also extremely important because you would definitely want to get a quality thing at a reasonable price. So, all these things need some consideration.

5. Sublimation Papers and their Various Kinds

Different materials decide the kind of sublimation paper that you need. For example, for printing on a mug, you will require a specific kind of sublimation paper. It has special coating which helps the ink to absorb on materials. For a piece of cotton fabric, a different sublimation paper Subli-Flex 202 is needed.

Whereas, different printers also require different papers according to their compatibility. Moreover, light-colored objects require a different paper as compared to light-colored objects.

Projects That Can Do with Sublimation Paper

There are multiple custom projects which we can perform with sublimation paper. We can print on polyester products, polyester coated products, nylon etc. with the help of sublimation paper.

Furthermore, we can perform sublimation printing directly on cotton shirts. But in this case we can not sublimate on dark shirts directly. For this purpose, firstly we have to print heat transfer vinyl on shirt, then go for sublimation printing on dark shirts. Direct sublimation printing can only be perform on polyester shirts.

Tip How to Choose Sublimation Paper

  • If the humidity in the working environment is 45% then is best to choose 80gsm. Paper shrinks in low humidity. Paper absorbs ink in sublimation printing process. 80g paper is softer than 100g and 120g. If we use these paper in this environment paper ma be hunched up and can cause to damage the printer head.
  • If the working environment humidity is 70% then its better to choose 110gsm or 120gsm paper. In high humidity it will easily damp and become softer and hardness of paper become weak. If we will use light weight paper then it is difficult to hard to print smoothly. So it is recommended to use 110g or 120g paper.

Sublimation Paper FAQs

Does sublimation paper need sublimation ink?

Sublimation ink is the basic requirement of a sublimation paper because without this ink the print cannot stick. In fact, you do not only require this ink but also a quality sublimation printer is a must. All these three things are correlated. So, if you want to achieve the best results, you really need to keep in mind all these factors. Sublimation ink makes it easier for the print to stick to the paper and from paper to the fabric.

What happens if you sublimate on 100 percent cotton?

Cotton is not a suitable option for sublimation. Normally, polyester is one of the most compatible materials that best suits sublimation. If sublimation is done on pure cotton then it is most likely that it will not last long. Sometimes, the print starts coming off from the shirt. Plus, excessive washing also removes the print. So, the quality of the print is not good enough when it comes to pure cotton. The best thing is to go for polyester.

Can you sublimate on dark fabric?

Sublimation to dark colors is not quite possible. Even if it is possible to some extent, it requires a lot of effort. Mostly light colors are compatible with the entire sublimation process. On the contrary, dark colors are suitable for heat transfer. Plus, the material also matters a lot when it comes to sublimation. For instance, cotton is a big no because the print on it does not last long. So, all the factors when combined together, give you the best results.

How much does it cost to start a sublimation business?

The sublimation start-up does not cost much which is one of the biggest advantages you can get. In fact, the profit of the sublimation business is much more as compared to the startup cost. So, even if you spend some amount on the new enterprise, you immediately receive double the amount in no time. The cost is almost around 1400 dollars.


Now you can easily understand that what is sublimation paper? Sublimation papers are easily found at stores but finding the right one is not as easy. The reason is that many people do not really know about the compatibility of the paper with its other related things. For instance, the ink, printer model and size, material, etc are all interlinked.

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