What is Sublimation Printing?
While similar to heat transfer paper, there are some differences with Sublimation Printing. The process will still involve printing your design onto a sheet of specialty paper and utilizing heat to transfer the image. Sublimation ink, when heated, will turn into a gas that will adhere to the fabric. Once it cools, it will return to a solid, permanent part of the material rather than just sitting on top. This produces a long-lasting image.
Do I need any special start-up equipment?
Unlike working with HTV, Sublimation does require some specialized equipment. There are some Sublimation starter packages that have everything you need outside of the heat press that is affordable options. You will need a sublimation printer and paper, the essential software, products you can transfer your images onto, and of course a heat press.
What can I decorate with Sublimation?
There are more limits to what types of items you can personalize with Sublimation. It will only work with Polyester fabrics, and because the ink binds to the material itself, your fabric will have to be light or white for the transfer to show true colors. Sublimation can be used on a wide variety of other surfaces, such as aluminum or ceramic.
How Durable is Sublimation?
As the ink binds itself to the fabric rather than lying on top, these images are very durable. These images fuse with the fabric so they will not crack over time or fade in the same way that HTV does.
Do I have to "Weed" Sublimation patterns?
While these transfers don't work on dark fabrics, their nature allows the fabric's light color to show through without having to "weed" the original pattern. The non-inked areas will just transfer a "clear" layer onto the light-colored fabric.