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What is Sublimation Printing?

There are a few different printing techniques to choose from if you’re new to the print on demand (POD) drop shipping market. But let’s focus on the most striking of all: sublimation printing. Sublimation printing, often known as an all-over print, is a design process in which inks are heated and transferred onto a product.

Keep an eye out for AOP apparel in this Catalog if you’re seeking long-lasting POD products with distinct colors and high-resolution quality. On garments and home décor, the method is used to create brilliant, all-over, eternal images.

  • In short, here’s how sublimation printing works:
  • Sublimation ink is used to print the artwork on sublimation paper.
  • After that, the blank object is placed on a jig.
  • The chosen design is wrapped around the garment.
  • Then it’s put through a heat press.
  • And there you have it!

What is the process of sublimation printing?

Heat is used in sublimation printing to fuse ink to the surface material or cloth, depending on the circumstance. When heated, the inks used in the sublimation process transform into gas, which then combines with the fabric and leaves a permanent imprint on the fabric. The outcome is durable and far less prone to fading because the ink enters the material rather than simply sitting on top like a typical print.

Consider sublimation printing to be similar to tattooing, but with fabric instead of skin. Then, instead of pores, fibers open up as a result of the heat. While pressure is exerted, the ink cools and returns to a solid, secure state.

This speedy and efficient printing technology is rising in prominence, especially for designs that rely on subtleties. Sublimation printing, also known as “all over printing” (AOP) or “sublimation printing,” allows you to experiment with graphics that cover the entire blank object from seam to seam.

What about using sublimation printing on your shirts?

The artwork is initially printed onto a unique piece of paper for sublimation t-shirt printing. The picture is then transferred to a different material, such as polyester or a polyester blend, and the ink is heated until it completely dissolves into the fabric. Sublimation shirt printing is more expensive than other processes (screen printing), but it lasts longer and does not break or peel. Did we mention it looks a lot better?

The advantages and disadvantages of sublimation printing


The most exciting advantage of this process is the creative freedom it provides, which is not always feasible with other printing or embroidery methods. Can you go crazy with sublimation printing — a shirt covered in hotdogs from top to bottom? Make a fool of yourself. Socks that resemble cheese chunks from AOP? I want three brie kinds of cheese, not two. Leggings with a stunning galaxy print? Yes, absolutely!

You may, of course, keep it sophisticated with prints of overcast skies, grass, cupcakes, and landscapes, among other things. There are unlimited alternatives, which will have you (and your clients) coming back for more. Another advantage of sublimation printing is the durability of the pattern, which will not break, peel, or fade even after several wash cycles.

Small quantity orders, seam-to-seam patterns, and garments with various design changes and applications are good candidates for sublimation printing.

This is critical when dealing with objects that will be utilized repeatedly throughout time. This form of printing will benefit everyday things like mousepads, kitchenware, and custom all-over print clothing. This is especially true of clothing and bedding, which may be washed frequently without changing their appearance.

The disadvantages

The cost of this form of sublimation printing is the most significant disadvantage. While dye-sublimation printers are designed for both home and professional use, they can cost as little as $300 for a modest home model and as much as $600 for a higher-end model.

Larger printers, which are used for mass production, can cost up to $10,000. Keep in mind that these prices are far lower than they were a few years ago, but keep in mind that this is only for the printer.

The disadvantages were primarily due to the materials used. Natural fibers like cotton and silk are unsuitable for sublimation printing; only clothing made entirely of polyester, or a polyester blend is suitable. Although cotton might be used, the picture will not be permanent, cotton fibers are much more absorbent, and the result would be unappealing. On the other hand, silk would be harmed in the procedure due to its lack of heat resistance.

Simply look for clothing with a smaller amount of polyester if you want a damaged or vintage look. We have an entire area of AOP clothes in our inventory, as well as a variety of home decor and drinkware goods for your convenience.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is white creasing. Sublimation printing is only available on white blank items, and any sections of the garment left exposed, or out of reach (such as the area around the seams, for example) will remain white. Accidental folding or microscopic droplets of moisture accumulating on the transfer paper might cause this. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s something to be aware of.

One of the main constraints, aside from the type of material utilized for sublimation printing, is the color of the blank products. Because sublimation printing is a dye technique, the most significant results are obtained when the textiles are white or light-colored (this is why the Prettify catalog only contains white blanks).

A heat press and printing paper are also required, which can significantly increase the cost. Heat presses can cost anywhere from $150 to $500, and sublimation paper for the printer might cost more than $100 depending on how much you require.

In comparison to the machinery utilized, printing paper must be acquired rarely. It should be mentioned that the cost of this equipment is well worth it in terms of print quality in the long run.

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