You may have heard that sublimation is a choice for printing your custom apparel. But why should you care about sublimation? Is it worthwhile? Does it produce good quality? Keep reading for a few minutes and you’ll have the answers.
Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas phase, without passing through the intermediate liquid phase. A good example of sublimation is dry ice. Dry ice is solid, frozen carbon dioxide which turns directly into a gas at -109.3°F.
So how is sublimation put to use in printing? The first thing you need is a digital printer to produce images on a special paper. The paper is known as sublimation transfer paper. Using sublimation ink, the digital printer renders the desired image on the sublimation transfer paper. Now we’re halfway there. Next, we need to place the image on the sublimation transfer paper onto the apparel.
The transfer is accomplished using a heat press. The transfer paper is placed upon the apparel, and both are put into the heat press. Using temperatures of from 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat press causes the sublimation ink to change state from a solid to a gas. The gaseous ink bonds with the material becoming embedded within it. When the heat is removed, the sublimation ink reverts from gas to solid state and is now part of the material.
Advantages of Sublimation Printing
Sublimation printing has become widely popular and not without reason. Some of the significant benefits are listed below.
- Sublimation Is Durable – as described above, the sublimation ink is converted to a gas and bonds with the material. Unlike other processes where the ink is placed on top of the garment, the ink becomes part of the garment. Therefore, the image won’t fade, crack, or lose color. You can wash and wash the garment and the image remains.
- Images Are Bright and Colorful – the sublimation digital printers used to produce images have a wide variety of colors available. Striking, colorful images can be created. Additionally, images can be printed the full width of the garment. Not only can an image be printed on the front of the apparel, but sleeves, shoulders, and the waist can be adorned. The hoodies below, for example, are far more appealing than a hoodie with a single logo with wording on the front.
- Designs Are Only Limited by Imagination – Seam-to-seam and all-over printing is possible with sublimation. To get an idea of just how good sublimation is, it’s better to show you than talk about it. Here some examples that demonstrate the versatility of sublimation printing.
You can see a great collection of high quality hoodies and jerseys made with the sublimation process in the Lowsport store found here.
- Alice Payne. (9 May 2019). What is Sublimation Printing? – The Ultimate Guide (2020). https://bit.ly/3ujSQwg
- Prodigi. (21 January 2020). Understanding how sublimation printing works. https://www.prodigi.com/blog/understanding-how-sublimation-printing-works/