What is sublimation, and how does it work?

What is sublimation and how does it work?

  • Sublimation transfers are for white or light colored garments & textiles that are at least 65% polyester count or higher. The sublimation ink, when heat pressed, the combination of heat and pressure turns the ink into a gas state, then it adheres to the polyester fibers and provides a long last and quality item with a longer life span and much more color vibrancy. We highly suggest using 100% polyester for the best results, however we also suggest using at least 65% polyester content. The lower the polyester count, the more vintage or distressed your image will appear. Some have had luck using it on a lower polyester content, with the aid of a product called PolyT. It is a specially formulated spray to use specifically on items with a low poly count and will give you more vibrancy and color. You can find their products at www.dyepress.com
  • Our sublimation transfers can also be used on other substrates made for sublimation. These can be coffee mugs, tumblers, key chains, wallets, license plates, tote bags, socks, and so much more! The possibilities are practically endless! Below is a list of some of my top favorite vendors for sublimation blanks. 

Shirt colors, which ones are best?

  • You can see on the graphic which shirt colors will look best with sublimation. Since sublimation does NOT print white, and does NOT use white ink toner, any white areas of the design, the shirt color will show through those. Also, the shirt color will affect the overall color of the pressed sublimation design. For example, if you were to press a design with yellow in it, onto a pink shirt, it would turn the yellow parts an orange-ish color. Just like sublimation will not work on black, if you color a black piece of paper with any color, it won’t show. Sublimation works the same way. 

How to apply your sublimation transfer

  • With each order, an instruction sheet will be included, but just in case you lost yours below is the instructions on how to apply to a shirt/textile. For all other substrates such as mugs, slates, etc please follow the manufacturer directions. Those are always found on the website from which you purchased them. Since all substrates will differ on time/temp/pressure, it is important to follow those instructions. 
    • Turn your heat press on to 400 degrees
    • Set your pressure to medium-firm
    • Press for 60 seconds
  • Please know that all heat presses are different and you will need to test it out to make sure you find your sweet spot. Some presses run hot or cold, it is up to you to find your perfect settings. 
  • I suggest using a piece of white uncoated butcher or parchment paper inside the shirt/garment to prevent the ink from seeping through to the back of the garment. Also make sure to put another piece of uncoated butcher or parchment paper over the top of the transfer (which you need to lay design side down onto the garment).
  • Do not use a teflon sheet, as the ink can stain it and it may transfer to another item when pressed. 
  • Use a lint roller over the garment/textile to remove any fuzzies that could stain your item when being pressed. 
  • A trick of the trade is to tear the transfer sheet as close to the design as you can to prevent the dreaded “press box line”. This happens sometimes and you will be able to clearly see the outline of the sheet. Sometimes it will go away once washed, but better safe than sorry. 
  • I also suggest using teflon heat tape made for sublimation, to hold your transfer in place so that it doesn’t ghost when you're done. Ghosting is caused when the transfer paper slides or shifts during or after pressing, causing a double image or blurred image.