What Is Sublimation Printing and How Does It Work

Sublimation printing is one of the most popular printing techniques in the market today. It is an advanced digital printing method that produces high-quality and long-lasting print outputs. This technique is applicable to various materials such as textiles, metal, plastic, and ceramics.

Sublimation printing is widely used in the fashion industry, advertising, and even in home décor. In this blog post, we are going to explore what sublimation printing is, how it works, and why it’s an excellent printing technique to consider for your business needs.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a printing technique that involves the use of heat, pressure, and sublimation inks to transfer a design onto a material. Unlike traditional printing methods that leave a layer of ink on top of the material, sublimation printing transfers the ink onto the material’s fibers. This process ensures that the print lasts longer, and does not fade, peel off, or crack. Sublimation printing enables you to print full-color designs without the need for separate color layers.

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

The sublimation printing process entails printing a design in reverse onto transfer paper using special sublimation inks. The paper is then placed on the material and subjected to high heat and pressure using a heat press machine. The heat activates the sublimation inks, transforming them from a solid to a gaseous state. The gaseous ink molecules penetrate the material and are absorbed into the fibers, resulting in a high-quality and permanent print.

What Is Sublimation Printing

Benefits of Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing has several benefits that make it a preferred printing method for many businesses. For one, it produces high-quality and long-lasting prints that won’t crack, fade, or peel off, making it ideal for items that undergo regular wear and tear.

Secondly, sublimation printing is versatile, allowing you to print on various materials, including polyester, ceramics, and metal. Additionally, sublimation printing enables you to print full-color images without the need for separate color layers, making it a cost-effective printing method.

Products that Can Be Printed Using Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing is applicable to a wide range of products, including t-shirts, mugs, mousepads, phone cases, and many others. It’s ideal for printing on items that require a full-color and durable print. Additionally, sublimation printing works best on white or light-colored fabrics and materials.

How Can You Get Started with Sublimation Printing?

To get started with sublimation printing, you need to have a few essential items, including a sublimation printer, sublimation inks, transfer paper, and a heat press machine. You can purchase these items as a kit or individually.

Once you have everything you need, you can start by ensuring that your printer and transfer paper are compatible. Next, print your desired design onto the transfer paper, and then position it onto the material. Finally, subject the material to high pressure and heat using the heat press machine.

What Is Sublimation Printing

The Pros and Cons of Sublimation Printing

Here are some pros and cons of sublimation printing.

The Pros

  • Discover the ultimate design playground with sublimation printing. Unlike other printing methods or embroidery, the sky’s the limit for your creativity. Dream up wild patterns like hotdog-covered shirts or cheesy socks the possibilities are endless. But if you prefer something more subdued, you can still keep it classy with subtle prints of nature or your favorite desserts. 
  • Your customers will keep coming back for more because the sublimation print is incredibly durable no cracking, peeling, or fading even after countless washes. Perfect for small batch orders, bold patterns, and garments with multiple design variations.

The Cons

  • One thing to keep in mind with sublimation printing is that it works best with polyester or polyester blends – natural fibers like cotton or silk won’t do the trick. The image won’t be permanent on cotton, and silk is just not heat resistant at all it’ll get damaged in the process. But don’t worry, if you’re looking for a vintage or distressed look, there are plenty of apparel items with lower polyester percentages. 
  • Some areas of your garment may remain white after sublimation printing. White creases can occur accidentally or due to minuscule droplets of moisture on the transfer paper. Don’t worry, it’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s important to be aware of when customizing white blank products. 


Sublimation printing is a highly recommended printing technique for businesses looking to produce high-quality and long-lasting prints. By printing onto the fibers of the material, sublimation printing produces prints that do not crack, peel off, or fade. It’s a versatile printing method that allows you to print on various materials and products.

To get started with sublimation printing, you need essential items such as a sublimation printer and transfer paper, among others. With the right equipment and knowledge, you can take advantage of sublimation printing and improve your business’s branding and product quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is There White Ink in Sublimation Printing?

Unfortunately, sublimation printing cannot produce white color as it follows a CMYK color scheme. This means that regardless of any base color ink, white would not appear. Although you can print onto lighter or white materials, this technique won’t work for designs that use white color. Consider it a drawback of sublimation printing.

What Are the Best-Selling AOP Products?

If you’re looking for amazing products to add to your eCommerce store, don’t miss out on all-over-print t-shirts and sweatshirts! But wait, there are other hot-selling items you wouldn’t want to ignore, like the popular sublimation socks. Make the most out of your sublimation sock sales by going through our pro tips that will help you get ahead of the game.

What Products can be sublimated?

Discover a wide array of all-over-print goodies. From leggings, t-shirts, hoodies, and jackets, to custom swimsuits, socks, underwear, bags, and an endless selection of home decor items ranging from mugs to cushion covers. 

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