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A Guide to Sublimation Printing

If you’re looking to find out more about sublimation printing, this guide is designed to answer all your questions. We explain what sublimation printing is and outline exactly how it works.

What Exactly Is
Sublimation Printing?

What Exactly Is
Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a popular way of printing high-quality images on a range of fabrics and items. It delivers an image print that is as clear as the source file, with little to no resolution loss. Items that are printed in this way can sustain their quality for many years.

It is also referred to as dye sublimation printing.

The sublimation printing process results in a full-color, near-permanent image that will not peel, crack, or wash away. In a situation where a design is defined by its intricate details, this provides a highly effective, quick digital print method.

It is also referred to as ‘all over printing’, because it has the ability to print a design that literally goes from seam to seam.

What is sublimation?

The definition of sublimation is a chemical process where a solid is transformed into gas, without having to go through any liquidation phase.

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How Does
Sublimation Printing Work?

The process involves using a digital printer to replicate images onto sublimation transfer paper using sublimation ink. Once the design has been printed onto this special paper, it is then placed into a heat press with the materials.

Next, it is exposed to extreme temperatures, usually between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is at this point the transfer material and ink transform from their solid state into gas. Once they are in this state, they will then permeate the fibers of the material.

The heat will then be removed from the substrate and transfer paper, with the ink that has permeated the fibers being solidified and permanently locked into place.

The heat releases the gas from the sublimation ink and opens the pores of the materials that the image is being transferred into. Once both the heat and the pressure have been released, the ink reverts to its solid state and the pores of the fabric close, leaving the ink trapped inside.

In a nutshell, the heat is used to bring the fabric and the ink together as one.

Why does sublimation printing last longer than standard prints?

Sublimation printing delivers an effect that is permanent, and far less likely to fade when compared to other printing methods. With normal prints the ink is simply layered on top of the fabric, but with sublimation printing it is infused into the fabric.

What are the best uses for sublimation printing?

This method of printing is ideally suited for products in lighter colors or white, such as polyester apparel, or on harder surfaces that have a poly-coating, such as mouse pads, coasters, cups, and more.

What uses should be avoided for sublimation printing?

There are a number of designs that don’t work too well with sublimation printing. A typical example of such a design can be found with block colors. For designs that require slogans, direct-to-garment printing is a more suitable option. If you require only a single logo, then there could be a more cost-effective printing solution available.

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What are the
Benefits of Sublimation Printing?

What are the
Benefits of Sublimation Printing?

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Image Quality

Perhaps the most advantageous of all benefits is the quality of the image that can be achieved by this method. With no loss of resolution, it is one of the only methods that is as clear as the source file itself.

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This is a real strength of the process and one which makes it a great investment. Sublimation printing results in a print that won’t peel, fade, or crack.

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Freedom of Design

Another huge upside of sublimation printing is the freedom of choice you have with your design. It can be used for seam-to-seam designs, smaller batch orders, along with orders that have many different design variations.


From sublimation shirts to sublimation jerseys, our team is ready to help you with your custom sublimation designs! Our team of graphic designers is ready to turn your ideas into reality!

Overall, sublimation printing is a superb way to get high-quality images printed seam-to-seam on fabric in a way that delivers almost no loss in resolution. The end result is free of cracks, peeling, and fade. Sublimation delivers longevity and incredible freedom of design choice.

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The Inkwell
Printing Promise

Unmatched quality at an unbeatable price. That’s all there is to it.

At Inkwell Printing, we are proud to stand behind each custom sublimated printing order that we receive. We aren’t happy unless you are 100% satisfied with your order. We are always working to expand our printing technology capabilities and stand behind each product that we offer. We consider ourselves printing perfectionists and will make sure that we use or recommend the best printing method for your project’s best possible outcome. When you have something printed at Inkwell, you’re getting only the very best.

We’re Here
To Help.

No matter what you’re looking for, or at what stage you’re at, we’re here to help. Call (918) 508-3634 for immediate solutions!