One of the latest decorating techniques to be added to our multitude of decoration processes is the ability to do a Dye Sublimation print. Dye Sublimation is a process for decorating polyester fabrics and materials. Is is accomplished by printing a special ink onto transfer paper, applying that paper to a substrate and then applying heat and pressure to the material. The result is a soft-hand print and excellent color reproduction.
Art is printed with special sublimation ink on treated paper. Then the paper is placed onto the garment in the requested location. Using a heat press, the heat and pressure cause the ink to change into a gas which then absorb into the fibers of the garment. After that the paper is removed and the garment is complete.
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Sublimation is a white polyester process. The vaporized ink (gas) cannot apply nicely to other fabric materials. Blended garments are possible but the imprint will appear much more faded on the cotton parts of the blend compared to the polyester parts.
Since sublimation cannot be used with underbases a white garment is HIGHLY recommended. Think of it as a blank canvas for painting. If we apply sublimation to colored garments, what should be white becomes the color of the garment, and the entire imprint takes on the hue of the garment color.
This technique works best on white or light colored polyester fabric with a minimum polyester content of 50%. Other exciting products that can be created using Dye Sublimation are Patches, Mouse Pads, Banners, and Flags, which will be sure to WOW your customers!
As you can see from the samples, the colors can be made very vibrant or more subdued, based on the look you are trying to achieve. As you are selling this exciting technique to your customers, it is important to let them know that with garment decoration there will be imperfections in the print, created by the wrinkles in the garments, making each piece a unique piece of art.
Colored garments can be sublimated however, there are a few things to consider: There is no way to apply white sublimated ink to a colored garment, Anything white in the imprint will become garment color, when a colored imprint is applied to a colored garment the ink colors are altered by the garments base color.
Q: What are press marks?
A: Due to the amount of heat and pressure necessary for the process, a outline from the paper can sometime be seen around the artwork.
Q: Does the sublimation come out in a wash?
A: Sublimation effectively perma-dyes the fabric of the garment. Nothing, not even bleach, can remove the imprint from the garment.
Q: What shirts are recommended?
A: Any 100% Polyester White material, we can go as low as 50% poly but the imprint will appear faded.
Q: Do you do all over prints?
A: We used to, but that has since been removed due to the market trending towards cut and sew sublimation.
The above information & capabilities are based on our in house production & 3rd party production services.