In recent years, sublimation printing has grown in popularity. Especially small and mid-sized businesses that are into product customization, preferring it. And why not?
When compared to old printing methods, sublimation printing is easy, rapid, and economical.
It is a fast learning process. Therefore, newbies can quickly learn it and customize their products. Apart from this, this printing method offers crisp and durable prints.
Read this post if you’re new to the printing or customizing industry and thinking about employing sublimation printing. It will guide you about sublimation printing and its applications in detail.
Sublimation Printing Brief
Sublimation printing prints on a substrate using a unique paper. The printing works fine on clothing made of 100% polyester or which has a high percentage of polyester. It is also suitable for products coated with a polymer.
In this printing process, a design is printed on sublimation paper first. Thereafter, it is transferred onto a cloth or object using heat.
Let us learn about the sublimation printing process in detail for more clarity.
Step-by-step Process for Sublimation Printing
The following are a few necessities for sublimation printing.
- Sublimation ink
- Sublimation transfer paper
- Sublimation printer
- Heat press machine/Rotary heater
Preparing a Design
First, a designer prepares a graphic/design on a computer system with the help of graphic software, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe, CorelDraw, etc.
Design Printing on Sublimation Paper
After the design is prepared on a computer, the sublimation printer is used to print it on transfer paper. An operator puts the ream of paper into the printer and gives the print command. The sublimation printer features RIP software that converts the design file into a format comfortable for printing. The printer prints the design onto the transfer paper using sublimation ink.
Design Transfer/Sublimation Process
This process involves transferring the design from transfer paper to cloth made of polyester fabric. The ream of the transfer paper is aligned with the fabric. Thereafter, they go through the heating process with the help of a rotary heater or heat press.
While printing mugs or similar products, sublimation paper is attached to the product and then heated.
The temperature for curing depends on the heating capacity of the fabric. Generally, the heat press machine is set at 204-degree for printing a t-shirt.
The heating time also varies depending on the object being printed. For example, a polyester t-shirt can be heated for about 30 to 60 seconds at a temperature of 204 degrees Celsius. However, items like tiles and mugs can take up to 12 minutes.
The heating process helps the design transfer from paper to the fabric. The fabric’s pores get opened while heating. Therefore, it quickly absorbs the sublimation ink.
Cutting and Sewing
In this process, sublimation paper is removed from the fabric. After that, the printed fabric is cut from the cloth based on the requirements.
Professionals use an advanced visual laser cutter for precise cutting automatically. Next, the printed cloth is sewn to create a complete t-shirt, jersey, etc.
People who want to prepare a sample can use sublimation paper straight onto the t-shirt to ensure a quick process.
Applications of Sublimation Printing
Sublimation printing can customize a wide range of products. Some popular applications of this printing method are as per below:
Sublimation printing is ideal for polyester clothes. As a result, you can use it to customize polyester t-shirts, skirts, ties, jerseys, etc. Sublimation printing can also be used to make a logo on the jersey of a sports team.
Besides regular clothes, the printing can be done on polyester aprons, cushion covers, pillow covers, mouse mats, and more.
If you are into advertising or signage-making business, sublimation printing can help you boost your business. You can easily customize banners and signage boards for brands and trade shows.
If you run a gift or souvenir shop and want to customize products, sublimation printing can be worth using.
You can give a different look to picture frames, coffee mugs, rock stones, key chains, metal plates, fiberboard coasters, hats, flags, etc.
Applications of sublimation printing are not limited to what we mentioned above. This advanced printing technique helps you print designs/images onto a wide range of polyester fabrics and objects.