Can You Sublimate on Cotton?

Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Fredrick Miller

Sublimation printing is a relatively recent technique that produces graphics on cloth that are very vivid and long-lasting. This method uses heated bonding to connect a particular dye to synthetic fibers. You may, however, learn can you sublimate on cotton cloth.

It has been found that using heat transfer vinyl between the dye and cotton is the most effective method of sublimating cotton.

In addition, using specific sublimation fabric sheets to sublimate on cotton is a suitable workaround for sublimating cotton. Printers also utilize synthetic spray coatings on cotton to aid in bonding the natural fibers with the sublimation colors used in the printing process.

Is it possible to sublimate on 100 percent cotton?

You cannot sublimate on 100 percent cotton by itself. Still, you may get around this limitation by treating the cotton with specific procedures that enable the sublimation process to function correctly.

The use of multiple different types of heat-transfer vinyl or applying a specific coating to the surface of the cotton before utilizing a heat press to begin the sublimation process are examples of workarounds.

So, what is it about cotton that prevents sublimation from working? Heated sublimation dye transforms into a gas, which occurs during sublimation printing. At the same time, heat causes the synthetic fibers in polyester to open up, enabling the gas to pass through and into the material.

When the synthetic fabric cools, the dye solidifies, and the polyester strands close, resulting in a chemical link between the dye and the cloth at the molecular level, which is permanent. This method, known as chemical sublimation, is only achievable when sublimation dyes are used in conjunction with synthetic materials.

When you first try it out on pure cotton, the pattern will seem to be fantastic. Cotton has a high natural absorbency, which means the color will soak in and look lovely after a while. However, since the chemical bonding process did not occur, the sublimation ink will wash out of cotton when it comes into contact with water.

Can you sublimate on cotton

Printers and home artists were forced for a long time to forego cotton T-shirts and hoodies due to these restrictions. However, recent advancements in printing technology have resulted in several straightforward ways for effectively sublimating cotton t-shirts.

Fortunately, cotton fabric is frequently considerably softer and more breathable than synthetic fabrics such as polyester, which is excellent news. As a result, many t-shirt printers and small company owners choose to print on cotton tees rather than polyester.

Also Check: Can You Sublimate on Rayon? (8 Steps 2023)

Instructions on how to sublimate on 100 percent COTTON

Step 1:

Cut the pieces of cloth that you will be working with. A cotton is a good option for shirts since it is available in a wide range of colors and designs to make your sublimated shirt stand out from the crowd!

Step 2.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (338 degrees Fahrenheit). Use a heat press machine simultaneously as your printer to save time on both projects!

Step 3:

To bake your fabric, carefully put it down on the smooth side of a baking pan and bake it for 10 minutes. This will aid in setting the dye and preventing your pattern from fading over time. Set your heat press machine to medium-high heat if you’re working with cotton fabric to avoid burning the cloth during the pressing process.

Step 4:

As soon as you have taken the fabric out of the oven, place it on a flat surface with the printed side facing downwards. Scrutinize your design for any wrinkles that may manifest later in the completed product!

Step 5:

Apply equal pressure to both the first and second sheets of cloth while placing them on top of each other. To avoid damaging your fabric while using a heat press machine, be sure to utilize your machine’s cotton setting.

Step 6:

Keep the cloth under pressure for about 15-20 seconds before releasing it. Allowing the fabric to cool fully before removing the printed layer is highly recommended.

Step 7:

Steps 3-6 should be repeated for each of the parts that will be sublimated.

Step 8:

Using cold water, carefully rinse away any residual color from your cloth before placing it in the washing machine on a moderate cycle with a bit of detergent to finish the process. You may also use a drier to completely dry your completed product to ensure no moisture is left.

FAQs Section:

Is it possible to sublimate on cotton?

You can sublimate on cotton since it is a sturdy, soft, and vivid fabric suitable for various projects. See for yourself how fantastic your designs may be by browsing through our collection of cotton textiles now.

Isn’t sublimation on cotton a fantastic choice?

Several factors make cotton a superior option for sublimation. Here are a few of them. First and foremost, natural fibers do not absorb ink as readily as other fabrics. This implies that your graphics will retain their sharpness and vibrancy for longer.

In addition, cotton is an adorable fabric to wear, making it an excellent option for T-shirts and other apparel items. Finally, cotton is available in various colors and patterns, making it a perfect opportunity for almost any project.

Can Sublimation on Cotton outperform sublimation on other materials?

Natural fibers, unlike other materials, do not absorb ink to the same extent as synthetic fibers. Make your designs last longer by keeping them looking bright and colorful.

Cotton is also quite pleasant to wear, making it an excellent material for T-shirts and other apparel items like sweatshirts. Cotton is available in various colors and patterns, making it a perfect option for almost any project.


Sublimation printing is a technology that may provide you with outstanding results for an extended period. I would suggest using an Epson ET 2720 super tank printer to sublimate on cotton for the best results.

The most appealing aspect of sublimated printing on cotton clothing is that there have never been so many alternatives! So get all of your favorite shorts out of the closet and start showing them off in style no one will be able to resist such enticing patterns for long.

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