Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Fredrick Miller
Sublimation is a printing process where heat and pressure are used to transfer a color image onto apparel.
The method is most often used in the decoration industry and usually with polyester fabrics.
Linen is a great fabric for sublimation printing. In contrast to polyester and poly-cotton, linen is a natural fiber that doesn’t shrink.
It’s soft, breathable and durable, which makes it perfect for garments! Make sure to pre-wash the fabric; then, you’re ready to go.
We are about to get started with a step by step guide for you to use Sublimation printing on linen.
But first off all let’s explain what Sublimation means, why you need to do it in the first place and answer the question Can you Sublimate On Linen?
Table of Contents
What is Sublimation Transfer?
Sublimation transfer is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method for printing your photographs onto fabric.
Sublimation transfer uses heat to permanently bond the ink to the fabric’s surface.
This process creates a durable image that will last wash after wash without fading or cracking.
Sublimation transfer is also great for printing on fabrics that wouldn’t work well with other types of printing methods such as screen printing or embroidery.
Because it doesn’t require any under base garments or additional materials besides the printed piece itself.
Can You Sublimate On Linen?
Yes, you can sublimate on linen such as sublimating vinyl. The sublimation process requires heat to transfer the ink from one surface to another.
In order for sublimation to work, linen needs to be sturdy and able to withstand the heat required.
It is important to take a few things into consideration when sublimating linen:
- Make sure your design has enough detail for the fabric. If it doesn’t have enough detail, the image will be blurry when it’s finished.
- Use high-quality linen fabric that’s thick enough for your design and won’t rip or tear easily. Cheap linen will not hold up well through the sublimation process and may not come out looking good at all.
- Don’t use low-quality ink or ink cartridges because they can cause problems during the printing process.
Can You Sublimate on 100% Linen?
Since linen is a natural fiber and does not absorb sublimation ink as well as synthetic textiles like polyester, it is possible to sublimate on 100% linen cloth, but doing so necessitates an unique procedure.
“Dye sublimation on natural textiles” or “dye sublimation on cotton” are the terms used to describe the procedure.
It entails applying a specific coating to the linen fabric to enable the ink to adhere to the fibers, but the durability and color vibrancy may not be as excellent as with sublimation on synthetic textiles.
Additionally, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not all 100% linen fabrics are created equal and that the outcomes can change based on the type of linen utilized.
Can You Sublimate on Linen Fabric?
Linen fabric can be sublimated, but it requires a special process. Linen fabric is a natural fiber and it’s not as receptive as synthetic fabrics like polyester to sublimation ink.
To sublimate on linen, it must be treated with a special coating that allows the ink to bond with the fibers.
The process is known as “dye sublimation on natural fabrics” or “dye sublimation on cotton.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the results may not be as vibrant or consistent as sublimation on synthetic fabrics and the durability may not be as good.
Can You Sublimate on Silk?
Although it takes a unique procedure called “dye sublimation on natural textiles” or “dye sublimation on silk,” silk can be sublimated.
Natural fibers like silk are less susceptible to sublimation ink than synthetic textiles like polyester.
Silk needs to be given a particular coating so that the ink can adhere to the fibers in order to sublimate on it.
It’s crucial to remember that the effects could not be as vivid or consistent, nor might the durability be as good, as with sublimation on synthetic textiles.
Additionally, not all varieties of silk are created alike, and the outcomes may differ according on the silk’s quality and the dye-sublimation technique employed.
Material Required for Sublimation on Linen
Ensure that you have all the following materials ready before starting the sublimation process:
- Sublimation Inks
- Transfer Paper
- Heat Press
- Clothes Iron
- Linen Fabric
- Squeegee (optional)
- Paper Cutter
- Inkjet Printer
Also Read: How to Use a Sublimation Printer?
How to Sublimate On Linen?
Sublimating on linen is one of the most popular ways to sublimate using the heat transfer method.
Get your linen ready. Wash it, dry it and iron it if needed to get it nice and smooth.
The next step is to create the design with software such as GIMP or Photoshop if that’s what you prefer.
For best results, make sure your design is high-resolution and at least 300 dpi.
Turn off the background layer in GIMP or Photoshop before you open up the file with your design on it.
This will allow you to print the white areas of your design onto the linen without any background showing through!
Print the image onto a transparency sheet (or whatever type of paper works best for your printer).
If you don’t have access to a transparency sheet, use masking tape instead just make sure it’s thin enough so that it doesn’t overlap with any part of your design during sublimation!
Once your design is on the transparency sheet, sandwich it between two pieces of linen and iron them together with a medium-high heat setting until they’re completely stuck together.
Cut out the design using an Exacto knife or other sharp blade so that it fits inside your shirt perfectly!
What materials can you not sublimate on?
You can’t sublimate on any material that is heat sensitive. We don’t recommend using sublimation on silk, wool or leather.
If you’re using an inkjet printer, you also cannot print on plastic, paper or aluminum, since these materials will melt in the high heat of the sublimation process. If you have a laser printer, however, many types of plastic sheets are compatible with the process.
What fabric can you sublimate on?
In order to achieve the best results, 100% cotton or polyester fleece is the best type of fabric to use for sublimation.
These fabrics are durable and easy to wash. However, any fabric can be used for sublimation as long as it has sufficient thickness and doesn’t melt during the process.
Can you only sublimate on white?
No, you can sublimate on any color fabric. The printer will simply adjust the settings to match the color of your garment.
If you have a black shirt, for example, you can still sublimate it without changing anything else about your design.
Can I sublimate on glass?
Yes, you can sublimate on glass. The only issue is that it’s extremely fragile and prone to breaking if dropped, so make sure you handle it carefully.
Can sublimation go on any fabric?
No, Sublimation ink can only go on certain types of fabrics, mainly synthetic fabrics like polyester or fabrics that have been specially coated for sublimation, like some natural fabrics.
Can you put sublimation on 100% cotton?
100% cotton can be printed using sublimation ink, however doing so calls for a unique procedure. Cotton is a natural textile that does not absorb sublimation ink as well as synthetic fabrics like polyester.
You can sublimate on linen. It just comes down to what kind of ink and press you are using. Sublimation inks are made for heat transfer .
Linen is a great way of printing shirts and other textiles. Overall linen is a strong fabric and can be used for more rugged jobs and daily wear.
Fredrik Miller is the Founder of PrinterLake.com, a platform dedicated to providing information on sublimation printing. With a Master’s degree in Information Technology from Reputed University, Fredrik brings a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise to the site.
He leads a team of writers who are experts in the field and strive to deliver the best and most comprehensive information on sublimation printers, inks, and paper.