How to do Sublimation on Dark Shirts? Easy 5 Steps 2023

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Fredrick Miller

How to do sublimation on dark shirts? Isn’t it a million-dollar question? We think it is, and the concern regarding this issue is understandable, especially for the people who love dark colours and want sublimation on their shirts.

As they say that sublimation can only be done on white/light fabric and it cant be done on dark colors. But the emerging technology has made it possible to sublimate on dark colours, and we will tell you “how?”

Isn’t it good news for those who love dark colours? If you also find yourself among those who like to do sublimation on dark-coloured shirts, then stay tuned to know about it.

We will explain in detail how to do sublimation on dark shirts.

Also Check: How to Sublimate a Shirt – Ultimate Guide 

How to do sublimation on Dark Shirts?

Sublimation on dark shirts is possible but with only specific products. The ink should be white only, and the fabric should be 100% cotton or polyester. Also, the material shouldn’t be dyed so that it can absorb the light without bouncing back the colours.

How to do sublimation on Dark Shirts

To do sublimation printing on dark shirts, there are a few steps that everyone needs to follow to get the desired results.  

Step 1

Load the dye sublimation ink in an inkjet printer to start sublimation on a dark shirt. Also prepare the design you like to print and ensure that the fabric you use to sublimate should be polymer-coated or contains at least 50% polymer. If you wish to do your sublimation work, you should use a silhouette cameo or a programmable printer machine.

Step 2

The next step is to put a piece of white paper from your printer under black dye-sub polyurethane transfer paper. It will make it look like you are printing on the coloured shirt. For the perfect print, use different transfer papers for dark shirts, such as glitter HTV.

Step 3

Now lay the dye-sub dark polyurethane transfer paper onto the t-shirt but make sure it’s face down. Proper positioning of paper and shirt is critical to get the print right.

Step 4

After step 3, it’s time to set the temperature. The proper temperature to transfer the design on a dark t-shirt is 392 Fahrenheit. Press the heat press with heavy pressure for about 10 seconds to 4 minutes, and the heat press time depends on the material you are transferring the design.

Step 5

After the heat-press, check if the design is adequately transferred or not. If you are okay with the design, then let it cool.

Here you have got your favorite design on a dark-colored shirt.

Things you should consider for Dye Sublimation on Dark Shirt

Here are a few things that you should consider before starting the sublimation onto a dark shirt.

Printer Selection

The choice of printer is the most important thing to consider before sublimating your shirt. Because type of printer will have direct effect on the type of transfer paper. Most inkjet printers are used for heat transfer printing, and the reason is that these are inexpensive and compatible with all kinds of papers.

Method of Transfer

If you are printing dark shirts for yourself or family and friends, then normal iron will be enough for the heat press, but if you are thinking of making this a business, you should consider buying the commercial heat press. There are many heat press options available in the market. You can pick the one as per your requirements.

Material Color

The selection of a transfer paper is also a very crucial step. Make sure you read the product description and choose the best paper for the fabric as colour choice is significant. Make sure you read the labels to whether they are compatible with dark colours. For dark colour fabrics, always choose the transfer papers that are labelled as “opaque.”

Sheet Size

Size of the transfer paper is also an important thing to consider because it’s tough to cut the transfer paper. Hence, it’s always good to select the correct size beforehand. As the papers come in different sizes, therefore, read the description about the paper size carefully and select the one that goes with your project.

Number of Sheets

Get an estimate of the number of sheets required for the project. Transfer paper sheets come in different numbers like 10, 20 and more. But save money by purchasing the right amount of sheets that are required with some extra sheets (In case there is any need). However, we recommend buying in bulk for the business because it will be cost-effective.

Products That Work With Dark Color Sublimation

As the demand for dark colour sublimation is increasing, the printing and transfer paper companies have come up with products that work with dark-coloured fabrics.

Here, we have complied a few products that go well with dark-coloured shirts.

Siser Glitter HTV

Undoubtedly it’s the most popular product for dye-sublimation printing on dark shirts or any other fabric. Siser Glitter HTV is not only easy to use but also very durable as it is a common perception that sublimation in dark colours is impossible, but this product is the best to do the deed.

You may notice cracks in the sublimated print after 20-25 washes, but the design will remain sharp and bright overall.

B-Flex Glitter HTV

It’s another product that is compatible with dark shirts. Although it works well, the prints are dull. You will not get bright colours like Siser Glitter HTV. However, it is best for those who like a more conclusive glitter style as it has 320 microns. B-Flex Glitter HTV is available in 10 different colours.

Subli Flock

Although Subli Flock is not as famous as Siser Glitter HTV, it works well in dark colours. The prints of this product are very bright and lively.

However, this product isn’t that durable, and the print can fade away quickly. You will see cracks on the print even after ten washes which is disappointing.

Subli Flex

If you are seeking a product that produces shiny and bright prints, then Subli Flex is the one to go for. You will get fantastic colours with this product, but the only problem is that it’s not long-lasting and you can see visible cracks even after five washes. The best option is to hand wash the material to prevent cracking.

Therefore, it’s not suitable for those looking for a long-lasting product.

Printworks Dark T-shirt Transfers

This product from printworks is the best for dark-coloured shirt sublimation. Printworks dark t-shirt transfers work on dark colours and are also fade resistant. The print remains intact after long cycles of washing.

Printworks is a perfect product for beginners as it’s effortless to use and will take a short time to finish (about 10 minutes).


What is the right temperature for sublimation printing on dark shirts?

The perfect temperature for dark shirt sublimation is 392 Fahrenheit.

What is the recommended time for heat press for dark shirt sublimation?

A heavy pressure should be put for about 10 seconds to 4 minutes, depending on the material used.


Overall, dye sublimation printing for dark shirts is almost impossible, but with the right products and techniques, you can surely sublimate the dark-coloured shirts.

Although there are many professionals who provide sublimation t-shirt printing services but you can do it at home as well as it’s very simple and can easily be done at home with the right products, in case of confusion, consult our article and follow the steps mentioned above.

Leave a Comment