Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Fredrick Miller
Most people want to know how to sublimate a shirt, but they don’t understand how a sublimation printer works on T-shirts and clothes. Furthermore, no proper way or track is available to them which they can perform shirts Sublimation without any issue.
So, down in this post, we provided complete information on how a sublimation printer works on shirts and how to use it precisely for this purpose.
Don’t stop reading and read a complete guide with the video tutorial.
Table of Contents
What is sublimation?
Sublimation is a printing process where you take a design or image and embed it into the fabric of a shirt using heat and pressure. The result is a design that looks like part of the shirt itself, rather than just being printed on top of the fabric.
Sublimation printing is most commonly used on polyester fabrics, as the heat and pressure help bond the design to the fabric. However, you can also use sublimation on other fabrics, such as cotton and nylon.
How does Sublimation work on Shirts?
Before going through the exact procedure, you must know how a sublimation printer works on shirts and clothes. First, a dye is applied on the cloth with proper ink and other requirements. Later this dye which is in liquid form now turns into a gas, and when it is absorbed in the surface of fabrics, it then turns into solid-state, also called a print.
Now question that arises in people’s minds is which type of cloth is suitable for Sublimation. Its answer is cotton cloth or one which has a high amount of polyester. The reason is that this material is good enough to catch ink and dyes easily. Moreover, sublimation ink retains for a long time on these types of clothes.
Different types of fabric that can be sublimated
There are a few different types of fabric that can be used for sublimation, including:
Polyester is the most common type of fabric used for sublimation. This is because it’s easier to bond the design on fabric using heat and pressure.
Cotton can also be used for sublimation, but it’s not as common as polyester. This is because cotton is a more absorbent fabric, so the design may not be as vibrant or bold as it would be on polyester.
Nylon is another type of fabric that can be used for sublimation. However, like cotton, it’s not as common as polyester. Nylon is also a more absorbent fabric, so the design may not be as vibrant or bold.
How to choose the Right type of Fabric:
When choosing the right type of fabric for your project, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The type of fabric you choose will affect the quality of the final design. Polyester is the best type of fabric for sublimation, as it produces the highest quality designs.
- Fabric’s absorbency will also affect the quality of the design. Cotton and nylon are more absorbent fabrics, so the design may not be as vibrant or bold.
- Type of fabric you choose will also affect the price. Polyester is typically more expensive than cotton or nylon.
Required Equipment for Shirts Sublimation
Here is the necessary equipment’s which are required for Sublimation on shirts. Make sure to have these apparatus before starting overall procedure. It is recommended to use whether you are a professional or a beginner.
- Sublimation printer which must be of high quality
- Sublimation ink
- Sublimation paper to design specific print you want to make on the shirt
- A prepared shirt or a cloth, if you already own a shirt that is your favorite and wants to print a specific design, you can use it. In another case, you can buy cloth of cotton or polyester material, design a print, and give it to the tailor for stitching
- Butcher paper
- Lint roller
- Heat press
- A heat resistant substance or something which you can use as a heat resistive
Also Read: Best Sublimation Printers for T-shirts
How to Sublimate a Shirt- A Step by Step Guide
Here is the complete procedure on how to do Sublimation on a shirt. Follow these steps gradually and enjoy a nice shirt of your favorite design:
Step 1: Select A Design and Make it on Paper
Selecting a design is the first necessary step in Sublimation of shirt. Think about the design which you want to have on your shirt. It may be an object, a picture of an animal, a text, or your photo. After selecting the image, make a clean design on printing paper. If you are not expert enough to design on paper, we recommend hiring a professional.
Also, make sure that size of design must be ideal. Most of the time, professionals recommend selecting a design for eight × 10.
Step 2: Use a sublimation Printer to Mirror Your Design
The next step is to use a sublimation printer and print exact design you have selected in first step. Make sure to use sublimation inks that match the design, or you can also use those inks that best fit with a shirt or a cloth that you will use to stitch a shirt later.
Step 3: Line up Your Design on a Shirt or Cloth
The next step is lining up your printing design with a shirt or piece of cloth. You can use Tee Square It for lining up precisely with proper measurements and without uncertainty issues. After lining up the design, use a transfer paper on the part of shirt where design is lined exactly.
Step 4: Use Heat Press Machine
The next step is using a heat press machine to press design on shirt and cloth. Pressing time and required temperature must be according to guidelines of product sellers. However, recommended temperature is 380 to 390 degrees.
Step 5: Remove Transfer Paper
The next step is removing transfer paper from shirt and cloth. Turn off heat machine and allow design to dry. You can use a dryer, and if you can’t have access, then spread shirt in sunlight for some minutes.
Note: don’t use shirt immediately after removing it from heat press machine. Keep it in a secure place for some time, i.e., 1-2 days.
Also, watch this complete video for more information and a practical guide:
Tips for getting the best results when sublimating your shirts
Use a high-quality sublimation printer:
The quality of your sublimation printer will directly affect the quality of your designs. If you want to create high-quality designs, we recommend using a high-quality sublimation printer.
Use high-quality Sublimation Paper:
Like with the printer, the quality of the sublimation paper you use will directly affect the quality of your designs. If you want to create high-quality designs, we recommend using high-quality sublimation paper.
Use a Pre-Treatment Solution:
Pre-treating the fabric before you print on it will help to ensure that the design bonds to the fabric properly. We recommend using a pre-treatment solution specifically designed for use with sublimation.
Use a Heat Press Machine:
A heat press Machine will help ensure that the design is transferred onto the fabric properly. If you don’t have a heat press, you can try using an iron, but the results may not be as good. Following these tips, you’ll be able to create high-quality designs that will last. Thanks for reading!
How long does it take to sublimate a shirt?
The entire process of sublimating a shirt, from start to finish, should take about 15 minutes. This includes the time it takes to pre-treat the fabric, print the design, and transfer it onto the fabric.
How much does it cost to sublimate a shirt?
The cost of sublimating a shirt will vary depending on a few factors, such as the type of fabric you use and the size of the design.u003cbru003eYou can expect to spend about $5-$10 per shirt.
Can you sublimate on 100% cotton?
Yes, you can sublimate on 100% cotton. However, consider that cotton is a more absorbent fabric, so the design may not be as vibrant or bold.
Can you sublimate on polyester?
Yes, you can sublimate on polyester. Polyester is the best type of fabric for sublimation, as it produces the highest quality designs.
What is the best type of fabric for sublimation?
The best type of fabric for sublimation is polyester. Polyester is a more expensive fabric, but it produces the highest quality designs.
What is sublimation paper used for?
Sublimation paper is specially coated to allow the ink to transfer onto the fabric, and it is an essential part of the sublimation process.
Can you sublimate on any T-shirt?
Yes, you can use any T-shirt, but make sure that it is polyester. It should be 100% polyester material or must have the highest proportion of it.
Above is a complete procedure on how to do Sublimation on the shirt. Still, if you have any confusion, please ask us anytime; we love to solve your queries.
Moreover, here are some printers which we suggest buying due to their durable and efficient qualities. All these sublimation printers are suitable for performing Sublimation on shirts or cotton cloths.
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.