Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Fredrick Miller
Regarding sublimation, one issue that both new and experienced sublimation have is what material can you sublimate on. Most of the time, polyester is the most obvious choice. Many people, however, are astonished to realize that there is an extensive range of sublimation material available that is capable of accepting sublimation ink with relative ease.
Let’s look at some of the most popular (and some lesser-known) materials you may use for sublimation printing and how they differ.
Table of Contents
What Types of Materials Can You Sublimate?
Once you have obtained high-quality equipment and have learned how to use these devices, merely practicing will not assist. Focus on the material you are using while sublimating your art pieces or orders if you want your art pieces or orders to look better. The quality of the items that you sublimate may significantly impact the longevity and finish of your print. Read on to learn more.
It is more likely that you will have better outcomes if your sublimation material is acceptable for sublimation. You’ll find a list of items that you can sublimate, but this doesn’t imply that you can sublimate anything. If your material is smooth and provides a high-quality finish, your prints will be more durable and have a higher quality level. Here is a list of sublimation materials that you really must experiment with.
Fabric is the most often used sublimation material. You will not be able to sublimate any cloth, mainly if you are in the business world, and you must concentrate on the quality of your goods. Your print must have a smooth and professional appearance. Sublimation works best with synthetic polyesters that are manufactured rather than natural fibers.
You may also use any other material as long as it has a sufficient proportion of polyester mix to meet your needs. Polyester can assist you in producing a print that is both high-quality and long-lasting. I’ve compiled a list of textiles you may be interested in sublimating.
Polyester fabric is the ideal material for sublimation printing. The polyester cloth has the best texture and fibers for the sublimation dye to adhere to because of its texture and fibers. You must print your design using heat for it to stick to your sublimation material.
This is accomplished by turning the solid dye into a gaseous state. The quality of your print will be excellent if the paint adheres well to the surface of the cloth.
If a polyester material is subjected to heat, the material expands and becomes more voluminous. The gaseous sublimation ink can penetrate deeply into these open pores and become permanently embedded. When the cloth cools down, the gaseous ink becomes trapped between the pores of the fabric.
Because of this characteristic of polyesters, the dye is readily absorbed and does not fade away quickly when exposed to sunlight. The polyester textiles are wrinkle-free, long-lasting, and resistant to tearing and wear, among other characteristics. Polyester has these characteristics, making it the most suited fabric for sublimation printing.
Cotton is a naturally occurring fiber. It is soft and easy to hold and use. As a result, it is an excellent material for your items. However, it may fall short of your expectations when it comes to sublimation on cotton. Pure cotton fabric will not offer you the quantity of binding you want for your print to last as long as possible.
Even after a single wash, your efforts will be for nothing since the print will fade away completely. This is because the cotton fibers cannot bond with the sublimation ink. Consequently, instead of employing pure cotton, we’ll use a blend. Poly-blends comprising cotton and polyester should be used instead of 100% cotton.
Even while pure 100 percent polyester fiber is resistant to wrinkles and tears and wear and tear, it is not very pleasant to wear. The majority of sublimation businesses are involved in the production of personalized T-shirts.
Consequently, the chosen material must be comfortable since a shirt with an appealing design that causes discomfort spots will not be one you would want to wear or purchase again shortly. To keep your consumers pleased, you should consider switching to a more comfortable choice.
Poly-blends might be the safest solution for your company and your travels around the house. Polyethylene fiber is combined with other natural fibers such as cotton or linen to create these fabrics. Poly-blends have qualities that connect the two materials that were employed.
Compared to pure 100 percent polyester fabric, poly-blends are more comfortable and less sensitive to the skin. Polyester may create sensitivity responses on the skin when used in high concentrations.
Not all poly mixes are acceptable for sublimation, and some are more suited than others. It is necessary to use a precise percentage of polyester for the dye to adhere fully to the cloth. Your sublimation ink will not adhere well to the fabric if you choose a poly-blend with a low percentage of polyester. As a result, your design will not be straightforward. Your poly mix should include at least 40 percent polyester by weight to get an optimal outcome.
Fibers made of Synthetic Materials
Synthetic fibers are garment materials that humans create using chemical methods to develop them. These fibers are generated from chemicals, plants, or the fur of various animals. In addition to polyester, there are a variety of additional synthetic fibers available on the market. Here are a few examples of synthetic fibers that may be utilized for sublimation printing.
Nitrile (Nylon) is a synthetic fiber that may be used for sublimation printing. It has a more excellent range of elasticity and is gentler than other materials. The most crucial thing to remember is that not every fiber can withstand high temperatures.
As a result, while pressing synthetic materials, you should use a moderate temperature since they have a propensity to burn, which can cause damage to the material.
While pressing on the nylon material, you may utilize a low-temperature setting. The best temperature for pressing nylon is 275 degrees for 5 seconds, the shortest time possible. They are more sturdy and resistant to water than previous models.
As a result, when printing on nylon fabric, you must use a specialist dye since nylon fabric does not absorb water, and the cloth will not bind well to the standard dye that you would use on polyester or cotton fabric. The majority of nylons are treated with chemicals to aid in attaching the sublimation ink, which helps alleviate this problem.
Rayon is a cellulose fiber that is semi-synthetic and far softer than polyester. It reacts to heat in the same way that any other synthetic fiber does. If you are sublimating on this cloth, you must use more caution. The pattern on rayon is not highly long-lasting, and it may fade away after a few washes due to the nature of the fabric.
As a result, you will be unable to utilize pure 100 percent rayon. Either a polyester coating should be applied to the textile to allow the dye to bond more readily with the material, or you may use a poly mix of nylon and polyester.
Additional Synthetic Fibers
Here are some alternative synthetic fibers that you may use as a sublimation material; however, they are usually used in a mix with other materials. These artificial synthetic fibers are created from non-natural raw ingredients and are thus non-natural. They are temperature resistant and may be bonded with polyester or any other natural fabric such as cotton or linen to increase their performance as a sublimation substrate.
- Spandex is also referred to as Lycra or elastane in certain circles. It is a synthetic fiber made out of polyurethane polymer and used in the textile industry. The flexibility and suppleness of this synthetic fabric have made it popular among designers. It behaves in the same way as any other synthetic fiber. It is also heat sensitive, and when combined with any different kind of cloth, you may utilize it for sublimation techniques.
- Acrylic fiber is sometimes referred to as orlon or fake wool because it has a similar texture to wool. Acrylic fabric may also be utilized as a sublimation material in certain circumstances. Because of its wool-like look and insulating properties is often used in clothing for warm weather conditions. As a result, you may personalize hoodies or sweatshirts produced from it.
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.