Why is My Sublimation Not Transferring? Ultimate Guide in 2023

Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Fredrick Miller

If you ever wondered “why is my sublimation not transferring, ” you’ve come to the right place. You have your design, you have your transfer paper and you’re ready to start sublimation printing. Only one problem — nothing is transferring. The troubleshooting process can be frustrating.

The most common reason for a sublimation not transferring is that the ink was not dry enough when you put the garment on. If you can see or feel the ink on the garment, it is still wet and will not transfer.

Today, I am here to help you solve the frustrating problem of a sublimation transfer not transferring. You’ll learn about different ways you can use for your transfers and which methods are best depending on the circumstances.

What is Sublimation?

Sublimation is the conversion of a solid to a gas without passing through the intermediate liquid phase. Sublimation is an endothermic transition occurring at temperatures and pressures below a substance’s triple point in its phase diagram.

What is Transferring?

Transferring refers to the process of processing an image by having it exposed to heat and pressed onto a fabric substrate. Transferring images onto items like T-shirts, posters, or fabrics is a process used in the printing industry.

What Causes Sublimation Print Not Transferring?

The sublimation transfer printing process is a complex one and can be challenging to troubleshoot. You can use sublimation print for many different things. You can print on t-shirts, mugs, coasters, and many other items. However, sometimes your design will not transfer onto the item you are printing on.

While some common issues can affect your print quality, there are also a variety of things that can go wrong with the equipment or materials.

Here are some of the most common causes for sublimation not transferring onto fabric:

Incorrect Heat Press Settings

If you do not have your heat press set to the correct temperature for transfer paper, then your transfer will not transfer. The best way to know what temperature to use is by using a sublimation transfer paper temperature guide. This will give you an idea of which transfer paper and heat press settings work best with each other.

Wrong Transfer Paper Type

Sublimation paper comes in different types such as inkjet sublimation paper and thermal printers sublimation paper. Each type of paper has the specific settings that it needs to work correctly with a heat press machine or printer.

If you use a kind of sublimation paper that does not match your heat press machine or printer then this could cause problems when trying to get the design printed on your t-shirt correctly.

Wrong Ink Type

Different printers require different types of ink cartridges or ribbons for printing on fabric or other substrates like paper or cardboard sheets.

Make sure that you have installed the appropriate ink cartridge or ribbon before proceeding with the print job so that you can avoid getting poor-quality prints due to the wrong type of ink installed in your printer machine!

Poor Quality Paper

If your paper is not high quality or is too thick, it may not transfer properly. The quality of paper used in sublimation printing varies depending on who makes it; generally speaking, only certain brands are recommended for use with sublimation printers. Try using different brands of paper until you get the best result with your printer and machine.

The Ink cartridge is empty

If you’re using an ink cartridge that has run out of ink, then there will be no ink transferred onto your substrate during sublimation printing. You must ensure that there is enough ink in your cartridge before printing another image onto a new substrate.

Incorrect position of the design

Make sure that your design is placed correctly on top of your garment before pressing it with an iron. If it is placed incorrectly, there may be areas where no color transfers at all and other areas where too much color transfers.

This can cause problems later when creating multiple layers of sublimation designs on top of one another because they may not match up perfectly with their neighboring designs if they were not positioned correctly initially.

Temperature is too low

If your heat setting is too low, then there will not be enough heat energy being transferred into the material causing the print not to transfer properly. The temperature must be kept at 84-110 degrees Celsius for optimal transfer results. If the temperature is too high or too low, then it will affect the transfer process. If the temperature is too high, then it will dry out quickly and cause a shadow effect over the image area where you cannot see any ink but only a shadow of where there should be ink in that area.

If the temperature is too low, then it will take longer to transfer and may not transfer properly at all because there isn’t enough heat being applied to melt the ink onto your garment or material which can result in no transfer at all or an incomplete transfer with gaps between some colored areas which creates an outline effect around those areas instead of solid color areas.

Transfer Sublimation Preparations Tips

Transfer sublimation is the process of transferring an image from a special paper onto a garment. This process is similar to silk screening, but it does not require special equipment or inks.

Transfer sublimation is great for printing large quantities of designs, as it’s very fast and efficient. It’s also useful for printing designs on clothing items like t-shirts and jackets.

Before you begin your project, use these tips to ensure an efficient transfer sublimation process:

  • Prepare your fabric by washing it in hot water and drying it on high heat. This helps to set the dye in the fabric so that it’s ready to accept the ink during transfer sublimation.
  • Make sure your design is cut out using an Exacto knife or craft knife. Make sure all edges are clean and sharp so they don’t fray when they’re being sewn together later on!
  • Place your design face down on top of your prepared fabric with low heat iron set at no steam setting (or use an iron at a normal setting but no steam).
  • Position the iron over one side of your design and press firmly for about 20 seconds or until it looks like all wrinkles have fallen out and transferred onto the fabric surface.
  • Wash and dry your garment before starting any project. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners on any part of your garment, as they may affect how well the dye transfers onto your product.
  • Make sure that you are working in an area that has plenty of ventilation and is free from any flammable materials (i.e., gasoline). This is very important because when you heat your garment with an iron, fumes will come off of it that could potentially ignite if there were any open flame nearby (i.e., stovetop).

What Temperature Do You Transfer Sublimation?

Transferring sublimation at the correct temperature is key to getting a great print. If you transfer your image at too high of a temperature, it can cause the design to melt and smear onto the transfer paper. If you transfer at too low of a temperature, your design will not transfer as well.

The best way to determine what temperature is right for you is to do tests. Transferring at different temperatures enables you to see how varying temperatures affect color saturation and intensity. Once you’ve found a good range of colors and intensities that work for you, it’s easy to repeat the process with similar fabrics in the future.

The temperature of sublimation varies depending on what you’re trying to print. To get the best results from your sublimation transfers, we recommend transferring your design around 385°-400°F. This temperature works well for most designs and transfers most colors beautifully. You should always test out a few different colors to see what works best for you though.

What Is the Best Blend for Sublimation?

When you’re in the market for a new fabric, it’s important to know which fabrics are best for sublimation printing. Many blends are designed for screen printing, but not all of them work well for sublimation.

The best blend for sublimation is one that provides high opacity, good color matching, and a soft hand. Additionally, it should be easy to work with and have a low shrinkage rate.

The best blend for sublimation is one that is smooth and has no grain. The reason for this is that when you are printing on fabric, you want a smooth surface to print on. If you use a fabric with too much grain, then it will create a rough texture on the printed design that can be uncomfortable to wear.

It can also cause problems with the dye not being absorbed properly, which will cause the color to fade faster than normal. The best blends for sublimation are crepe-back satin and polyester/spandex blends. These fabrics have no visible grain or texture, making them perfect for printing with your sublimation printer.

Why Is My Sublimation Not Transferring to Mug?

The most common reason for a sublimation transfer not transferring to a mug is that the image itself is not high enough resolution. This means that the image you are trying to print on your mug is either too large or too small in file size.

Here are some common reasons why your mug isn’t transferring:

  • The wrong color ink is being used. Sublimation inks are made for specific substrates, so make sure you’re using the right ink for your project. If you’re not sure which ink is best, check out our guide here!
  • Your design was saved in the wrong format. Save your designs as .png or .jpg files with a resolution of 300 dpi or higher. If you’d like to learn more about file formats, check out our guide here!
  • Your transfer paper is too thick or thin. Make sure that your transfer paper is within the recommended range of thicknesses for optimal results! We recommend using a medium-weight transfer paper (100 lb) at least 12 inches wide.
  • Another reason why your sublimation might not be transferring properly is because of material choice. Some materials are more receptive than others and some materials also require different settings than others to receive an image more easily.
  • For example, if you are trying to print on a ceramic mug and only have access to an iron-on transfer paper, then your best bet would be to use white ceramic mugs instead of colored ones because this material will work better with iron-on transfers.

Why Is My Sublimation Only Transferring Yellow?

The most common cause of “yellow” transfer is poor-quality ink. The best way to ensure that your sublimation ink will work well is to use an Inkjet ink designed for sublimation printing.

Another reason why your sublimation may only be transferring yellow is that your heat press was set up incorrectly during the setup process. When setting up your heat press for sublimation, it is important to turn down your temperature as low as possible without causing any damage or melting of your ink or film.

The best way to determine if your ink is sublimation-safe is to check the label on your bottle. If it does not say “sublimation safe”, then it is not safe and cannot be used for transferring with a heat press.

How to Fix Sublimation Mistakes?

Sublimation printing is a process that uses heat to transfer a dye image from a special ink-jet printer directly onto fabric. It’s used for long-lasting, durable prints that are perfect for T-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel.

Sublimation printing is great because it allows you to create custom designs for your shirts, with no minimum order requirements or setup fees. You can also use sublimation printers to create other products such as mugs, mouse pads, and keychains.

The problem with sublimation printing is that sometimes the print doesn’t transfer correctly. This article will explain what causes this problem and how you can fix it.

If you have made a mistake with your design, there are a few things you can do to fix it.

1. Use the Inkjet Transfer Method

This is one of the most popular methods for fixing mistakes in sublimation printing. The inkjet transfer method involves transferring an image onto another material using an inkjet printer.

This method works well for fixing small errors without requiring any special equipment or supplies. All you need is a computer and an inkjet printer with quality ink and paper.

2. Use the Thermal Transfer Printer Method

If you want even better results than what you get from using an inkjet transfer technique, then consider using a thermal transfer printer instead. This type of printer uses heat rather than pressure to transfer an image onto another material such as T-shirts or bags.

The advantage of using this type of printer is that it gives you much more flexibility in terms of how big or small your design can be and how many colors it contains before it starts looking bad (and therefore making mistakes more likely).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is sublimation printing?

If you’re having trouble with wrinkles, try ironing the shirt before applying for your transfer. This should help get rid of any wrinkles in the fabric and make sure everything lays flat so there isn’t any interference with how well your design transfers onto the shirt itself.

What happens if you overheat sublimation?

If you overheat sublimation, it will ruin the product. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a shirt that’s shorter than you were expecting and has a big blotch of color on the front. Use a heat press that has an adjustable temperature setting. If your heat press doesn’t have an adjustable temperature setting, consider buying one that does.

How can I get rid of wrinkles in my transfer?

If you’re having trouble with wrinkles, try ironing the shirt before applying for your transfer. This should help get rid of any wrinkles in the fabric and make sure everything lays flat so there isn’t any interference with how well your design transfers onto the shirt itself.

Why is my sublimation not transferring to my shirt?

The most common reason why sublimation does not transfer to a shirt is that the fabric is too thick. A few thin layers of cotton or polyester will work, but anything thicker than that will not.
Another reason is that your shirt was printed using an inkjet printer. Inkjets do not have the same type of technology as sublimation printers, so they cannot use the same heat settings.

Final Thoughts

There are countless reasons why someone’s sublimation might not transfer. The most common ones are simply being out of adjustment or having a design that is too complex (thus, meaning the screen has to move too much during printing).

Remember that these machines are only as good as their operator and it takes years of practice to master. Keep trying and you’ll get the hang of it. I hope that this article has helped you to resolve any issues you may have encountered with your sublimation transfer.

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