Sublimation Transfer Printing vs. Traditional Screen Printing

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Sublimation Transfer Printing vs. Traditional Screen Printing

Sublimation transfer printing can be done on much more than fabrics, which is the restriction of just heat transfer printing. If one really wants to get creative with what they want to print on, such as creating puzzles or personalized keychains, dye sublimation is the main option to choose.

sublimation transfer printing

Screen Printing Process

The screen-printing process involves using a mesh stencil that pushes the ink onto the fabric. This is typically done with t-shirts and other fabric garments. Screen printing isn’t expensive but does require a new stencil for each design needed and for each color used. Since it’s a stencil, graphics are usually kept simple with not a lot of different colors. This is like how stencils are used for drawing, there isn’t a lot of room for different, more intricate designs. Using dye sublimation printing offers more opportunities for creative, colorful designs.

dye sublimation printing

Printable Fabrics

While sublimation needs to be done with polyester or poly-coated items, screen printing can be applied to anything if the surface is flat. While this opens the door for more fabrics, like cotton, screen printing isn’t typically done on more rigid surfaces, such as mugs or textured tiles. This is because a flatter surface is needed for the best results, or else the image might be distorted. That is why this form of printing is typically done on clothing and is usually restricted to designs using one color. Sublimation, on the other hand, comes off best when more color is used and the designs can be very detailed.

Why Sublimation Printing is Better?

Sublimation transfer printing offers more room for creativity and unique designs that utilize full-color printing. The field of what can be printed on is also more fast compared to screen printing. For quick, simpler designs, screen printing can be useful. But, for the most part, sublimation is the better option in most cases.


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