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As most of you know, there are lots of unique ways to create printed tees. And while many of them are great for a variety of reasons, today, we are focusing on sublimation printing.

sublimation printingWhat is Sublimation printing?

Sublimation is the process of printing a special sublimation ink onto special sublimation transfer paper using a sublimation printing technique. Instead of traditional inkjet transfers which print ink on top of the shirt or item you’re working with. Sublimation ink actually becomes a part of the substrate you’re printing on. Once the ink from your sublimation transfer paper is heat pressed onto the item you’re printing on, it opens up the pores of the fabric that you’re pressing heat onto. Once you press the paper onto your item and release pressure, the heat will cool and the ink will turn back into solid form. The pores will close permanently and encapsulate the ink within the polymer coating of your item. So the ink turns from a solid to a gas and them back into a solid.

Benefits of Sublimation Printing

This process works wonders in our eyes because it ensures that the image you transfer onto your item won’t fade over time. The finish is also smooth, soft, and stylish because it literally becomes one with the substrate. This is perfect if you want to keep the soft-hand feel of the original garment. Another reason we love this process is the fact that it allows you to print full color transfers and heat press them onto your shirts instead of setting up tons of screens for traditional screen printing.

Sublimation-Friendly Garments

sublimation printing

When doing a sublimation print, only the polyester yarns in a garment will hold the ink. It leads a lot of people often think sublimation only can only be done on items that are 100% polyester. However, we’ve seen customers get great results on our poly-blends! When you do a sublimation print on a shirt that is not 100% poly, you’ll get a print that looks vintage or distressed—which is very popular right now. Keep in mind that sublimation inks are transparent. That means that it’s best to print on white or light colored substrates so your image is transferred properly.

We FeiYue Digital Technology Co., Ltd mainly manages sublimation paper, inkjet printer, digital printing inks, calendering machines and accessories, operating this industry has been more than 10 years experience. After continuous improvement of the product, to ensure product quality can also be profit at the same time to the minimum, to ensure that customers enjoy the best price and the best quality products.

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With the evolving technology, new advancements in printing industry are made every day. But do you know what is the difference between inkjet printing and sublimation printing? Today, we are going to introduce the quality difference between them.

dye sublimation vs inkjet

How an Inkjet Printer Works:

Inkjet printers create a picture composed of little dots of ink, so small that you can’t see them with magnification. This explains, however, why an image printed by an inkjet printer may look grainy if you look at it close-up. These dots can have different colors so that when you view them all together, it creates an image like the ones you see printed. Depending on the brand of printer you use, they may have different methods for getting the ink on the page, but the general idea remains the same throughout all companies. An average inkjet printer can print what is called 600 dpi, or dots per inch, which is quite a few dots in a small space, but it is doable since these dots are so incredibly small!

dye sublimation vs inkjet

How Dye Sublimation Printing Works:

The word “sublimation” gives a hint as to how this process works, as it means to heat something up to turn it into a vapor, and then turn it back into a solid. This is what these printers are doing as they create an image on a page. The colored pigments that are in films within the printer are heated and released onto the page, where they then solidify again as they cool down. The pigments mix to create the perfect color necessary for the specific image being printed, which creates a very vibrant, true color.

What is the Quality Difference?

For photographs and high-resolution images, sublimation printing offers the best quality between the two, due to a couple factors. One of these factors is that the dye used in sublimation printing is mixed to get the exact right color, whereas in inkjet printing, the color is achieved by mixing different colored dots. The true color of the sublimation dye allows for a higher-quality colored image. Another factor is that the dots produced by inkjet printers allow for white gaps between the ink, and while this may not be visible to the naked eye, it does make a difference in the resolution of an image. A great benefit to sublimation printing is that its color is continuous, rather than broken up by white spaces like the inkjet printing is.

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dye sublimation printingDye sublimation is an advanced printing method that involves transferring text or graphic images onto items. When it comes to picking a fabric for dye sublimation printing, polyester is the best choice. Here is why polyester works so well in dye sublimation printing:

1. Beautiful, lasting printed colors
Dye sublimation printing consists of the following steps:
1) A graphic or text is digitally printed on sublimation transfer paper.
2) The transfer paper is placed in a heat press. The heat press helps sublimate the print onto a fabric.

It’s important to test fabrics before dye sublimation printing. Due to high heat, with temperatures ranging from 380 to 400 degrees, a fabric may easily burn. Heat is used to convert the dye sublimation ink into a gaseous state.

Fabrics such as cotton, nylon, etc. cannot hold the ink during the heating process.  Polyester is the only material that can enable the bonding of the ink and ensure beautiful, long lasting colors. This is why national flags, banners and graphic t-shirts are made of polyester.

sublimation transfer printing


2. Fade-resistant
Printed graphics, text or logo on polyester fabric will not crack, fade or diminish. No matter how many times you wash it, the printed image won’t come off or lose color.

On the other hand, printed images on a cotton fabric can chip or peel off. Cotton is prone to fading, especially after repeated washing.

If you are looking for permanent printing then polyester is the best one. Printed images are embedded in the fabric’s substrate rather than printed on the surface.

3. Rich printed colors
Last but not least, polyester ensures rich printed colors. As sublimation dye is converted to gas during heating, the fabric’s tone blend into each other. The final product looks absolutely stunning.

4. Percentage of polyester in a fabric
It’s a good idea to use a 100 percent polyester fabric to achieve the best result. But, you can even work with at least 60 percent polyester fabric.

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