Grow Large-format Garment Printing Business with Sublimation Printer

Are you starting a garment business? Do you have a well-running business in the textile industry? If yes, then you must have seen the trend of having customized garment pieces. Moreover, you also have seen graphic designs on different garment pieces. For this garment printing business, a lot of entrepreneurs prefer sublimation printers.

It is expected that the sublimation printing business will reach 10.67 billion dollars by 2030. So, how can you use this printer to grow your garment printing business? In this article, you will have a detailed understanding of sublimation printers.

Table of Contents

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a technique that embeds your design into your product rather than printing it on top of it. In this process, you need a heat press, sublimation ink or a sheet of paper. First of all, print your design on a sheet of paper by sublimation printer. You should use sublimation ink to make your design on sublimation paper. Then, use the heat press machine to transfer the print from the sheet of paper to the product. You need to put high pressure on and expose the product to a high temperature of 350-400°F. In this way, the design would be printed on the product.

sublimation printing process

On Which Products Sublimation Printing Works?

Sublimation printer is widely used in polyester fabric, home decor, outdoor advertising, photograph printing and other industries.  Some typical applications are:

  • Tshirts
  • Hoodies
  • Socks
  • Tote bags
  • Swimsuits
  • Sweaters
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Athletic clothes
  • Posters
  • Signage
  • Gloves
  • Banners
  • Ceramic floor tiles
  • Laptop and Phone covers
  • And much more

Why Choose Sublimation Printing for Your Garment Business?

Compared with traditional screen printing, the advantages of utilizing sublimation printing are unparalleled. Here are the outstanding benefits.

1. Sublimation Printing is Versatile.

With a sublimation printer, you can produce a variety of products. This technology allows for production of not only polyester fabric items but also daily necessities, advertising products and other types of products. It can be said that sublimation printing brings endless business possibilities. This benefit makes sublimation printing an excellent choice for those who want to expand product offerings.

2. Sublimation Printing is Long-lasting.

Sublimation prints don’t fade, crack or peel with time because the ink becomes a part of the materials in the printing process. Thanks to this special feature, sublimation printer is ideal for printing products that will  be frequently used or washed like sports wear. Besides, even after multi washes or exposure to sunshine, the prints will still be durable, colorful and clear.

3. Sublimation Printing Allows Vibrant Colors and Designs.

Not limited by black and white, or one-color designs, you can add various colors and designs to your prints with the help of this printer. The images in vivid colors will attract a lot of audiences, growing your garment business. The process of sublimation printing transfers the dye into the material, making the printing result not only of vivid colors, but also fade-resistant. Vivid colors and unique designs will definitely open up new opportunities for creation.

4. Sublimation Printing is Cost-effective.

With other printing methods such as screen printing, you need a high number of orders. If there is not a good quantity of orders, using any other printing methods will cost you a lot of money. The setup of screen printing is also expensive so you need to invest a lot of money in it. But this is not the case with sublimation printing. You can print customized designs even when you don’t have a large amount of orders. Moreover, this printer works fast in comparison to other printing methods. So, you can complete any bulk garment printing order in no time with this printer. These aspects save you time and money. That’s why it is a cost-effective solution.

What do you Need to Start Business with Sublimation Printer?

1. Sublimation Printer

The first thing you need to have is a sublimation printer. There are a lot of categories and models in the market so you can choose the one according to your preferences. If you are unfamiliar with sublimation printing, read this article to learn more about it, Ultimate Guide to Choose Best Sublimation Printer. 

2. Heat Press Machine

A heat press machine is to deliver pressure and extreme heat to sublimate the design on garment or other materials. A lot of people will tell you to use home iron for this process but I will not recommend this to you. Because iron can’t exert the right pressure and 400°F heat on your fabric. So, it would not transfer the design as it should. While buying the heat press, you should check the platen size of it. If the size is large, it would help cover a large area of fabric. If it is small, it would only cover a small area. So, you need to decide according to your business preferences.

3. Paper and Ink

You need sublimation ink and paper to sublimate your designs on your garments. You will get it with your printer package. You may also get paper rolls with it. But, it is always beneficial to have extra ink and paper with you. Each printer recommends a special type of ink and a specific size of paper. So, you need to research about them when buying your printer.

4. Computer and RIP Softwares

You need a computer (PC or Mac) or any designing software for your business too. Your computer doesn’t need to be expensive or of the latest model. Any ordinary computer that can run different designing software will do the work. With computers, you also need some RIP software like Maintop, Photoprint and CADLink to create designs.

5. Other Essential Things

Except for these four major things, you may need some small but essential things too. For instances:

  • Transfer Gloves: You need these gloves to handle hot products.
  • Heat Resistant Tape: To keep your design in place on your fabric and avoid any blurry images.
  • White Cardstock or Butcher paper: It is used to avoid unwanted ink transfer.
  • Spray Adhesive: You can use it to secure your paper in place on your garment.
  • Silicon Cover Sheet: You need it to prevent your ink from expanding on your heat press.
  • Foam Pillows: They protect your fabric from the harsh heat of your heat press.

Sublimation blanks: These are white plain products such as t-shirts or fabric you need to sublimate your design.

How Does Sublimation Printer Work(T-shirt example) ?

  1. First of all, you need to collect all the essential elements for your sublimation garment business.
  2. Next, you need to make a design. Make sure that the size of your design can fit your t-shirt. For this, check the size of your product. Also, remember the size of your paper.
  3. After saving your design, you need to load thepaper into the printer. For this, you should look at the manual of your printer to know how to load your paper correctly.
  4. Before printing it out, the printer will also ask you to do some settings. It includes selecting the size of the design, type of material and other things. This setting interface is different in each printer so you need to check the manual. You can preview your design before printing it out.
  5. Trim your paper along the edges to come near your design. Make sure there is no white space on the edges.
  6. Preheat your shirt with an iron. For this, make a vertical crease in the center.
  7. Set the settings of the heat press to 385°F to 400°F. Also, open the windows of your room to avoid any accidents.
  8. Lay your T-shirt face up on your heat press.
  9. Put a foam pillow or white cardstock in it, just under the area where you need to deliver the design.
  10. Put your design paper on it and secure it with tape.
  11. Put a silicon cover sheet on the top of your shirt. It should be larger than your printer.
  12. Press your sublimation printand get the final result.


In summary, sublimation printers allow for high-quality prints on various materials, providing vibrant colors and detailed designs. Additionally, the printing process is quick and efficient, allowing for faster production times. Sublimation printers also have lower maintenance costs compared to traditional printing methods, making them cost-effective choices for businesses looking to scale up. From this aspect, investing in sublimation printer to start large-format printing business or expand business is a worthwhile choice. Talk to the expert to choose a suitable sublimation printer to earn money!


Is the sublimation printing business profitable?

Yes, it is profitable because it is easy and doesn’t require much investment. You just need to have a plan before starting this business.

Traditionally, sublimation printing is for white tees. You can print attractive designs on light-color fabric. Moreover, the material of your fabric should be 100% polyester, polyester blends or polymer coated.

You can but you need coating spray or heat transfer vinyl in this process. Because, sublimation ink can fade away from cotton t-shirts after one washing. So, use the sublimation spray to protect it.

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