What is Dye Sublimation Printing and How does it work (2020)

What is Dye Sublimation Printing and How does it work
Image Source – Google | Image By –  Kai Pilger from Pexels

Dye Sublimation printing or sublimation printing is becoming more and more popular day by day.

There are also other printing methods like Heat transfer printing and screen printing. But, still many people are choosing sublimation printing to start their small home-based businesses.

It is a good choice for people who want to start their small home-based businesses like t-shirt printing and mug printing.

So, What is Dye Sublimation Printing and How does it work? Let’s find out.

What is mean by sublimation?

Let’s start with a basic. Sublimation is a process in which substance changes its state directly from solid to the gas state, without passing through the liquid state.

Dry ice and Naphthalene are the substances that undergo this process.

This printing method needs special ink and that special ink is called as a sublimation ink.

This ink goes through the sublimation process during printing and eventually produces a high-quality design by combining with the targeted fabric.

What is Dye Sublimation Printing and How does it work

Sublimation printing is a digital or computer printing method in which design is transferred on the fabric with the help of heat and pressure. In this method, the ink gets placed inside the pores of the fabric and eventually becomes the part of the fabric. That’s why it produces durable and high- quality designs. This method is a good choice for on-demand orders.

It is among the few printing methods in which you can print on hard surfaces.

In this method, you can print complicated designs easily with unlimited colors. This method is ideal for small home-based businesses like t-shirt printing, mug printing, etc.

Now, let me explain how it works.

How Sublimation printing works

Sublimation printing is a digital printing method. First, you need to select the design that you want to print on the fabric.

Then, printer would print that design on the transfer paper.

Finally, heat press would be used to transfer the design from the transfer paper to the targeted fabric. This process is the best for producing high-quality designs with different colors.

Once you master this process, you will find it quite easy.

Required Equipments

1) Sublimation printer

This printing method needs special printers called sublimation printers. It is the most important thing for sublimation printing.

It is a digital printer and it uses software to print our selected design on the transfer paper.

It is capable of printing very complex designs with very high quality. These printers can use unlimited combinations of colors for printing.

2) Heat press

The heat press is important for smooth and proper printing.

A heat press is required to transfer designs from the transfer paper to the desired fabric like t-shirts, mugs, etc.

Sometimes heat press is not required but it helps to reduce mismatch and create more durable and high-quality designs.

3) Transfer paper

Sublimation paper is also called as a transfer paper. You can print any design on this transfer paper and eventually heat press is used to transfer that design on the fabric.

4) Sublimation ink

Sublimation ink is used to print design on transfer paper. The ink goes through the sublimation process during printing. That means it changes its states directly from solid to a gaseous state.

5) Sublimation printing fabric

Finally, you need a good printing fabric on which you want to print a design. This printing method doesn’t work on all fabrics. It works well with polyester as polyester can bind easily with ink to form required designs.


1) It is useful for high-quality printing.

2) It is the best printing method to run a home-based printing business like t-shirt printing or mug printing.

3) It is a quick process and easy to learn.

4) The design created by this method is more durable and of high quality, as the ink gets embedded in the fabric or in other words the ink becomes part of the fabric. So, it is less prone to fade away.

5) it is among the few printing methods in which you can print on the hard surfaces.


Every printing method has its own limitations or disadvantages. Let’s see what are the disadvantages of this method.

1) The main disadvantage of this method is that it doesn’t work on 100% cotton fabric. It works on only polyester fabric. It is because the only polyester fabric can combine with the ink. So, in comparison to other printing methods, this method doesn’t work on all types of fabric.

2) The targeted fabric should be white for high-quality printing. It is not possible to print good quality print on dark color fabric in this method.

3) The sublimation ink is expensive.

4) The setup of sublimation printing is costly so, you need some initial investment.

5) If the transfer paper is not placed correctly, then a mismatch may happen in design which is a waste of money and time.

Sublimation printing machines

Which is the best sublimation printing machine suitable for your business? Epson and Sawgrass have the best sublimation printers with various specifications. You will find a lot of different sublimation printers. So, you should choose the one which can satisfy your business needs.

Sublimation printing vs Screen printing

Screen printing is also a popular printing method. This method uses a stencil to produce designs on fabric.

Screen printing method also has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s compare both methods, so you can decide which printing method is good for your business.

1) Screen printing works almost on any fabric.

2)It can print only simple designs.

3) Screen printing is cost-effective for large orders, the cost of printing decreases as the number of orders increases.

4) Sublimation printing creates more high-quality designs than screen printing.

5) Only fewer colors can be used in screen printing.

6) It is possible to print even on dark fabric in screen printing.

7) Screen printing is a time-consuming process.

8) The printing quality of screen printing is not as good as sublimation printing.

Sublimation printing vs Heat transfer printing

Heat transfer is another good printing method. Let’s find out the pros and cons of heat transfer printing in comparison to other printing methods.

1) Heat transfer printing has low investment costs.

2) Heat transfer is an easy and simple printing method.

3) Heat transfer printing works even on the dark color fabric.

4) The heat transfer printing method uses pigment ink.

5) Heat transfer is the best method for printing on 100% cotton fabric.

6) The heat transfer method works on any fabric.

Chetan Patil is a Mechanical Engineer and a part-time blogger. He likes to read, learn, and share interesting facts about this world. He enjoys writing about astronomy and history.
Posts created 17

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top