Sublimation print – procedure and use

Sublimation print – procedure and use

Sublimation print – procedure and use

Sublimation technique means converting sublimation dye from solid to gas state under certain temperature and pressure. In this way, dye adheres to the surface which you want to print. This is chemical process where image on transfer paper binds with polymers on the material surface and transfer the image.

The most popular sublimation products are mugs, shirts, glasses, mouse pads, plaques, puzzles and covers for mobile phones. Generally, products which have sublimation coating layer or products made from polyester (shirts, mouse pads) are suitable for sublimation printing.

The novelty and the greatest progress is the ability to print on 100% cotton shirts. That was not possible in the past but with new procedure this is enabled. The print is high quality, does not get of and it is very affordable.

Necessary equipment for sublimation print includes:

  • Printer
  • Refill cartridges or CISS devise (Continuous Ink System)
  • Sublimation ink
  • Transfer paper
  • Heat press

It is not possible to use printers with thermal heads because sublimation ink reacts under the influence of temperature and nozzles would be quickly clogged. Sublimation printers have piezo electrical heads (where ink is pushed out by expanding the crystals). Epson company is producing a huge number of printers with piezo head. They are inkjet printers. Many large format printers use piezo heads.

Choosing the printer depends from several factors. Before purchase it is very important to consider:

  • print amount you want to do
  • quality you want to achieve
  • print format

Sublimation printers mostly use 4 or 6 colors. Printers with 4 colors use Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black color. Those with 6 colors use even Light Cyan and Light Magenta. Earlier, it was necessary to embed CISS device for continuous supplying with color but now, modern Epson printers already have fabric embed CISS devise. This allows high quality and affordable print.

As we said before, the new procedure appeared, procedure where we have sublimation printing on cotton shirts. So, if you think about this kind of printer, feel free to contact us. This printers are set up to receive special paper for sublimation on cotton.

It is not advisable to purchase printer that used non-sublimation ink as color mixing may occur, which will affect the printer itself.

Regular printing (more is better) and maintenance is very important for Epson printer. Sublimation colors are denser than regular inkjet colors and regular cleaning is necessary.


Refill cartridges and CISS system

Sublimation ink should not mix with other types of ink, so you can not use original or compatible cartridges or other equipment which is already used with some other color. It is possible to get compatible cartridges filled with sublimation ink or empty refill cartridges (most wanted on our market) or CISS system for continuous supplying with color which will be filled afterwards with sublimation ink.


Choosing the paper depends from type of material on which the transfer is made. The paper can be intended for transfer on solid surface or textile, it is important to have good absorption and portability. We will not get into individual manufacturers characteristics because there are many types of paper on market. In our company, we try to have the same fresh paper that will give the same results in different series of print. It will not happen to get one day brighter and next day darker print.

papir za sublimaciju

For sublimation on cotton, special transfer paper is used.

Heat presses

Heat presses are different by surface of heated element and they can be digital, with pressure with help of magnet…

Presses can be flat, combined, 3D, for mugs, plates, cats…

Flat presses are used for items which have flat surface (shirts, mouse pads, puzzles, aluminium…).
Combo presses can do more product types and comes with different tools. On them, you can pressed mugs, shirts, plates, cats, mouse pads. Their feature is to have one control panel connected to different heaters depending on the need.

3D press is machine that features the latest technology where vacuum make the pressure. Print is the highest quality due to the uniformity of the vacuum. You can do 3D covers for mobile phones, 12 mugs at the same time and much more.
Anyway, sublimation is technique that give beautiful personalized products which can be print on one piece. Results are perfect and sublimation print is permanent with vibrant colors. If you start with sublimation business, you will not regret it because of the various opportunities.

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