What Is Sublimation and How Does It Work?

There are many ways to print your brand logo to create promotional items, and sublimation printing is one of them. This is also known as dye sublimation printing, and it involves transferring an image onto a substrate.

This type of printing uses sublimation ink and a printer to print onto sublimation transfer paper. Then, the sublimation paper is used to transfer the sublimation ink onto the substrate. This allows the ink to actually be a part of the substrate you print on.

How does sublimation printing differ from other methods? Well, when you use inkjet-transfer printing, you only print the ink on top of the substrate. And while other printing methods go through three states of matter — solid, liquid, and gas — sublimation printing doesn’t pass the liquid state.

This printing method doesn’t turn your ink into water, but rather, combines it with the substrate while it is in a gaseous state. Then, the ink solidifies as it merges with the substrate and forms the logo or image you designed.

2. How Does The Sublimation Printing Process Work?

You may be wondering how sublimation printing works. First, you print the desired image on a sublimation transfer paper using sublimation ink and printer. Then, the transfer paper and the substrate go through the heat press. Here, they are exposed to around 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat press allows the sublimation ink and transfer paper to turn into a gaseous state. When they are in this state, they can seep through the substrate’s material. This is possible as the heat both releases the sublimation ink’s gas and opens the pores of the substrate.

Once you remove the transfer paper and the substrate from the heat press, sublimation printing happens. The ink that seeped through the substrate’s material solidifies. Then the substrate’s pores close permanently, thereby holding the ink in place.

If you properly execute the sublimation process, the printed image won’t fade by itself. It will only wear out if the substrate itself deteriorates.

An alternative to dye sublimation printing is the process of applying the ink directly to a polymer-coated substrate. When exposed to heat, the ink bonds with the substrate.

3. Which Materials Are Suitable For Sublimation Printing?

If you’re planning to utilize sublimation printing services, it’s good to know which materials you can and cannot use. Here are examples of materials that you can use for sublimation printing:

  • Polymer
  • Polyester
  • PVC
  • Polyester-coated aluminum sheet
  • Polycotton textile
  • Ceramic tile
  • Polymer-coated plastic
  • Polyester-made fabric
  • Polymer-coated metal

Leave a Reply

Need Help? Chat with us
Please accept our privacy policy first to start a conversation.