You may have heard of dye sublimation as part of the printing process, but you may not be fully aware of its benefits and what fabrics and t-shirts are best used when using this technique. Keep reading to find out more about dye sublimation and why it’s a great choice for your t-shirt printing needs.
What is dye sublimation?
First of all, let’s take a look at what dye sublimation is and how it works. Dye sublimation transfer is a t-shirt dying process where the creator takes a digital image that they would like to have on the t-shirt, and either by scanning or downloading they use this image to create the print on their shirt design.
The image is printed using a special printer, which uses special sublimation transfer inks. When it is heated to high temperatures, sublimation ink turns into a gas and pores of the polymer coated item open up and allow the gas to enter. This is essentially the process of transfer onto the t-shirt or garment.
Once the item is removed from the heat source, the pores of the polymer substrate close up, trapping the ink inside. This ensures the designs is permanent and it also ensures the design is smooth to touch too. Something dye sublimation is well known for. Sublimation needs special ink, paper and specific substrates with polymer coating to work.
Why choose sublimation?
The dye sublimation process lets you print high quality digital images on a wide variety of garments and clothing items. It gives you lots of choice, which is why it’s so popular.
This technique allows your ideas to be displayed at their maximum potential, giving you lots of creativity and freedom of expression. It also gives the opportunity for all-over prints too – which are exciting and eye-catching.
The dye sublimation process also allows for really bright designs and bold colours too, which gives you plenty of opportunity to express your brand message.
Other benefits of dye sublimation include:
- Prints that clearly look like a photograph (popular for merchandise)
- Designs that don’t fade easily
- Prints don’t have texture and they are weightless
What are the best t-shirts for dye sublimation?
Dye sublimation needs polyester in order to complete the process of transfer. Because of this, sublimation will turn out best with only 100% polyester t-shirts. Luckily we have many options available in high-percentage polyester, to make the process of choosing easy.
Our polyester t-shirts have a comfortable and cool fit, with a style and shape most people will love wearing. The polyester composition also gives the t-shirt a great drape and shape to it, and means the fabric is super soft to touch and comfortable to wear.
With t-shirts that are split in their fabric, for example having some cotton and some polyester (for example 65/35 and 50/50 shirts) you’ll still struggle to get the transfer and colours you expect from dye sublimation. Since a percentage of the shirt is still cotton, the sublimation ink does not have enough polyester to make a bright and vivid transfer.
We have many 100% polyester shirts to choose from at Garment Printing, that work perfectly for the dye sublimation process and we’ll be happy to assist you in your printing project if you need or require advice or assistance. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.