What is Dye Sublimation?

Do you know what sublimation is?… how it works and what it’s used for?

Hmm, something tells us you came here with the hopes we’d have answers to that.

Well, you thought right. We do have answers. It will take a little explaining, though, so pull up a chair and settle in — we’ll tell you all about it!

Why Sublimation, and Not Something Else?

Why would you choose dye sublimation printing over other methods? Well, the answer has a lot to do with numbers.

You see, sublimation printing is a low risk, low cost option for beginners to dip their toe into the apparel (or other product) decoration.

You can be up and running in just one day — for as little as $1,375! We’re not even kidding, you can see for yourself by checking out this basic sublimation kit.

This kit includes everything one would need to get set up!

But numbers and speed are not the only reasons you’d want to go with dye sublimation. Quality is the next thing that sets dye sublimation apart from other methods.

It’s not to say that other printing methods are bad… but for the money, the prints this kit creates are like eye candy — sharp, vivid, and super duper detailed!

How does it do that? Well, let’s talk about that next.

How Does Dye Sublimation Printing Work?

So, the BIG question is, how does sublimation work? Well… the answer is quite simple even though it can get very technical.

To give you a rough visualization, imagine you have a super cool design you want to put on your favorite t-shirt.

Step one in making this a reality is preparing your design for printing. Think of it as a design doctor’s appointment! Your design must pass a series of ‘checkups’ before it can transfer to your shirt successfully. This includes resolution check, color harmony check, size, and placement.

Luckily, you can do this through the software that comes with the Sawgrass SG500 or SG1000 printers.

Once you’ve done this, now comes the fun part — printing out this design. You would send your freshly made design to the machine, load it up with a sublimation paper, and press print. And in a few short moments, you’d have it printed out and ready for application.

Alright, now, can you tell us what comes next?

You got it, it’s time for some heat! So, pull out your heat press, dust it off, and heat it up to the desired temperature. Then, place your shirt on the bottom platen of the heat press and close down the lid for a few seconds.

And there you have it, you’ve just virtually decorated your favorite t-shirt!

List of Basic Supplies You’ll Need for Sublimation

Now that you understand how sublimation printing roughly works and why choose it over other methods, let’s move on to the list of things you’ll need to make it all work.

We don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but again, everything you need is right there in the box with the sublimation kit we just talked about.

Let’s just go over each item one-by-one.

Heat Press – you’ll need heat and pressure to transfer your designs onto various materials. And nothing is better suited for the job than a good old heat press.

Sublimation Paper – next, you’ll need a sublimation paper. It’s a special kind of paper that’s designed to hold sublimation inks (your design) and transfer them on your materials once in contact with heat and pressure.

Finishing Sheets – they may look like regular (thin square sheets) of paper, but they serve a different purpose. You’re supposed to put one between the image and the platen during the final press. It’s like icing on the cake for the overall look.

Clear Heat Tape – is a handy little tool that helps you hold down the sublimation paper in place on the material. You don’t want your ‘’sandwich’’ to shift or move around during the heat transfer process, and produce unwanted results, like ghosting, color bleeds and other unwanted effects.

Sublimation Printer – last, but certainly not least, you’ll need a decent sublimation printer so you can print cool designs on things like t-shirts, mugs, flip-flops, ornaments, awards, or anything else you have in mind.

Sublimation Blanks – last, but certainly not least, you’ll need blanks that are specifically designed for sublimation printing. These blanks are typically made of polyester or have a polymer coating that allows them to bond with sublimation ink.

For one-on-one help simply call 800-891-1094 or live chat with one of our pros!