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Understanding How Sublimation Printing Works

Sublimation printing is a process that transforms a design from a digital file into a full-color, picture perfect design on your clothing. This process is what makes sublimation so popular with the clothing industry and those looking to start their own clothing brand. The vibrant colors and sharpness of the designs that come out of sublimation printing is unmatched and is something that every clothing brand should consider. In this article we will discuss the basics of sublimation printing, what types of images and clothing it is best suited for and how to go about starting with sublimation printing in your own business.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a dye-based printing process that is used to print designs onto t-shirts, mugs, and other items. This process involves transferring an image from a heat press machine to a garment or other material using heat and pressure. During the process, a unique type of dye is applied to a special type of paper and then placed on the fabric or item to be printed. Heat and pressure cause the dye to “sublimate,” or change state from a solid to a gas, and bond the image to the fabric or item.

What Materials can You Print with Sublimation?

The materials you can print with sublimation are limited to synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and some blends. It is also worth noting that not all polyester and nylon fabrics are created equal and you should only use fabrics specifically designed for sublimation printing. Depending on the specific fabric being printed, there may be restrictions on which types of designs can be printed, so it is important to investigate beforehand.

What Types of Images Can You Print?

Sublimation printing is an excellent choice for full-color designs, photographs, and multi-colored logos. It produces vibrant colors that are very difficult to achieve with other printing processes. Additionally, since it is a digital process, it is very easy to make changes to designs, as well as create mockups. Therefore, you can experiment with different colors, fonts, and images in order to find the perfect design for your clothing.

Sublimation Printer & Transfer Paper

The type of printer and transfer paper you use for sublimation printing is very important for its success. Sublimation printers are typically large format printers, with special inks that can handle the heat of the printing process. High-quality sublimation papers are also important, as they are able to withstand the heat and pressure necessary to properly transfer the image onto the fabric.

Setting Up a Sublimation System

The key to setting up a successful sublimation system is to make sure that your equipment, printing items, and fabrics are all up to par. In other words, if you are using a high-end sublimation printer, you will want to make sure that you are also using a high-quality transfer paper and special inks that are designed to work with that particular printer. The correct combination of equipment, fabrics, and transfer paper will ensure that your designs come out looking the way you want them to.

Tips for Starting with Sublimation Printing

When starting with sublimation printing for the first time, there are a few tips and tricks that can make the process easier and more successful. First, make sure to pre-test all fabrics that you plan to use with your printer, to ensure that you get the best possible results. Be aware of any instructions specific to your printer or transfer paper, as they may vary depending on which combination you choose. As you become more familiar with the process, start experimenting with different fabrics and designs in order to maximize the full potential of your printing.


Sublimation printing is an excellent choice for those looking to bring their designs to life in vibrant, full-color prints. With the right equipment, transfer paper, and fabrics, you can start printing beautiful, custom designs on virtually any item. Experimenting with different colors and fabric combinations can help you create unique and eye-catching designs for your clothing brand. For those looking to start a clothing brand, sublimation printing in Canada is one of the best ways to make their designs become a reality, and for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.


For more information on how to get the most out of sublimation printing, visit DAD’s Printing for more information.

With an in-depth understanding of Quality Control, Apparel Production and experience in warehousing and transportation all over the world, the Dads Printing Team is dedicated to making your Canadian Apparel production a seamless process, no matter the product or the print!

Key advantages to working with Dads Printing:

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