What is dye sublimation?

Dye sublimation is a digital heat transfer process that transfers an image to a polyester garment or polyester coated substrate permanently. When heated to a high temperature, sublimation ink turns into a gas, allowing it to enter into the open pores of the polyester-coated item or polyester garment. Once the transfer paper is removed, the pores of the item cool and close up, trapping the ink (and image) inside the surface of the item. The sublimated image is a permanent application and will take on the texture and base color of the substrate. 

This process works only on white or very light garments and substrates. Cotton fabric or items that have not been specifically coated for this process are not compatible with sublimation. All of our sublimation blanks have been factory coated with sublimation polyester coating formulated specifically for this type of transfer process. 

Dye sublimation requires the following to get started: 

  • Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation ink
  • Color profile to correct color output from printer to paper to final substrate
  • Sublimation paper
  • Heat press machine or silicone wraps (for drinkware) 
  • Sublimation blanks or 100% white/light polyester garments 

Read more on Getting Started With Sublimation.

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