What is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation printing, also known as dye sublimation printing, is a popular printing method for transferring images onto suitable materials. Typical printing methods involve a step with water, where the solid turns to water before a gaseous state. Sublimation printing does not involve the liquid step but goes right from solid to gas due to a chemical reaction (like dry ice).
This typically involves the use of a digital printer to produce images on sublimation transfer paper with sublimation ink. The sublimation paper is then placed into a heat press with the material and exposed to high temperatures of about 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the ink and transfer material turn from solid to gas. Once they are in a gas state, they permeate the fibers of the material.
When the heat is removed from the transfer paper and substrate, the ink that has permeated the fibers solidifies and is locked permanently into place by the transfer material. Not only does the heat release the gas from the sublimation ink, but it opens the pores of the material you are transferring the image to. Once the pressure and heat are released, the sublimation ink returns to its solid state and the fabric pores close, trapping the ink inside.
Sublimation products are currently in high demand due to the ease of production and wide range of customization options available. Most common sublimation products are:
Coffee mugs with company logos
T-shirts (round neck/polo)
Along with being pleasant to the eye, these products are common among corporate firms who focus on marketing and branding. Such products are commonly used for distribution to employees or as gifts to clients.