Tag Archives: dye sublimation

Print Production; The dye sublimation route

JS001 T shirt finished with dye sublimation printing for a permanent colour fast design

T shirt with design printed by dye sublimation technique in Cumbria

One of the processes we use for production of printed garments is dye sublimation. This process uses an ink image that is transferred by the use of heat into the fabric of the garment. Sublimation is the process of transforming the solid, dried, ink into a gas. The gas is then infused into the hollow polyester fibres of the garment where it cools and instantly solidifies to form a permanent image.

Traditionally polyester garments have been used primarily in the sports wear markets. Cricket, Rugby, Football, Basketball & Netball teams have used the sublimation route to achieve striking designs for team wear. Club badges, sponsor logos & details & numbers can be incorporated into a fabric which has ideal qualities for comfort & wear as well as visual effect.

Benefits of Dye Sublimation Printing for Garment Decoration

One of the other benefits of sublimation printing for garments is in the production of one-off & short run requirements: Because there are no screens to produce for manufacture it’s possible to take an off the shelf garment, for instance a gym or running T-Shirt or vest & add images as required very economically.

One of the traditional downsides is that garments were 100% polyester. That isn’t always a feel people want. In recent times manufacturers have started using cotton rich garments with a polyester micro coating. This gives the benefit of a cotton feel with the flexibility of sublimation printing. One of the latest is the Russel HD T – here’s a couple of points raised by them.

“There’s a myth that sublimation printing only works on 100% polyester. Not true. Our polycotton HD T is ideal for sublimation print – we’ve tested it and the results speak for themselves.”

One of the other traditional issues was the availability of colours. If you wanted white you were catered for. If you could live with a pastel shade you’d survive! But beyond that there wasn’t much to look at. Back to Russel

“There’s another myth that sublimation only works on white cloth. Not true. White might be best for colour reproduction but it’s not the only option – we offer 3 marl colours and they produce a fashionably muted, retro feel – just what a large chunk of the market demands.” 

Pros and Cons of Dye Sublimation

The issue with colour reproduction is valid; The base colour of the garment will affect the shade of colours added to the garment, White is perfect but, for instance, use a pink shirt & those clouds will be pink! Your yellows will have a peach look to them but if you want a finish which is permanent & won’t peel you’ve just found a perfect solution.