What is a Sublimation Printer?

What is a Sublimation Printer?

Sublimation printing is the latest printing technique used to create high-quality images and graphics on apparels, home decor items, etc. Learn more about the applications and benefits of sublimation printing

If you're a retail entrepreneur or have an e-commerce store, you've probably heard of sublimation printing. This printing method is for you if you're looking for printed products with long-lasting and high-resolution colors.

But what is Sublimation Printing?

From printed apparel to advertising displays, sublimation printing has wide-scale applications whenever there's a need for vibrant and long-lasting graphics.

If you want to know more about this sublime printing alternative and want to create stellar graphics on clothing or accessories, read this article for everything about sublimation printing.

What is Sublimation Printing?

If the word 'sublimation' rings a bell, that's because there's a high chance that you've heard about it. The term 'Sublimation' essentially means when a solid material turns into a gas without going through the liquid phase.

Amongst the various printing methods, sublimation printing is arguably the most attractive of them all. Also known as 'all-over print,' this unique printing method transfers ink onto a product by using heat. The design is created on a gas-state product using a high-temperature heat press. This process is known as dye sublimation printing. It differs from other printing methods because there's no liquid phase involved, so there's no need to wait for liquid ink to dry on the product.

Naturally, sublimation printing has become a trend in the Print-On-Demand (POD) sector, with long-lasting products with distinct colors and high-resolution graphics.

The most common application of sublimation printing is on apparel and home decor products.


Sublimation Printing

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

Sublimation printing works by the transfer of graphics on objects using heat. The image is infused on the printing paper, optimizing them for quick and easy sublimation printing. The rest of the work is done by high-temperature heat transfers the image from the paper to the object.

The ink used in sublimation printing turns into gas due to the heat and is then combined with the object for permanent prints. Unlike traditional printing methods, the ink penetrates into the material instead of laying on the surface, resulting in permanent prints with a lesser risk of fading.

The fiber of the printed material gives access to the ink under heat. A solid print form is achieved after the ink cools down due to the application of pressure.

Sublimation printing is widely used in industries where a solid, long-lasting design is required with nuances. This printing technique is common in fashion, advertising, home decor, etc. Signages, business documents, coffee mugs, and keychains are typical examples of sublimation printing.

The Sublimation Printing Process

Although it may sound like a complicated process, sublimation printing is actually quite simple. The process works in a few easy steps:

  • The design is printed with sublimation ink onto the paper;
  • The blank object that's to be printed is placed in a jig;
  • The fabric is wrapped with the desired graphics;
  • The textile or garment is then subjected to a heat press;
  • The design is imprinted onto the fabric.

When is Sublimation Printing Used?

As mentioned above, sublimation printing is widely used across businesses and retail chains due to the durability and high-quality print they offer. Below is a list of all the products that are commonly printed using this method:

  • Fabrics

Clothing and apparels are amongst the most popular items that are due sublimated. Knot polyester fabrics like apparel, banners, home decor products, and woven polyester products like tents and custom bags are all designed using sublimation printing.

  • Home Decor

Businesses engaged in selling home decor products and interior designing commonly use sublimation printing. Ceramic floor tiles are a common example of this kind of printing.


  • Signages

Sublimation printing is also perfect for vinyl-based retractable banners, signages, and other advertising displays. Most shops with signages in front of their stores use this printing method.

  • Blank Products

Products without any design or prints are often called 'blanks.' Products like drinkware and cell phone covers use sublimation printing.

  • Photograph Printing

Photograph Printing is when a photographic image is printed on materials such as apparel and canvases. Sublimation printing is the best way to achieve high-quality photographic prints on objects.

  • Other Products

Rigid substrates, like glass, plastic, aluminum, etc., are also designed using sublimation printing.

Benefits of Sublimation Printing

One of the best printing methods out there, sublimation printing holds many benefits over traditional printing methods. They are as follows:

  • Long-Lasting Prints

Graphics and visuals created by this kind of printing don't crack or fade off even after regular usage.

  • Wash Resistant

Sublimation printing is majorly used in home decor, apparel, kitchenware, etc. These products are regularly washed but don't have any detrimental effect on the print.

  • Broad Application

Sublimation printing isn't just used on apparel and home decor products. They have wide-scale applications with many printing possibilities on items where customizations become an added feature.


Why Choose Sublimation Printing?

Although Sublimation printing can be more expensive than traditional printing methods, they do create better images and graphics that can be used for many years. The longevity of this printing type is another reason you should go for a sublimation printer.

Sublimation printing also leaves much room for creativity, as they can be printed on a broader range of materials than other printing procedures. When there's a need to print something that has to be delible for a long time, without the risk of fading due to washing, dye sublimation is the recommended printing solution for you.

Whether you're looking to use sublimation printing to create high-quality graphics or want to use it innovatively on any product, this type of printing is ideal for you and your business.

In Conclusion

Every printing process has its own benefits and disadvantages, and choosing the right printing technique depends on the type of printing you want and the material it's to be printed upon. These two factors will determine whether you should choose sublimation printing or an alternative painting method such as heat transfer screen printing, etc.

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