Sublimation FAQ's

What time and temperature do I need to press for?

The time and temperature that you press for will depend on the product, you will need to confirm this with your sublimation blank supplier. You will also need to consider the pressure of the heat press machine. You will find a pressing time and temperature on the description of our sublimation blanks. The pressing times and temperatures are a guide only as it can differ depending on the heat press machine and blanks you are using. We suggest starting at the guide time and then increase the time and/or temperature by 5/10 seconds at a time to see what results you get. If the image gets brighter and more vibrant you know you are going in the right direction. If you start to see the transfer browning, then you are pressing for too long or the temperature is too high, and the transfer is starting to burn.

Can I use an iron instead of a heat press?

No. You need a continuous, even heat and pressure to be applied simultaneously to the entire surface area. This can only be effectively achieved using a heat press. We offer an affordable range of Heat press machines in different sizes so be sure to get one with a large enough surface area for the items you want to print onto.

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Do I need to load my ICC Profile?

Yes! If you want to achieve bright and vibrant colours, then loading your custom ICC profile is a MUST. The profile is custom made for the setup that you have including the printer, ink, and paper. The profile manages the colour and ensures that what you see on your screen is what you print and achieve when pressing your design. All our printer packages include the custom ICC Profile you will need to load to print.

Do I need design software, and which one is best?

You will need to load your ICC profile into software that can handle colour management. We use Adobe Photoshop, but you can use any design software that allows you to add a custom profile such as Adobe Illustrator, GIMP, CorelDRAW or Serif Affinity. You cannot use Microsoft Word, Paint, Silhouette studio or Cricut Design as they do NOT allow you to add a custom profile.

What products can I sublimate onto?

Sublimation blanks are coated and ready to receive the ink. Hard substrates such as slate, wood and glass need to be ‘sublimation ready’. Fabrics such as T-shirts, Tote bags, cushion covers etc need to be 100% polyester ideally (no less than 65%) to achieve a bright and vibrant transfer. You cannot sublimate onto cotton or dark fabrics. You can transfer your images onto pastel-coloured fabrics, but they may not be as bright, the darker the garment the more faded or ‘vintage’ the transfer will become.

Why can’t I sublimate on dark garments?

It isn’t possible to sublimate on dark coloured garments because there is no white sublimation ink. If you are wanting to print onto dark coloured fabrics, then Direct to Film printing (DTF) may be a better option for you. Click here to find out more information about DTF.

Can I coat my own products with sublimation coating spray?

Yes, it is possible to coat your own sublimation blanks with a coating spray. We supply the Subli-Glaze sublimation coating spray, this is a do-it-yourself coating solution designed to enable sublimation transfer on a wide range of surfaces such as ceramic, wood, slate and more. The spray is available in aerosol form for easy application. We use this for hard surfaces but don’t recommend this for coating clothing or fabric as getting an even coverage on these can be more difficult. This is a fun and exciting way to experiment with items and products that are not usually sold as ‘sublimation ready’ blanks and will help you to offer niche products when selling on your selling platforms.

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Are the print settings different for different paper I use?

We have a range of sublimation paper, some of these are recommended for hard substrates and some for soft substrates. The different paper coatings work better with different paper settings as this helps to manage the amount of ink we print onto the page. For example, Ink Express Subli-Sharp is 120gsm and works best on an Epson Matte paper setting whereas the Ink Express Subli-Textile paper is 100gsm high release and performs better on a plain paper setting. The specific paper settings can be found in the description of each paper type.

Why are my transfers coming out Blurry?

If your image is blurry or ‘ghosting’ then this is usually either down to the image moving position during the printing process or pressing the image too long. When pressing your image make sure that your design is taped down securely else the image can move when opening the heat press. This causes the sublimation ink to imprint in a slightly different spot and gives you the ghosting effect. The other reason why your image may be blurry is over pressing. This can be caused with either too much heat or time. You will simply need to decrease the heat and/or time to see if this resolves your problem.

Why are my transfers browning?

If your transfer is browning, then you are pressing for too long or your temperature is too high. We include the pressing time and temperature with all our sublimation blanks. This is a guide only and you may need to increase or decrease the time and temperature slightly depending on your heat press, but it gives you a good starting point. Too much pressure can also cause your sublimation blanks to become scorched so you may also want to consider reducing the pressure.

Why does the image on my screen differ to the final printed result?

Sublimation inks often change colour during the heat transfer process. It is possible that your print can look different to the image on your screen. When printing, your image should look dull and washed out. The heat then reacts with the ink to give you a brighter vibrant transfer. Your ICC profile will help to manage these colours. We recommend that during your testing stage you heat press one product to see the result before beginning to print a larger order.

Why Sublimation printing – are there any limitations?

Sublimation or dye sublimation printing has been used within the personalised and promotional printing market for years and is one of the most cost-effective methods of producing printed products. The main limitation to sublimation printing is that any fabrics that you need to print onto must contain at least 65% polyester, 100% ideally but you cannot print onto cotton. Another limitation is that you cannot print in white, so the white area of the design is not printed. Sublimation is therefore limited to white and pastel fabric printing; dark garments cannot be used. For those wanting the flexibility of printing onto other fabrics and using white ink take a look at Direct to Film printing.