How Do Sublimation Printers Work?

Sublimation printing machines allow you to create your own custom printed t-shirts or hoodies.

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They print onto fabric using heat and pressure instead of ink. Sublimation is used for customizing clothing because the prints don’t fade away over time.

How Do Sublimation Printers Work

T-shirts are very versatile items – they can be worn literally everywhere. If you want to customize them, that’s where sublimation printing comes in handy. 

The machine allows you to choose from a variety of designs, colors and sizes and apply them directly to your favorite tee shirt.

Nowadays, there are various options to get started. So, we are here to help you sift through those options! Keep reading to see how sublimation printers work and how best to use them today. 

What Is Sublimation?

Sublimation is a process by which an image is transferred to a garment through heat and pressure. It’s commonly used when making custom apparel such as T-shirts.

The main advantage of this method is that the design will not fade away with time. This makes it perfect for creating personalized gifts.

The sublimation process works by heating the transfer paper until it becomes soft.

Then, the design is placed on top of the paper. Next, the paper is pressed against the item. When the temperature drops, the color transfers to the material.

Afterward, the transfer paper needs to be removed. To remove the design, just use water or soap and warm water. You can also use a dryer or iron.

What Is A Sublimation Printer?

Sublimation printing allows you to turn images into transparencies. This method can save hours compared to other methods such as laser cutting.

Nowadays, sublimation printers are becoming more affordable, allowing more consumers to turn their photos into stunning transparencies. 

If you want to get started, you might find that your local office supply store offers a variety of affordable options.

In case you didn’t already know, sublimation printing uses heat to transfer ink from the donor material onto the receiver substrate or film. 

While it’s possible to do sublimation printing using commercial printers, they tend to be pricey. Instead, you should look for a sublimation printer that has a built-in thermal head.

These models typically cost less and produce high-quality results.

To get started with sublimation printing, you’ll probably want to choose a budget-friendly model with a large print capacity. 

Look for features like auto-cutter, automatic feeder, and paper trimmer.

Also, try searching online to see what other customers think about a specific brand. Some DIY guides can help you create custom designs.

A sublimation printer is a device that uses heat and pressure to transfer a design to a piece of fabric.

These devices have been around since the early 1980s. However, they were mainly used for commercial purposes.

Today, these printers are available for home use. There are two types of sublimation printers: thermal and dye-sublimation.

Thermal printers use heat and pressure to transfer the image to the fabric. Dye-sublimation printers use heat and pressure along with chemicals to transfer the image to the fabric.

Advantages Of A Sublimation Printer 

There are many advantages to using a sublimation printer. Some of them include:

  • No need to wait for the ink to dry before wearing the product.
  • Designs last longer than other methods.
  • Prints stay vibrant even after washing.
  • Can be used to make customized products like mugs, towels, and more.

Disadvantages Of A Sublimation Printer 

However, there are disadvantages too. Some of them include the following:

  • May take up to 24 hours to complete the entire project.
  • Requires constant supervision.
  • Cannot be used to print multiple images.
  • Colors may vary depending on the type of fabric being used.

Before buying one, consider all the pros and cons listed above. 

How Does A Sublimation Printer Work?

To understand how a sublimation printer works, let us first discuss the different components involved.

First, we’ll talk about the materials needed to produce the final product. The most important part of any sublimation printer is the transfer paper.

This paper has a special coating that allows the ink to stick to it. Once the ink is applied, the paper is heated until the ink melts.

Next, the design is printed onto the paper. Afterward, the paper is placed on top of a substrate.

The user presses the paper down so that the ink sticks to the substrate. Finally, the paper is removed.

Then, we’ll move on to the heat source. Most sublimation printers use a heated bed. This is where the actual printing takes place. 

This step involves applying heat and pressure to the substrate. In this case, the heat is transferred from the bed to the substrate through the transfer paper.

Finally, we’ll discuss the press plate. This is what presses the transfer paper against the fabric. You usually use a roller to apply pressure to the paper.

Your sublimation printer will also come with an instruction manual for you to follow.

We always recommend checking this and following the instructions to ensure that you are using your printer correctly. 

What Is The Difference Between Sublimation And Digital Printing?

In general, digital printing refers to any printing technique that does not involve heat. Inkjet printers, laser printers, and direct-to-garment (D2G) printers fall under this category.

On the other hand, sublimation printers use heat to transfer the design onto the fabric. They’re considered a form of screen printing.

Why Is Sublimation Printing Better Than Digital Printing?

Sublimation printing has several benefits over digital printing. Some of them include faster production times, better quality prints, and no fading.

When compared to inkjet printers, sublimation printers offer higher resolution. In addition, the ink is applied in a way that creates a smooth finish.

When compared to laser printers, sublimation printing offers a much wider range of colors. Additionally, it produces sharper designs.

When compared to D2G printers, sublimation offers a more durable product. This means that you don’t have to worry about the design coming off your clothing.

Why Should You Get A Sublimation Printer?

If you’re looking for ways to personalize your wardrobe, then a sublimation printer is exactly what you need.

Whether you want to give something unique to someone special or simply add a new design to your collection, a sublimation printer will help you achieve your goal.

You can use it to create custom apparel such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bags, jackets, and much more.

You can also use it to make custom accessories like key chains, mouse pads, pens, and more.

When it comes to designing, you can select from hundreds of free templates online or download designs from various sources.

When printing, you can choose between several different sizes. For example, you can print small, medium, large, extra-large, and XXL.

Some models come with built-in storage so you don’t have to worry about carrying around bulky items.

Some models also allow you to share designs via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

How Do You Get Started With A Sublimation Printer?

To get started, you’ll first need to purchase the appropriate supplies.

Next, you’ll need to set up the machine. This usually involves placing an adhesive onto the back of the fabric. Afterward, place the design onto the adhesive. Finally, press down firmly.

After this step, the process is done. Now, you can start printing!

The best part about sublimation printers is that they are easy to operate. All you have to do is follow the instructions carefully.

Once you’ve completed the steps, you’ll see the results immediately. You can remove the design from the fabric by peeling off the backing paper.

Now, you can wear the item right away. If you want to keep the design, just wash the item in cold water.

When Should I Use Sublimation Printing?

You should consider getting a sublimation printer if you have a lot of ideas about what kind of designs you would like to make. There are many different types of designs available. These include:

  • Textures
  • Patterns
  • Photos
  • Graphics
  • Designs

There are two ways to go about choosing one. First, you could browse online stores to find out more information about different models. Alternatively, you can ask friends who already have one.

What Should You Consider When Looking For A Sublimation Printer?

If you’re looking to buy a sublimation printer, then you’ll need to know what features to look for first. Here are some things to keep in mind:


Most sublimation printers come in small, medium, large, and XL sizes.


Some companies offer free shipping while others charge extra. Keep in mind your budget to ensure that you are purchasing a sublimation printer that you can afford. 


Look for a model that has a built-in screen so you can preview the design before printing. Also, check whether it includes a USB port so you can connect your computer.


Make sure the warranty covers any damage caused by normal wear and tear. You will also want to check how long the warranty period lasts to avoid getting caught out should anything go wrong.

Print Speed 

How fast does the machine print?

Color Quality 

Does the device produce high-quality images?

Once you’ve made up your mind, you can start shopping around.

Where Can You Buy A Sublimation Printer?

The best place to buy a sublimation printer is at an office supply store. You can often find them in the photo section of stores like Office Depot and Staples.

Most of these printers will come with everything you need to get started. They usually include:

  • Thermal Head
  • Paper Tray
  • Ink Cartridges
  • Manual
  • Software

If you don’t have access to an office supply store, there are several places where you can purchase a sublimation printer on Amazon. Just make sure that you read reviews before making a purchase.

How Much Do Sublimation Printers Cost?

Prices vary depending on the size of the model, but most cost between $200 and $400. However, prices may differ based on factors such as brand, color, and type of fabric.

Creating A T-Shirt Design With A Sublimation Printer

Now that we know the basics, let’s go over the steps to create a unique t-shirt.

Step 1 – Choose Your Fabric

Choose the right fabric for your design. Remember, cotton fabrics are best for sublimation prints.

Cotton is light in weight and breathable. It does not wrinkle easily. For instance, you could choose a 100% cotton t-shirt. Or, if you want something lighter, then opt for a 50/50 blend.

Polyester is great for shirts that require durability. It has a smooth finish and is easy to clean.

Step 2 – Cut Out Your Design

Cut out your design using an Exacto knife. Make sure to cut only through the transfer paper. Do not cut into the fabric itself.

Step 3 – Place Transfer Paper On Top Of Fabric

Place the transfer paper on top of the fabric. Be careful not to get any wrinkles. Also, make sure to leave enough space between the transfer paper and the edge of the fabric.

Step 4 – Heat Press Plate And Bed

Place the press plate on the heated bed. Then, put the fabric on top of it. Next, press down firmly.

Step 5 – Wait For Printing To Complete

Wait until the whole process is done. You can check this by looking at the backside of the fabric. If there is no imprint, then the job is finished.

Step 6 – Remove Transfer Paper From Fabric

Once the print is completed, remove the transfer paper from the fabric. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp object to carefully pull off the paper.

Step 7 – Clean Up Any Remaining Ink

Clean up any remaining ink by rubbing the fabric with a damp cloth.

Step 8 – Store Away After Completion

Store away the printed shirt after completion. Keep it in a cool, dark area.

Can I Customize My Design With A Sublimation Printer?

Yes! With a sublimation printer, you can create unique prints using your photos and graphics.

All you need to do is upload your file onto the website and select the desired size. Afterward, you can preview the design. 

If you want to change anything, click “Print” again. Many companies offer their designs to help you create personalized products. 

Some websites let you browse through hundreds of options before selecting the ones you like best. Other sites offer free templates so you can create your designs.

Is It Safe to Wear Printed Clothing?

Yes! The only thing you need to worry about is washing the items after wearing them. Otherwise, they won’t harm you.

What Are the Benefits Of Using A Sublimation Printer?

Sublimation printers are great because they allow you to create customized products.

They don’t require expensive equipment and have a low price tag. In addition, the process is easy and quick.

The main benefit of this method is that you can customize your design easily. This means that you can choose from thousands of designs.

Sublimation printers are also eco-friendly. They use less ink than other methods since they don’t involve heat.

Another advantage is that you don’t need to wait long to get your product printed. Once you place an order, you will receive it within 24 hours.

However, there are disadvantages too. For example, you cannot add text or logos to the design.

Also, you cannot save multiple files at once. Instead, you must print each image separately.

What Is The Best Way To Store Fabric Products?

Fabric products should be stored in a cool, dry place. To prevent fading, make sure you store them away from direct sunlight.

You can also use plastic bags to protect your items. You can even wrap them with tissue paper to avoid wrinkles.

Finally, if you plan to sell your products online, you should consider including a description of the item. This way, customers will know exactly what they are buying.

Do You Need Special Training To Use A Sublimation Printer?

No. Anyone can learn how to use one of these devices. However, you’ll need some basic knowledge of Photoshop or another photo editing software.

If you’re new to digital photography, you might find it difficult to edit your pictures. That’s why we recommend starting with simple tasks first.

For instance, you could try creating a collage of your favorite photographs. Or you could take a picture of yourself and then cut out different parts of your face.

Afterward, you can use those images to create a custom design.

What Kinds Of Fabrics Can Be Used With Sublimation Printers?

There are many types of fabrics available for sublimation printing. Some examples include:

  • Silk
  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Tencel
  • Leather
  • Nylon

What Type Of Ink Do Sublimation Printers Use?

Most sublimation printers use thermal transfer technology. This type of ink uses heat to transfer the color from the fabric to the surface.

In addition, you can use any kind of ink on a sublimation printer. However, most manufacturers suggest using dye-based ink. This is because it produces vibrant colors.

What Size Should I Print My Designs on?

It depends on the purpose of your project. For example, if you’re planning to give a gift, you may want to print small pieces.

On the other hand, if you’re selling your creations, you should go for large sizes.

Can I Make Money Selling Customized T-Shirts Online?

Of course! There are many ways to earn money by selling t-shirts online. Some people start their businesses while others sell their designs through social media sites like Facebook.

In any case, you shouldn’t expect to make big profits right away. It takes time to build up a loyal customer base.

Most people who started selling t-shirts online never made much money. But over time, they managed to turn their hobby into a full-time job.

Are Sublimation Printers Safe?

Yes, they are safe to use. Unlike laser printers, sublimation printers don’t emit harmful rays. Also, you won’t have to worry about running out of toner.

Sublimation printers use dye instead of ink. So, they won’t fade as easily. In addition, they last longer than conventional printers.

Sublimation printers are not only safer but they also produce higher quality prints. They can reproduce almost every type of material.

This means that you can print on anything from leather to vinyl. And since they require no heat, you can use them to print on delicate materials such as silk.

Where Can You Sell Your Custom Designs?

Many websites allow people to sell their custom designs. Some sites even offer free templates so that you can design your products without having to pay any money upfront. Check out sites such as Etsy and Shopify to get started.


Sublimation printers aren’t just fun gadgets. They can help you earn extra cash. If you’re looking for an easy way to make money, you should check out this product.

Michael Moore

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