How to make sublimation shirts?

How to make sublimation shirts?

Welcome to the world of sublimation printing, where you can produce high-quality, full-color designs that will last as long as the shirt itself. I’m your sublimation printing coach, and I’m here to help you navigate this wonderful world.

What is Sublimation Printing?

So, let's start with the basics. Sublimation printing is a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials like polyester and polymer-coated surfaces. Unlike screen printing or vinyl heat transfers, the dye becomes a part of the fabric, meaning that the image won't crack or fade over time. Plus, sublimation printing allows you to print full-color designs with gradients and shading that would be impossible to achieve with other methods.

Advantages of sublimation printing over other printing methods

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Why should I use sublimation printing for shirts when I can just use screen printing or vinyl heat transfers?" Well, sublimation printing is fast and easy, so you can produce a high volume of shirts in a short amount of time. Also, there is no texture or weight added to the shirt, which makes it a great option for those who are looking for a comfortable and breathable shirt.

So, how do you get started with sublimation printing for shirts?

  • You'll need a sublimation printer.
  • There are various models available, so it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your business. But don't worry, I'm here to help you through the process. When choosing a sublimation printer, consider the size, speed, and cost. If you're only printing small designs, then a smaller printer might be sufficient. However, if you want to print all-over designs, then you'll need a larger printer. Some printers are faster than others, so consider your production needs when choosing a printer.

  • You'll also need sublimation ink, transfer paper, and a heat press.
  • Don't worry if it all sounds intimidating – I'm here to help you through the process!

    Sublimation ink is specially formulated to work with sublimation transfer paper and the heat press. It is designed to convert from a solid to a gas state when exposed to high temperatures and pressure, which allows it to bond with the surface of the material being printed on. The ink must be compatible with your specific printer, and it comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to create vibrant and vivid designs.

    Transfer paper is used to transfer the design from the printed sheet to the final product, such as a t-shirt, mug, or keychain. The paper is coated with a special polymer that allows the ink to bond with the material. It is important to choose the correct type of transfer paper for the material you are printing on, as different materials require different types of paper.

    Heat press is used to apply heat and pressure to the transfer paper and material, allowing the ink to transfer onto the final product. A heat press is necessary to achieve the high temperatures and pressure required for the sublimation process to work effectively. It is important to choose a heat press with the appropriate temperature and pressure settings for your specific materials and ink.

    In summary, sublimation ink, transfer paper, and a heat press are all essential materials for achieving high-quality, long-lasting prints in sublimation printing. Without these materials, it would be impossible to transfer designs onto various materials, and the resulting prints would be of poor quality and durability.

    Now that you have the equipment, let's talk about designing your sublimation shirts.

    Designing for Sublimation Printing

    The great thing about sublimation printing is that you can print just about anything you can imagine. From quirky sayings to stunning illustrations, the possibilities are endless. If you're feeling stuck, try browsing design websites or social media for inspiration. You can also ask your customers what kind of designs they'd like to see.

    As of today, technological advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence have made it possible for individuals to leverage powerful AI tools, such as Midjourney, to design virtually anything you desire. With the help of these cutting-edge tools, you can now create and customize a wide range of digital and physical products, from websites and mobile applications to clothing and furniture. The incredible versatility and flexibility of these AI-based design tools provide an unprecedented level of creative freedom and empowerment, enabling people to bring their ideas to life with ease and efficiency.

    So, if you're looking to explore your creativity and take your design skills to the next level, there's no better time than now to leverage the power of AI-based design tools like Midjourney.

    When designing for sublimation printing, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since the dye becomes a part of the fabric, you'll want to avoid using designs with a lot of white space. You'll also want to make sure your designs are high-resolution and free of any jagged edges or pixelation.

    Sublimation printing is perfect for creating customized shirts for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, or family reunions. You can print names, dates, or even photos onto the shirts to make them truly unique.

    What shirts materials are good for sublimation printing? 

    It's important to note that sublimation printing works best on polyester fabrics as the dye sublimation process requires a material that can absorb and retain the ink. Therefore, if you're looking to create high-quality, vibrant and long-lasting designs, choosing a polyester shirt is the way to go.

    In particular, materials such as 70- 100% polyester, polyester blends, and moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal for sublimation printing. These materials not only offer excellent color vibrancy and saturation, but they also wick moisture away from the body, making them comfortable to wear during sports and other physical activities.

    It's worth noting that cotton and other natural fabrics are not suitable for sublimation printing as they do not have the necessary properties to absorb and retain the ink.

    Remember, always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for temperature and pressure settings to ensure the best outcome for your designs.



    Like with any new skill or technique, it takes practice and patience to master sublimation printing. Don't get discouraged if your first few attempts don't come out exactly how you envisioned them. Keep learning and experimenting, and soon you'll be producing amazing designs that will make your business stand out from the crowd.

    And who knows? Maybe you'll even discover new and unique ways to use sublimation printing that haven't been explored yet. The possibilities truly are endless, and I can't wait to see what you create with this incredible printing method.

    So, let's get started! Get yourself a sublimation printer, some transfer paper, and a heat press, and let's start making some beautiful shirts.

    Remember, I'm here to help you every step of the way. 

    If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest strategies for growing, scaling, and achieving success in the sublimation printing industry, be sure to join my Facebook group and subscribe to my newsletter.

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    Together, we can take your t-shirt printing business to the next level with sublimation printing.

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