What You Need to Know about Sublimation for Beginners

If you’re new to sublimation or just bought a sublimation printer and want to learn more, this article is for you!

For beginners to sublimation, you may be working with different materials like t-shirts, hoodies, hats, socks, and a range of other materials.

While you can learn a lot about sublimation printers from sources and platforms like YouTube, Blogs, and Reddit – but it’s also vital to get your hands “dirty” through some trial and error.

This article covers sublimation for beginners and looks at some of the common questions with sublimation for any skill level! We offer some opportunities to improve on sublimation for beginners and answer some common questions and sublimation FAQs.

You can also check out Colman & Company guide to starting a business with a sublimation printer!

What is Sublimation?

Before we get into our common sublimation printer questions, here’s a brief explanation of sublimation.

The process of transferring images onto different materials. That’s it. Sublimation transfers dyes to various materials and fabrics to create an image digitally.

The sublimation process uses a program such as Photoshop to make an image that is printed onto paper using specialized sublimation ink.

Heat and pressure are applied to transfer the digital print image onto the material permanently.

Benefits of Sublimation Printing

Why choose sublimation printing over other methods of image transferring? You’ve probably heard of screen printing, embroidery, vinyl transfers, and direct-to-fabric printing. So, why hone your skills at sublimation?

  • Lower Cost
  • Higher Quality
  • Time-Saving

The Cost of Sublimation Printing

Direct garment printing, embroidery, screen printing, and other methods of transferring images can involve high start-up costs. The price of these printers and the space required can run you into the ground before you even get your business going!

On the other hand, sublimation printers are available for beginners at a much lower price point. You’ll also need much less workspace. All you’ll need to get started is your printer, heat press, ink, and some creative design ideas!

High-Quality Printing

Another significant advantage to working with sublimation printing is the higher quality. While other printing methods will have limitations, sublimation offers the capability to print as many colors and complex designs as you can imagine and create.

Sublimation printing creates higher quality, detailed images directly onto any material of your choice.

Save on Time

The process of sublimation is faster and more efficient than other printing or transfer methods. With a high-quality printer like the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000 , you can save on printing time and production costs without sacrificing the products’ quality.

For small to medium orders, sublimation transferring will provide a significantly better profit margin thanks to low production costs.

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What Materials do I need as a Beginner to Sublimation?

Getting set up for heat transfer production is easier than you may think! Here are a few materials and tools you’ll need before you begin:

These are the 2 main products you’ll need to start printing:

You may also want to invest in heat-resistant gloves, a lint roller, a dedicated workspace, and heat-resistant tape.

What Products can Sublimation Printing Create?

Heat transfer or sublimation can work on any materials with a high polymer content. Fabrics like nylon, spandex, and polymer are all great candidates!

Other materials such as ceramic and aluminum can also work when coated in a polymer material to accept the sublimation ink.

Many blank products will be advertised as “sublimation ready,” which means you can use them for printing. Check out Colman & Company’s range of wholesale blanks, including:

Does Fabric Need to be 100% Polyester?

Not necessarily!

Polyester is one of the best fabrics for sublimation for beginners and will yield high-quality transfers. However, it’s not the only option. Here are some basic rules:

What is the Best Sublimation Software?

When choosing software for your design creation, it may seem like there are too many to choose from. Which software will work best for your unique purpose and production?

But typically with the Sawgrass SG1000 for example, you get Creative Studio software included in the bundle.

Can I Transfer on Dark Colored Garments?

You can transfer using the sublimation method to darker fabrics. The problem, however, is that the image may not be visible. Depending on the color of ink, dark-colored garments aren’t usually viable for heat transfer images.

For sublimation beginners, it’s better to stick to white or light-colored materials!

If a client firmly pushes for darker garments, you’ll need to look into a different kind of transfer printer, like the DigitalHeat FX white toner printers – more expensive options, but more versatile too!

How to Start a Business with a Sublimation Printer

To get started with creating with heat transfer methods and sublimation techniques, check out the variety of tools and products on Colman & Company’s custom apparel supply shop. Or, visit our guide on starting a business with a ColDesi sublimation printer!