Sublimation printing or heat transfer paper printing – which one should you use?
In this article:
- FAQs About Sublimation Printing
- FAQs about Heat Transfer Paper Printing
Sublimation Printing and Heat Transfer Paper Printing | What’s the Difference?
FAQs About Sublimation Printing
Compare sublimation printing and heat transfer paper printing today. Let’s begin with the first one.
What Is Sublimation Printing Process?
Both imprint methods use heat to transfer an image onto a blank T-shirt (or other pieces of clothing) and other promotional products. These can include coasters, mugs, mouse pads, and tumblers. The biggest difference is the mechanism in which the image transfers.
In the sublimation process, the heat you use when pressing releases the gases in the ink. It also opens the “pores” of the material. Once you let go of the pressure and the temperature cools, the gas then transforms back into solid. It then creates the imprint you want.
What Material Can Be Sublimated?
You need some porous materials for the process to work. For this reason, the best ones to use include polyester, ceramic tiles, and polyvinyl chloride (PVCs). You can also consider nylon, spandex, and Lycra.
Can sublimation printing be done in cotton? The answer is no if it’s 100% cotton. It still needs a combination of man-made polymer to allow the ink to adhere to the material. When it comes to garments, the best options are the light-colored or white ones.
Can Any Printer Do Sublimation?
No, you cannot do sublimation printing with the regular types of printers such as inkjet. First, you need special ink and paper to work on the project. It is a computer printer, though, that is capable of generating heat to transfer the dye to the material.
Is Sublimation Printing Durable?
Yes, it is. With sublimation, it doesn’t feel as if there’s an additional layer on top of the image. Because the ink adheres very well to the material, the imprint can last as long as the product itself.
How Much Does Sublimation Printing Cost?
Because it needs a special paper, printer, and software, sublimation printing has a higher startup cost. It means promotional products that use it such as branded drinkware can be pricier. The good news is if you buy in bulk, you can have a custom design at a more affordable cost. You can spread your budget among the items. Plus, you can look forward to a high-quality product or imprint.
You also have the option to buy blank shirts, mugs, bottles, etc. In other words, they don’t have an imprint yet. You can then have more control over the cost of the equipment.
FAQs about Heat Transfer Paper Printing
Hopefully, the answers above give you a better idea about sublimation printing. Now, let’s proceed with the other one.
What Is Heat Transfer Paper Printing?
Like sublimation, heat transfer printing needs a specific kind of paper (heat transfer paper). It is also reactive to heat. The process, though, is simpler than sublimation.
Once you have the design on the paper, you can then transfer it by applying heat directly. You can use a heat press or a hot iron (if you don’t have the equipment yet) for the task. Then you can slowly peel the paper from the material and allow the design to cool. Voila! You already have customized apparel.
What Kind of Printer Do You Use for Heat Transfer Paper?
The best printers are those that use pigmented ink, but the regular inkjet printers will do. Another type of printer option is a laser printer. If you already have one, then it means you can already begin printing. You just need to buy the heat transfer paper.
Note, though, the final result depends on many factors. These include whether you’re using a heat press or an iron, as well as the quality or performance of the printer.
Can You Reuse Heat Transfer Paper?
No, you cannot. The heat can dissolve the plastic lining of the paper to transfer the image. If you want to save money, you can have the same design for all or most of your materials.
How Long Does a Heat Transfer Paper Last?
Perhaps the actual question is, how long does the heat transfer paper imprint last? It varies. The type of paper you use can affect the result. So can the material. It also matters whether you used a heat press or an iron. The design may fade faster with the latter.
The way you wash your clothes can also impact the quality of the image over time. Experts advise washing the fabric inside out with cold water. It may not be advisable to combine them with other types of tough clothing such as jeans.
How does sublimation printing work? This video from Sublimonchis Mexico can help you:
When it comes to custom fabric printing or other similar projects, you can use heat to create the images. You also have two options, which are sublimation printing and heat transfer printing. Your choice now depends on your goal, the result you want, and your budget. Either way, you can have a lot of fun making your own designs and giving them away as promotional products.
Have you tried sublimation or heat transfer paper? Which one do you prefer? Share your comments below!