Sublimation Printing: What is it?
Dye Sublimation printing is a process where a digital image is printed using a printer that uses special sublimation inks. Once the image is on paper you place it on the surface of your polyester or poly coated item (ex. mug, wood panel, t-shirt, etc.). Using specialized equipment pressure and heat is applied until the inks turn into a gas. The same high temperature opens the pores of the poly coated item and allows the gas to enter. When the temperature drops, the pores close and the gas reverts to a solid state. It has now become a part of the poly coated item. The image actually bonds onto the surface of the product and the result is a colorful, durable and long lasting product. It is also smooth to the touch and is resistant to scratching unlike some other printing methods that merely print onto the surface of the item.
WHAT CAN BE SUBLIMATION PRINTED?
We currently offer the following items for sublimation printing.
Plaques, signs, coasters, tiles, mugs, wood panels and aluminum panels. Fabric items include totes, and white polyester t-shirts. A sublimation print on fabric is permanent, feels like part of the fabric with no 'hand' and will not crack, peel or fade.
WHAT CANNOT BE SUBLIMATION PRINTED?
Cotton fabric and garments - because dye sublimation printing is always done on polyester, or poly coated items for the reasons mentioned above. It is possible to sublimation print a cotton fabric but the image will wash out within a few washes, it will not be a permanent image in the way that it is on a 'man made' fabric.
WHY IS SUBLIMATION BETTER THAN OTHER SYSTEMS?
The advantage of sublimation printing is that the results are permanent. The transferred images are not on the surface of the substrate - they become part of the substrate itself.