One of the latest decorating techniques to be added to our multitude of decoration processes is the ability to do an all over dye sublimation print. Sublimation is a process for decorating polyester fabrics and materials. Is is accomplished by printing a special ink onto transfer paper, applying that paper to a substrate and then applying heat and pressure to the material. The result is a soft-hand print and excellent color reproduction.
This technique works best on white, or light colored polyester fabric, with a minimum polyester content of 50%. Not only is the technique exciting, the fact that we have a print area of 60" x 40" makes it even better. You can now offer an all over print for garments, full front or full back print for garments, patches, mouse pads, banners and much more to your customers and totally wow them!!
As you can see from the samples, the colors can be made very vibrant or more subdued, based on the look you are trying to achieve. As you are selling this exciting technique to your customers, it is important to let them know that with garment decoration there will be imperfections in the print, created by the wrinkles in the garments, making each piece a unique piece of art.
Printing the Paper
The production department prints out a sheet of paper that has the front and back imprint for your garment. Since the paper isn’t reusable, each garment in the order has a separate sheet printed for it.
Once the sheets are printed they are placed (so the front and back design match each other) with the garment in between. The paper and garment then go under the heat press where they cook at 350 to 400 degrees for about 30 seconds. Under the heat and pressure the ink on the paper changes into a gas and bonds with the polyester fibers in the garment. Garments with a higher percentage of polyester will result in a much better print.
After pressing the paper is removed from the garment leaving us with a vibrant print with a very soft hand.
Character Marks (imperfections)
Most garments will not lay perfectly flat when we prep them. As a result, any wrinkles on the garment won’t have ink applied to them. These areas will remain the original color of the garment. This is a standard part of the sublimation process. Think of your garments as being individually unique products.
Colored garments can be sublimated. However, there are a few things to consider here: