Sublimation printing is an increasingly popular printing method in recent years. Thanks to it, we can easily, cheaply and ecologically decorate our favorite items with graphics or inscriptions of our choice. In this article, we explain the sublimation printing technique – we invite you to read!
Sublimation printing – a phenomenon of popularity
Without a doubt, the modern world encourages us to emphasize our individuality. But more importantly, it gives us the tools to make it possible. One such tool is sublimation printing.
Who among us does not prefer to surround himself with individualized objects “with a soul” than anonymous, identical copies of the same thing devoid of traces of our identity? Personalized everyday items – wardrobe items, mugs or even mouse pads – allow us to feel better in our everyday environment, which becomes more friendly and “tamed”.
Personalized gadgets are also great as gifts for family and friends. If you are one of those people who usually have trouble figuring out what to give a loved one for a birthday or any other occasion, personalized items are a hit. Thanks to them, the recipient will know that you have chosen a gift for them consciously, taking the trouble to think about what they like and what would make them happy.
That is why personalized gadgets – T-shirts, mugs, pillows, hats and many more – with a print depicting your favorite movie character, band, selected quote or our own artistic expression have become so popular in recent years. Importantly, in this technology, it is possible to independently design a pattern that will be printed – all you need is a home computer and any graphic program, and the rest will be taken care of by sublimation printing specialists.
The sublimation technique is very willingly used in the case of the production of all company gadgets in enterprises that build their image, among others by through coherent visual communication. Small items with a specific print are also often given to participants of various conferences and events – it is a nice gift that will allow guests to remember the event and its hosts from the best side.
As you can see, there are many possible applications of the sublimation technique – so it’s time to explain what exactly it is all about.
What is sublimation printing?
In order to understand the essence of the processes that occur during sublimation printing, it is worth following the technology by which sublimation prints are produced.
The first step is to print the illustration or text that you want on the surface of the selected item using special inks on what is known as transfer paper . It is extremely important at this stage to properly prepare the image to be printed, especially if it is raster graphics, i.e. consisting of pixels. In this case, you should pay special attention to the resolution of the illustration – it is worth remembering that too intensive scaling of the image may cause a significant decrease in its resolution.
Sublimation printing called indirect printing
However, the entire technological process does not end there. Sublimation printing is called indirect printing for a reason – the aforementioned transfer paper is a kind of intermediary between the graphic file and the object on which the print is to be printed. The printed paper is inserted into a device called a thermal transfer press , which presses it against the substrate on which the graphics are to be placed – this is how the print is obtained.
The core of sublimation printing technology is the phenomenon of sublimation, i.e. a direct transition from a solid to a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid state. Dye particles on the transfer paper under the pressure of the press and high temperature penetrate as gas into the structure of the printing substrate, which affects the durability of the print – the pattern is somehow inside the fabric, and not printed on the outside. For each print, the temperature and press pressure values are selected separately, depending on the composition of the substrate, the equipment used, the type of printing, etc. Typically, the temperature level oscillates around 180-200 degrees Celsius, and the pressing time of the press is about 30-60 seconds.
The material on which the print is made is also important – the higher the content of polyester in it, the better the quality of the print and the color saturation will be . This regularity results from the fact that the dye molecules bind to the polyester fibres. This does not mean, however, that only such substrates are acceptable – sublimation printing can also be used for fabrics with an admixture of e.g. cotton, but it is worth remembering that it is on 100% polyester substrates that we will get the best print quality.
Another issue that needs to be clarified is the color of the prints. Sublimation technology uses semi-transparent dyes, the final color of which is influenced by the shade of the printed substrate. For this reason, the technique of sublimation printing works best for light fabrics – especially white ones. Similarly, it is impossible to print light motifs on dark fabrics. If we want to achieve such an effect, it is necessary to choose the way “around” – printing the entire white substrate with a light motif with a dark background.
Sublimation printing – the greatest advantage
Without any exaggeration, it can be said that the sublimation printing technique has conquered the printing market – it can be seen, for example, in the constantly growing number of companies offering similar services, which is reflected in the slogans “sublimation printing” or “sublimation printing” often found both on the streets and on the Internet. . Below are the main advantages of sublimation printing that have made so many people fall in love with this method:
High quality and durability
Regardless of whether we want to print a simple inscription on a selected item of clothing, or we want to decorate our t-shirts with complex, artistic graphics, sublimation printing will cope with this task. This technique allows for expressive colors and sharp contours of the print , and all shades and tonal transitions are rendered with extreme precision.
What’s more, prints made using the sublimation technique are extremely durable – they do not fade or crumble. What is extremely important in the case of clothing, the prints do not wash out, and the garments can be subjected to all activities appropriate for clothes – ironing, drying, folding, etc. Sublimation printing is also resistant to weather conditions, for example to waste – hence this technique is often used in printing items that are to be permanently placed outside, e.g. flags.
Ecological way of production
Sublimation dyes are produced on the basis of water, not solvent, which means that they are both completely harmless to the environment and safe for people . Elements of clothing with sublimation prints can be worn by both children and adults, without fear that they will be harmful to health in any way. Sublimation printouts do not emit any odor or cause clogging of fabric fibers, thanks to which these materials are breathable.
Sublimation prints are affordable for everyone – all due to the fact that this technology, apart from the heat press, does not require specialized and expensive equipment. In other printing techniques, it is the high costs of material preparation and equipment that make printing profitable only when we print many copies. Such a limitation does not exist in the case of the sublimation method, in which printing even single items is as profitable as in the case of large print runs.
Great flexibility and availability
One of the greatest advantages of the sublimation method is the possibility of using it on a huge number of substrates : on T-shirts, hats, lanyards, backpacks, pencil cases, tablecloths, mugs – the examples could be listed endlessly.
What’s more, it depends only on us what the print that we put on these items will look like – we can become artists for a moment and design a pattern to be printed on our own computer . In search of inspiration, Internet portals or social media will help us – everything depends only on our fantasy. Even if we use ready-made elements: images of our idols or famous quotes, we still have the opportunity to compose the print space according to our own taste, choose the colors ourselves, etc.
The fact that more and more people use the technology of sublimation in printing is evidenced by the fact that you can find places professionally printing with this method at almost every step. The only thing we have to do is to prepare a file with the printout we want to get, so that we can then enjoy the finished pattern on polyester T-shirts, lanyards, ceramics or other gadgets.
Our company also has equipment that allows you to create personalized prints on cups – when placing an order for toners for a minimum of PLN 500, this service is free of charge. Decorate your mug with photos of your family or a unique inscription or make your loved ones happy by giving them a nice gift!
Regardless of whether we intend to print the logo of our favorite band on a pencil case or decorate a T-shirt with a quote from our beloved movie – the sublimation method will work perfectly. The advantage of this technology is mainly its extraordinary simplicity – thanks to only the right temperature and pressure, we can get attractive prints on T-shirts, leashes, furniture covers or backpacks, and at attractive, low prices. Certainly, such personalized gadgets will be perfect as a gift for people close to us, and also for ourselves, surrounding ourselves with objects bearing traces of our likes and passions will give a lot of pleasure. All this means that sublimation printing can undoubtedly be considered a printing technology that meets modern needs.