Do you want to make t-shirts with any design that you wanted or are you thinking about starting a brand of customized t-shirts? Then you’re at the right place. Today I am going to tell you some ways to learn sublimation on dark shirts or hoodies.
As a beginner, when I started doing sublimation I ended up frustrated and things didn’t work for me. But then, I ’ve done lots of experimenting and learn how things really work. But, I wanted to save you from any hassle. That’s why in this post, I am going to share the right ways and material with you, that you’ll require to do sublimation of any desired design on your dark t-shirts.
Shirt Stuff That Is Best For Sublimation Printing
Before I tell you how to sublimate on Dark shirts, it’s important to know which kind of stuff is best for sublimation printing. The one made up of 100% polyester or atleast 68% polyester is the best shirt for sublimation, because for proper working sublimation dyes form a bond with polyester. So, if you use a blended fabric such as poly cotton it will create slightly less vivid prints.
Ways to Sublimate on Dark Shirts
I am going to tell you two ways for sublimation on dark shirts, with bleach and without bleach. Both ways work well, but sublimation by bleaching is a cheap choice and causes a bit of hassle while the way without bleach uses Siser EasySubli HTV sheet and inkjet printer also you may read the different between inkjet and laser printer. This way is expensive but absolutely flawless. So, let’s have a look at how both ways work.
1. Sublimation printing on Dark shirts with Bleach:
Here’s the list of items that are going to be required to do sublimation with bleach.
- A sublimation printer
- A heat press machine
- Some dark-colored bleached t-shirt
- Sublimation ink
- Sublimation paper
- Vinyl cutter (for print then cut)
- Cricut mat
- Adhesive vinyl sheet
- High heat tape
- Parchment paper or Teflon sheet
The procedure for this way of sublimation on dark shirts is quite simple but you need to follow all the steps carefully so you can avoid any hassle and get worthy results. Before starting the procedure, make sure to use a lint roller on your shirt. It will pick up all the dirt and debris from fabric fibers. So your sublimation will come out more clean and consistent.
Step 1 – Prepare the design
Firstly, prepare the design of your own choice in photoshop or any other online store, that you wanted to sublimate on your shirt. But if you have a modern printer such as Epson Sublimation printers, they have their own design software. Make sure to set the settings of the printer at “High quality” so your sublimation looks great on t-shirts. Then print the sublimation paper using sublimation ink. And ensure to mirror the image.
Step 2 – Stick the sublimation paper on vinyl mat
Now, Stick the sublimation paper on the vinyl mat to load it into the Cricut machine. After loading cut the image and weed the image from peeling off the vinyl matte.
Step 3 – Apply adhesive vinyl sheet on t-shirt
Now, take the adhesive vinyl sheet and cut it according to the design, using a vinyl cutter. Make sure you apply it right in the center of the t-shirt.
Step 4 – Bleach the specific part of t-shirt
Let’s bleach that specific part of the t-shirt where you are going to sublimate. Leave it for about 15 minutes. After bleaching, remove the parchment paper and adhesive vinyl from the shirt. Now, you can see the white part of the shirt.
Step 5 – Apply printed sublimation paper
Next, you have to apply the printed sublimation paper onto the bleached design area of the t-shirt. Tape the printed sublimation paper carefully at the right place, using heat-resistant tape.
Step 6 – Heat press the design
Now, place the parchment paper over the top of the design. Apply heat press to the design at 385 degrees fahrenheit for a sharp 60 seconds. I used Cricut EasyPress.
Step 7 – Remove the Sublimation paper
Once you are done with heat pressing the design, remove the sublimation paper after 5 seconds and all done. Your t-shirt is ready to wear with beautiful sublimation design on it.
See the below link for a video from where you can learn both the mentioned two ways of sublimation on dark t-shirts that I am sharing with you today. I am pretty sure, you get to learn more easily after visualizing the video.
2. Sublimation printing on Dark shirts without Bleach:
Yes, it is possible If you want to get print on your t-shirt without bleach. Below see the list of require material you should have before start this procedure.
- Gitter HTV vinyl
- An inkjet printer
- Lint roller
- Vinyl cutter
- Parchment Paper
- Heat press Machine
- Dark t-shirt or shirt (you can also use 100% cotton in this process instead of polyester)
The procedure for this includes the following steps that I am going to describe below. This way surely gives you flawless and satisfying results if you follow all the steps the right way. Lets just jump to step one without wasting any sec.
Pro tip: Before starting the procedure, make sure to use a lint roller on your shirt. It will pick up all the dirt and debris from fabric fibers. So your sublimation will come out more clean and consistent.
Step 1 – Prepare your design
Choose a design of your own choice from Pinterest. You can also design it yourself using illustrator or any other online designing software. Once you’re done with designing, ensure the setting of print at “High Quality”. And tick the boundless print settings if you have downloaded or designed a large image for sublimation.
Note: Unlike the way of sublimation on dark shirts by bleaching, in this way you don’t need to mirror the image after printing.
Step 2 – Loading sublimation paper to Inkjet printer
The pack of easy sublimation has two sheets, one is an actual vinyl sheet which is transparent and used as a mask while the other is the printable HTV sheet. The printable HTV sheet has two sides, one side is smooth and shiny while the other side feels rough / matte to the touch.
Make sure you print on the rough / matte side of the sheet as it holds the colors. And if you prit on the shiny side, it will not hold the color instead it will disperse the ink. So, you have to ensure you face the rough / matte side of the sheet to inkjets as you load the sublimation paper.
Step 3 – Weed Out any of Excess Vinyl Media
Once your sublimation design is printed, let it cool or dry for a few minutes. Then weed out excess traces of vinyl media, using a vinyl cutter, before applying a heat press.
Note: If you don’t have a vinyl cutter you can also work with scissors. Also scissors help out when you have more detail-oriented design because they allow you more deliberate cuts.
Step 4 – Transfer design to vinyl sheet
Peel off the backing of the actual vinyl sheet which we mentioned above as a mask. Dispatch the white side from the vinyl sheet to use the transparent sheet. As the translucent sheet is adhesive you have to place the design on it to transfer the design to the vinyl sheet. But don’t forget to use face mask during work as it will provide great protection and you will be able to breath easily.
Step 5 – Apply the Heat-Transfer
Before applying heat transfer, pre-press your shirt for about 5 seconds so it gets rid of any humidity that may affect the sublimation printing results
Now, take shirt and fold it from the center. Place the laminated vinyl paper right in the center of the shirt. Now, put a parchment paper above the laminated vinyl as it prevents the direct contact between vinyl and heat press. Apply a heat press at the temperature of 315 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. After that, remove the parchment paper.
Note: It’s not suggested to remove the HTV paper immediately because it will be hot. So, wait for 1 minute to get it cool then remove the adhesive paper.
Step 6 – Your shirt is ready
Once you are done with heat transferring, let your t-shirt cool down for a while and all done. Congratulations!! Your shirt is ready to wear now you can show all of your friends your sublimated t-shirt or hoodies.
How Long Do Sublimation Shirts Last?
With proper and right care, sublimation prints can last upto many years. Because they will never wear out, discolor or fade, crack or peel until polyester fabric can hold up. But still it depends upon many other factors like how often you wear it, either you do hand wash or machine wash, and quality of ink or colors you use. So, sublimate your shirt today, and they will look bright and colorful even after many years of wearing.
If you want a high-quality, long-lasting and colorful design of your own choice on your shirts or t-shirts you must try sublimation printing. But, before practically performing sublimation on your dark shirts or t-shirts, make sure you have read the above mentioned steps for both ways with thorough attention. Hope, you get to know what things are important to be taken care of while doing the sublimation process.
Both mentioned ways give desirable results if you perform them with attention but EasySubli HTV vinyl printing is more durable and flawless. So, choose the method that you feel appropriate and start subliating designs of your own choices and colors on your t-shirts!!!.