Sublimation Printing For Beginners – Top 20 Most Asked Questions

Sublimation might be a bit technical and hard for beginners. They have so many questions about it which makes them more confused. How would it feel if you find all the answers in one place?

Sublimation Printing For Beginners - Top 20 Most Asked Questions

Well, today in this article we will be answering the top 20 questions about sublimation printing which will surely help any beginner to have a clear idea of what sublimation exactly is and how things work.

Before starting with questions and answering them, let us explain what sublimation printing exactly is. So you will have a better and clear picture.

What Is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is the process of printing your design on paper and transferring it to your substrate such as a shirt. The process of sublimation printing is exactly the same as heat transfer but the real difference is the science behind sublimation.

While sublimating, a special ink is used called sublimation ink. The ink turns into the gas state from solid and gets infused in the substrate when heat is pressed. Once the substrate is cooled down, the ink goes back in solid-state and becomes the permanent part of the substrate i.e shirt.

Process Of Sublimation Printing

The process of sublimation printing consists of a few simple steps.

  1. Get your design and accessories ready.
  2. Print your design on a paper using sublimation printer. Better to use sublimation paper.
  3. Pre-press your substrate so any wetness on it gets dry.
  4. Put your printed paper on a substrate and tape the corners so the paper can not shake while pressing.
  5. Press your substrate using a heat press at 375-400 F for 100-120 Seconds at medium pressure.
  6. Once it’s done, remove the paper and your sublimated shirt or any substrate is ready.


1. what can I sublimate on?

Polyester is a material that gives the best result of sublimation and is used by most people for sublimation purposes. Even though you can sublimate on cotton as well as any hard substrate like wood or metal. You just need to perform some additional steps and you can achieve great results on other materials as well.

2. How to make a sublimation design?

To make a sublimation design you must be good at CorelDRAW or photoshop kinda software. But if you are not familiar with these, you can simply buy them from websites like Esty. Furthermore, you can use royalty-free images as well.

3. What type of shirts can be used for sublimation?

The best and recommended material shirts for sublimation is polyester shirts. This does not mean that you cant sublimate on other materials, you can sublimate on materials like cotton or even hard materials such as wood.

The best result and vibrant colors of sublimation can be achieved on the light color polyester shirt.

4. What do you need and what is needed for sublimation printing?

With the aim of sublimation, you need these 5 types of equipment using which you can do sublimation.

  1. Sublimation printer
  2. Heat press machine
  3. Sublimation paper and ink
  4. Heat-resisting tape and design which you want to print
  5. The substrate on which you want to print on

5. How to start sublimation printing?

Starting sublimation printing as a business or hobby is a great idea. You don’t need many things to start. Just you need the right knowledge about it. You can learn Sublimation printing from our other articles on it.

At the start, it might take time but it will be easy with the passage of time. You can make good money out of it and can make it your income source.

6. What is sublimation in crafting?

Sublimation is the process in which ink converts its state from solid to gas and gets infused within the substrate such as shirt and becomes the permanent part of it. Sublimation in crafting has the same meaning as sublimation on shirt/substrate. 

7. Where to buy sublimation kit/equipment/supplies?

There are many online websites from which you can buy sublimation-related stuff. Some of the well-reputed and sublimation focused sites that sell sublimation stuff are,

  1. Heatpressnation
  2. Coastalbusiness
  3. JPplus

8. Sublimation material list

There are many materials that can be sublimated. Some of those which are mostly used by people are,

  1. Polyester
  2. Cotton
  3. Vinyl
  4. Wood
  5. Metal
  6. Viscose
  7. Ceramic Tile

9. Can I do sublimation printing at home?

Yes, you can do sublimation printing at home. As far as you have the correct accessories and knowledge you can achieve great and vibrant colour results.

10. Do you need a special printer for sublimation?

There are 2 types of sublimation printers

  1. True sublimation printer
  2. Converted sublimation printer

True sublimation printer is the one that is intended designed for the sublimation. The well-known company for such printers is Sawgrass.

Converted sublimation printers are those that are converted from a standard printer into a sublimation printer by people using sublimation ink in the printer. This method is low-priced but has some disadvantages as well. For beginners, a true sublimation printer is recommended.

11. What material can be sublimated?

You can sublimate materials like polyester, cotton, vinyl, and others. As far as they are pre-treated for sublimation, you can sublimate them. Not many people know, but you can sublimate a harder material like wood.

Before sublimating the cotton or wood material, you need to apply sublimation liquid which is also known as sublimation coating spray.

12. How to use a sublimation printer?

Usage of sublimation printer depends on the printer company. Most printer companies now started giving their own software that is familiar to their printers. This makes the printing process very easy and fast at the same time.

13. Why is my sublimation print faded?

There are two possible reasons for sublimation print fading. One is that your printer and heat press machine settings are not correct. Check and adjust the settings according to the recommendation by the company. The second possible reason is that you are pressing more than the required time. Make sure your heat pressing time is perfect.

In case you do heat pressing less than required or more than needed. Both will affect the actual sublimation print.

14. How to sublimate a shirt?

Sublimating the shirt is a simple and same process as sublimating any other garment. First, you print the design with a sublimation printer then transfer the design on the substrate, such as a shirt, using a heat press machine.

15. What is a sublimation blank?

Substrates that are used for sublimation printing are called sublimation blank. These blanks can be any garment or wooden object. Mostly the material of sublimation blank garment is polyester whereas you can sublimate on other materials as well.

16. Free sublimation design software

There are many free softwares for creating sublimation designs. But the best, as well as the simplest, is canva. It is beginner-friendly and any beginner can use it easily. 

If you are an advanced user and creator, yet still want free software using which you can create next-level sublimation designs then you can try GIMP. It’s a free and open-source version of photoshop.

17. Which printer is best for sublimation printing?

It totally depends on what your needs are. Whether if you need to print in bulk, fast or cheap. These all are different needs. You can find the printer having all these together as well. For more info, you can read our article on The Best Sublimation Printer.

18. What shirts do you use for sublimation?

People use different shirts for sublimation. The best shirt for sublimation is the one that has the most amount of polyester in it. The ideal is to use a 100% polyester shirt. If the color of the shirt is light, it will also help you acquire better results because sublimation works excellent on light color shirts.

19. Why my printer is not printing?

If the printer stops printing, you must check the settings. If settings are correct, then check the ink. Ink should be high quality and before printing the actual print. Run some test prints, so the nozzles and ink lines within the printer get clear. Check these two things most probably your issue will be solved.

20. Which items can be sublimated?

There are many items that can be sublimated. Such as shirts, jackets, ceramic ornaments, tumblers, cups, mousepads, keychains, and many other items. Sublimation does not need any unique material for sublimating. You can sublimate on polyester, cotton, ceramic tile, wood, vinyl, metal, and many more.