What is Sublimation Printing & How it works?

Sublimation printing is one of the amazing ways to print images on synthetic febric & stuff. Printing via sublimation is an awesome method which prints super crisp, clear and colorful images that virtually never fade at all. Sublimation Printing on fabric is cost effective for small batches, making it an ideal technique for personalized items like t-shirts and trinkets like mugs. 

If you are following an increasing trend towards Sublimation printing busniness in 2022 and want to find an answer for What is sublimation and how its work? Or what are its limitations? 

We have analyzed sublimation printing & you should know its a new technology that instantly transfers your DIY work or artwork to any surface such as fabric, ceramic or plastic by using Best Sublimation Printer, Best sublimaiton Paper and a heat press machine. We narrowed it down to the one's budget and beginner friendly Epson EcoTank ET-15000  as a top pick. It is an absolute printer, offering  best sublimation printing, & supports a wide range of paper sizes, also prints high-quality vibrant sublimation designs. 

So, what is sublimation printing? And what type of products are printed with sublimation method? And How the sublimation process actually work?

In this guide to dye sublimation,you will get answers of all the above questions 

Quick Answers to Sublimation Printing process

Things needed for Sublimation Process

There are five essential things that you need to complete the sublimation process.

  • Sublimation Printer
  • Sublimation Paper
  • Sublimation fabric
  • Cutting Mechanism| Cricut Machine
  • Type of Heat Transfer/Press

what is the best sublimation printer?

The best sublimation printer is necessary for dye-sublimation printing. The best sublimation printer helps you to enhance your sublimation printing experience. First, your best sublimation printer prints your graphic design on to the transfer paper.

Then, you use heatpress to transfer the design onto your substrate such as fabric.The heat & pressure turns the dye into solid gas without changing into liquid and embes the substrate material leaving a print that won’t fracture, fade or wash out. Dye sublimation works well with a high polyester mix & offers vibrant results with 100% accuracy and brightness.

How is the best sublimation printer helpful for sublimation printing & how it works?

The best sublimation printer enables you print transfers for creating customized subtrates, branded signs and fabric prints. Expensive Sublimation printers can print directly on to synthetic textiles. Epson Ecotank -15000 is best for sublimation printing.

1. Sublimation Printer

Sublimation Printing
The Epson sublimation Printer: Your ultimate choice

For small scale or large scale sublimation , the first and the foremost thing you need is a printer that allows sublimation printing & uses sublimation ink for both home and commercial use. As there is an increased demand in printing through sublimation , you should look for an easy and cost effective way of sublimation products especially the cost of sublimation printers. The high quality brands have been popular for sublimation such as Epson, Sawgrass, and Hp. 

If you wonder how sublimation printers work, you should check out 10 best sublimation printers in 2022, Epson EcoTank ET-2720, Epson Ecotank 4700, Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 Reveiw and Epson Ecotank et-15000

Check out a variety of options on the market in a range of prices, consider various sublimation printer for large prints and also check out their reviews, if you are buying your first sublimation printer or adding another to your old collection.

EPSON Workforce WF-7710
Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500
Epson Stylus C88+ Inkjet Printer
Display Size
Display Size
Backlit Display
Display Type
Display Type
Touch Screen
LED Touch Panel
No Touch Screen
AC Input Power
AC Input Power
100 to 240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz
AC 220-240V 50/60Hz
100 to 120 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz
Print Speed (By Time)
Print Speed (By Time)
18 ppm (Black)10 ppm (Color)
15 seconds to 384 seconds
23 ppm (Black) 14 ppm (Color)
Print Resolution
Print Resolution
4800 x 1200 dpi
4880 x 1200 dpi
5760 x 1440 dpi
USB, WIFI, Ethernet
USB 2.0, Wireless LAN
USB 2.0
40.8 lb
27.2 lbs
10.14 lbs

2. Sublimation Paper

Sublimation Printing
A-SUB Sublimation Paper

After having the best sublimation printer and sublimation ink are you stuck on which sublimation paper to use ?

You should go for the best sublimation paper in the market to make sublimation easy for you. The sublimation paper is also known as transfer sheet & you can print customized logos, patterns and your desired image on the transfer sheet. Make sure your transfer sheet holds your top quality sublimation ink.

To make your sublimation business successful & get great results, you need to check out the best sublimation paper on the market. We have highlighted  top rated sublimation papers for your ease.

Our Top Pick

A-SUB 8.5×11 Inch 110 Sheets Sublimation Paper


  • Quality: No fracturing, Fast dry
  • Transfer rate 98%
  • Paper Finish: Coated
  • works with: Only work with sublimation ink

Our Favorite Sublimation Papers

1. A-SUB Sublimation Paper
  • Brand: Brand: A-SUB
  • Sheet Size: 8.5X11 Inches
  • Paper Finish: Coated
  • Paper Weight: 125 GSM
  • Sheet Count: 110 Sheets
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2. S-RACE Sublimation Paper
  • Brand: S-RACE
  • Sheet Size: 8.5×11 inches
  • Paper Finish: Specially Coated
  • Paper Weight: 120 GSM
  • Sheet Count: 100 Sheets
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3. Printers Jack Sublimation Paper
  • Brand: Printers Jack
  • Sheet Size: 8.3 x 11.7 inches
  • Paper Finish: Coated
  • Paper Weight: 105 GSM
  • Sheet Count: 100 Sheets Ch
Check on Walmart
4. Koala Sublimation Paper
  • Brand: KOALA PAPER
  • Sheet Size: 8.3×11.7 inches
  • Paper Finish: Coated
  • Paper Weight: 105 GSM
  • Sheet Count: 150 Sheets
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3. Sublimation fabric

Sublimation Printing on Fabric
Sublimation on Fabric

Printing via Sublimation is popular method of printing on fabric from activewear apparel to banners. Sublimation printing on fabric needs a heat reactive dye and, a polyester blended fabric. In sublimation process the sublimation ink transforms into gas with the help of heat which enters the fabric when it is removed from heat and pressure. Sublimation on fabric prints vibrant, colorful desgins that won’t fade over the time. 

Type of fabric and fabric color is highly important for sublimation. Some of the fabric transfer papers are incompatible with the light and dark colors. However, multicolored paper work well with anything from t-shirts, dresses to pants and trousers. Type of fabric ranges from cotton to polyester blends.

what is sublimation printing on shirts?

Sublimation printing on cotton is a unique way of customizing your items with a super vivid and vibrant designs with the help of heatpress. You can create simple-looking items with more of a unique look with the help of sublimation process, which uses heat to bond a special dye with synthetic fibers of the cotton. Here is the detail about sublimation printing on t-shirts.

4. Sublimation Cutting Mechanism| Cricut Machine

what is sublimation printing cricut?

Sublimation Printing Cricuit
Cricut Cutting for Sublimation

Sublimation cutting devices such as Rotary Cutters, blades, knives, DIY cutting machines for crafts like cricut machine are recommended for smooth sublimation process. Sublimation cutting devices include all in one cutting system, however, each option can be tailored for individual needs.  Metal fabrication requires high laser power. Many non metal materials include:

  • Textiles and plastic sheets 
  • Non-melting Mateirals such as cardboard, wood or foam

Sublimation & printing also needs best buy laser fabric cutting machine for sportswear, similarly best budget cricut cutting machine for crafts and best sublimation paper cutter to cut various sublimated items.

5. Types of Heat Press

sublimation printing heatpress
Pro 5 in 1 TUSY 12×15 Heat Press Machine

Sublimation heat press is also required for sublimation printing, you will find countless models, sizes in various prices for heat press. Best buy heat press is worthwhile investment for your sublimation business for these heat press machines offer customized designs on any material such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, talbecloths and many other items.

We have explored what is the best heat press  machine and found four common ways to heat transfer

1-Calendar Heat Press

Calendar Press is used for large format printing via sublimation on fabric signs, and banners.

2-Small Heat Press

Small Heat Press is used for sublimation on small items such as kitchenware or other home items. 

3-Flatbed Heat Press 

Flatbed Heat Press is used to sublimate hard materials such as floor tiles, moreover its is equally suitable for  fabric printing. 

4- 3D-Vacuum Heat Press

3D- Vacuum Heat Press is recommended for printing on smaller objects as well as printing flat surfaces. 

We will help you find the best heat press  machine that is best budget asl well as high in quality for sublimation workload. 

Our Favorite Best Heat Press Machines

1. F2C Pro Heat Press Machine
  • Features: exceptionally made of high-grade aluminum, making it sturdy & robust
  • Benefits: Provides a smoother finish and Overheating protection
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2-Pro 5 in 1 TUSY 12×15 Heat Press Machine
  • Features:360 degrees rotation of arm moves the heating elements safely
  • Very sturdy with great craftsmanship
  • Benefits: High quality and durable for commercial usage.
  • Comes with a user-friendly LCD display for quick adjustments
Check on Amazon
3. F2C Black Heat Press Machine for T-Shirt
  • Features:digital display, which shows the temperature for best results
  • Printing Speed:super affordable and easy to use and simple to understand.
  • Features:Large pressing surface of 15″x15″
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4. Seeutek Pro Heat Press Machine
  • Features: Safety measures, including overheating protection & non stick to fabric
  • Easy to use control panel
  • The machine’s sturdy pressure knob ensures you have enough pressure for the item
  • Benefits: overheating protection and 1-year warranty
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5. Vehipa Heat Press Machine
  • Features:Comes with pretty affordable price with 20 sublimation papers
  • Benefits: Teflon-coated heating surface
  • <great safety measures to prevent any unwanted heating experience.
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6. PRIBCHO 8-in-1 Heat Press Machine
  • Features:Comes with industrial strength and durability
  • Its 360-degree rotation feature makes it easy to use.
  • LCD digital control box provides precious time and temperature control
  • Benefits: Great Printing effect, Unique design, & Digital LCD display
Check on Amazon

Get an ideal heat press machine for sublimation at an affordable cost to print on t-shirts, posters, mugs and many other items without hassle.  

Pros and Cons of Printing via Sublimation

  • Print vivid, vibrant and un fading colors instantly with 100% color accuracy
  • Printing via Sublimation gives you an option to personalize and customize your designs
  • Printing high quality designs quickly than ever before instantly in a strict deadline
  • The sublimation ink permeates the fabric and give long lasting effect
  • The images will not crack or wear, clothes can be washed fearlessly without ruining their color
  • Sublimation printing is only suitable for polyester or polyester blends
  • Lack of heat pressure causes ghosting or blurr image
  • Sublimation can cause white creasing & color mismatch
  • Sublimation on cotton may not work well, however stocks from polyester are promising items

what is on-demand printing?

On-demand printing (POD) is a digital printing technology that allows businesses to print products, such as apparel, accessories, and home decor, only when an order is received.

On-demand printing liberates businesses from the tyranny of inventory and upfront costs. It allows for customization and flexibility by digitally printing designs only when ordered.

Some of the key benefits of on-demand printing include:

  • Reduced risk: POD eliminates the need to invest in upfront inventory, which can be a major financial risk for new businesses.
  • Increased flexibility: POD allows businesses to quickly and easily add or remove products from their catalog, and to experiment with different designs and variations without having to worry about leftover inventory.
  • Reduced waste: POD helps to reduce waste by printing products only when they are ordered, which can be beneficial for the environment.
  • Customization: POD allows businesses to offer their customers a high level of customization, such as the ability to print personalized names, dates, and messages on their products.

On-demand printing empowers Etsy shops and businesses of all sizes to offer customized products without inventory risk.

On-demand printing democratizes business ownership, enabling entrepreneurs to launch with minimal upfront investment, and empowering businesses of all sizes to offer customized products without inventory risk.

Difference between Sublimation and Digital printing 

Sublimation Printing
  • When it comes to sublimation printing, it is highly versatile & applicable to apparels that are of poly-blend material.
  • Sublimation printing has greater flexibility and durability for polyester
  • Sublimation printing depends on heat to transfer the design onto the material
  • You have greater choice for sublimation printers, sublimation paper, sublimation ink & the heat press machines
Digital Printing
  • Digital printing prints designs on cotton, silk and polyester material
  • Digital printing does not use heat and pressure like sublimation printing
  • In Digtal printing colors might not be absorbed by the paper
  • Digital printing is considered expensive as compared to sublimation printing

How to Use Sublimation Printing?

You can go for dye sublimation on following items

Hard and solid Surfaces:

Tumblers, foil or other solid surfaces with polymer coating that could not be bent like fabric

Sublimation Blanks

Blanks mean rigid products with no prior designs so that you can personalized them such as custom mobile covers, mouse pads, kitchenware and glassware which are available at budget price.


You can customize trade show banners for advertising with the help of sublimation printing having ability to print large format printing for shops and building signs

Polyester or Nylon Fabric

They have two types

1- Textile Products

You can customize polyester products such as apparel, flags, banners, tablecloths, totes, fabric backdrops & tents, sublimation printing on fabric requires polyester, poly-blends which makes dye sublimation a rewarding process.

2-Interior Designs

Decors such as kitchenware, bathroom and interior decorations, floor mats and tiles

The materials that can be sublimated with your photographs

To present to you in more detail the behind the scenes of personalization on the object and thus the heart of our business, I particularly wanted to dwell on the color sublimation process which is one of the most used on the shop. In particular, it allows us to offer a multitude of products, from the most classic with the mug to the most original with flip-flops.

These individually customizable items are perfectly suited to photo sublimation, which renders the original colors of your photographs particularly well.

The most easily sublimated materials

Transfer by sublimation is essentially done on materials whose surface to be personalized is covered with a layer of polymer or which contains polyester. The materials that can be personalized in this way are therefore polyester textiles (or products covered with a polyester printable side with a special varnish) as well as a large number of everyday materials with plastic, ceramics, wood, structured glass or certain metals such as aluminium. For non-sublimable materials there is even a way to get around this limitation by applying a specific spray to the surface to be sublimated.


There are two other constraints for applying quality sublimation to a product. First of all, there is the structure of the surface to be sublimated.

It must be perfectly smooth so that the hot transfer can be carried out properly over the entire surface to be personalized and so that the image properly penetrates the product (via the pigmented wax which will be applied directly to the product).

In addition, the surface to be printed by sublimation must be white or light in color. Indeed, sublimation does not make it possible to render the image on a dark support. It just becomes invisible.


As I mentioned above, the number of times this personalization process is applied to the object is significant. Indeed, the customizable materials are numerous.

All polyester textiles are concerned and it is therefore possible to make made-to-measure clothing (t-shirt, cap, sweater, underwear), leather goods (with bags, wallets or purses) or even objects everyday life in polyester (phone pouches, potholders and oven mitts, cushions or glasses case…).

The second major category of sublimable products are ceramic products. This range of ceramic products includes all mugs and cups as well as some other products such as our trivets.

The third major type of items to be sublimated are those made of wood. Puzzles, frames and clocks in wood fiber (reconstituted wood panel) or coasters are some of these products that can be personalized with the color sublimation process.

The latest range of sublimable products are metal materials (such as aluminum), structured glass or even plastic. Some key rings, smartphone cases or even some stainless steel water bottles are objects that can easily be personalized in color with this sublimation process. 

Sublimation printing-Solutions to make it happen

Sublimation Printing
Sublimation Printing

I have a craft activity linked to the application of rhinestones on figure skating dresses that I integrated a year ago with thermo-adhesive (plotter) printing on sweaters and sweatshirts for sports clubs that requested them from me. I would like to integrate with sublimation printing, but I am not familiar with the features and methods. Susanna, NewJersy-USA

Sublimation is a method that allows you to print with very high quality colors, however it can only be carried out on mixed polyester garments with at least 70% polyester, or on rigid supports that are created specifically for sublimation and have a polyester surface coating; in addition, they must be categorically WHITE, since, the sublimating ink sticks to the fibers of the fabric or material in question, if the base color of the support is different from white, the colors will change to the color of the garment or gadget.

We offer two solutions: an economical one, which involves the use of the Epson WF 7110 with CISS conversion kit for sublimation inks, and a much more professional one, which includes a Ricoh printer with its special sublimation ink cartridges.

Here, in short, the differences between the two solutions:

1- Epson + kit + inks: prints up to A3, it is very cheap, recommended for those who already know enough about printers, or for those who are satisfied with a machine that could give problems over time, the color fidelity is not very high, but we provide a color profile to be installed in the computer that improves the situation, it must absolutely be purchased together with the cleaning kit for inkjet printers, in case the heads are clogged, and at least one small print per day must be made, to avoid clogging.

Sublimation Printing
Premium DTF Starter Kit, Ink Refill, Transfer Film, Powder and Printhead Cleaning Kit (A3+, Glossy)

2- Ricoh A4 + sublimation cartridges: printing of excellent quality, at the same price as Epson but prints A4 format, the cartridges are much more expensive than Epson’s ink, but has the security of exact color matching (by registering at the website of the supplier of the cartridges, the color profile to be installed is automatically downloaded), the print quality is excellent, the heads do not clog even if you leave the printer stationary.

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG800 (Ricoh based) Complete Sublimation Printer Kit Ink set + 100 sh paper

3Ricoh A3 + sublimation cartridges: same features as the A4 printer, but prints up to A3 format.

That said, depending on the media on which you want to transfer the printed image, you will need various other equipment, heat presses and paper.

Final Verdict

Sublimation Printing is an ideal and the most popular process to produce vibrant, high quality images on fabric, ceremics & tumblers by using heat transfer method to print images on polyester fabric. Sublimation process needs different items such as best sublimation printer, best sublimation paper, best sublimation ink, best heatpress machine & an ideal software design. Other materials required for sublimation cutting and sublimation process are thermal tape, silicon cover sheet gloves and materials that can be sublimated such as tumbles, fabric, kitchenware, home decor items, phone covers and table cloths. Similarly, small and large business can get benefit of printing via sublimation to print signs, signatures, large format designs, banners, interior designs  & textile products.

What is Sublimation Printing & How it works?

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