What is sublimation and when is it used?

Sublimation printing on garments is generally used for full garment coverage. Unlike other printing techniques such as Screen Printing which is generally applied to only part of the garment after it is constructed, sublimation printing is applied directly to the fabric before it is stitched together.

The process involves printing directly onto a piece of transfer paper with special ink. This is essentially like printing onto a large piece of paper. This paper is then fed into a heat press we call a calendar. This is like a flat oven where the printed paper and a roll of fabric (polyester pre-shrunk fabrics) are fed in. The oven is heated to the exact temperature where the ink turns from solid to gas. The gas then “transfers and absorbs” into the fabric. The fabric is then cut and sewn into the desired garment.

Sublimation allows for a countless number of colours and designs which are only limited by your imagination. With a high level of detail and vibrancy, you can even print photo quality images on to garments using this technique. It also gives for a smoother, long lasting finish as the ink is infused into the garment rather than printed or embroidered on top.

With the right software sublimation also allows for cheap customisations on things like logos, names and numbers and is the most common decoration technique used for uniforms across all the football codes, hockey, basketball as well as for event and promotional garments that require a number of logos or customisations.

As the ink is embedded into the garment you have a soft touch and feel finish and by using polyester fabrics there is a high level of breathability and no need to iron.x