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Frequently asked questions

What is dye-sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing is the application of sublimation inks onto a surface using a heat press to provide the required combination of heat, time and pressure. This combination causes the inks to be converted from a solid to a gaseous state enabling them to penetrate the sublimate surface so that a permanent, full colour image is formed. The colour penetrates the surface of the item so that the result is colourful, long lasting and resistant to scratching unlike some other printing methods that merely print onto the surface of the item.

What are dye-sublimation inks?

Dye sublimation inks are basically a formulation of different coloured dyes suspended in liquids that will pass through a digital printer.

Dye sublimation printing is always done on a polyester, polymer, or polymer coated items.

At high temperatures, the solid dye converts into a gas without ever becoming a liquid. The same high temperature opens the pores of the polymer and allows the gas to enter. When the temperature drops, the pores close and the gas reverts to a solid state. It has now become a part of the polymer. For this reason true dye sublimation cannot be done on natural materials such as 100% cotton. Natural fibres and non-coated materials have no "pores" to open.

What can be sublimation printed?

You can sublimation print onto a wide variety of 'soft' and 'hard' items provided that the surface is suitable for sublimation printing.

SOFT ITEMS including polyester fabric, canvas, gazebos, carpet tiles, curtains, bed spreads, t-shirts, polo shirts, cushions, car sun screens and even doormats! A sublimation print on a suitable polyester fabric is permanent, feels like part of the fabric with no 'hand' and will not crack, peel or fade.

HARD ITEMS including specially coated plaques, signs, water bottles, placemats, coasters, tiles and even glass.

What cannot be sublimation printed?

Cotton fabric and garments cannot be printed onto this way because dye sublimation printing is always done on a polyester, polymer, or polymer coated items (see "What can be sublimation printed?"). It is possible to sublimation print a cotton fabric but the image will wash out within a few washes.

Other items that may have a polyester/polymer coating but which are unsuitable as they are unable to withstand the temperatures required for dye sublimation printing.

What are dye-sublimation advantages?

The most common advantages of dye-sublimation are:

  • Permanent print

  • No cracking

  • No peeling

  • No fading

  • Long lasting

  • Resistant from scratching

  • Less expensive than UV printing

  • Cost effective

What products are perfect for dye-sublimation?

There is a lot of different products that are perfect for dye-sublimation, including:

  • Canvas

  • Caps

  • Coasters

  • Cushions

  • Doormats

  • Face masks

  • Glass

  • Leather

  • Mouse mats

  • Mugs

  • Placemats

  • Polo Shirts

  • Polyester fabric

  • Tiles

  • T-Shirts

  • Water bottles

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