02 Oct What is sublimation and how does it work?
Sublimation, commonly referred to as ‘dye sub’ or ‘dye sublimation’ is a printing process not many people have heard of. So you’re not alone if you’re wondering what on earth it’s all about.
But never fear! By the time you finish this post, you will know exactly what sublimation is and how it works. Along with the reasons we believe it to be the best option for your custom t-shirts, polos, hoodies or other garments.
How does sublimation work?
Sublimation involves printing graphics ‘into’ fabric and is different to screen printing and embroidery, which both print ‘onto’ fabric. This is a subtle but very important difference, and we will explain why below.
When sublimating clothing, your custom design is first digitally printed onto transfer paper, using a special dye which transforms from a liquid into a gas, when pressed and heated.
This gas transfers your artwork from the paper to the fabric, where the dye embeds itself ‘into’ the actual fibres of the fabric – meaning your artwork is now ‘a part of the fabric’ and as such, will never crack or peel.
This also means that the garment itself is softer, more durable and maintains it’s moisture-wicking properties underneath the sublimated graphics.
How is sublimation different to screen printing?
Screen printing is a common printing method used to create customized shirts, polos or other uniforms and workwear.
It involves the artwork being printed ‘onto’ the fabric as layers of ink, as opposed to ‘into’ the fabric.
Over time this ink hardens, cracks and peels away from the fabric, which is ugly and uncomfortable. Not to mention the way a peeling or cracked logo reflects your brand!
This is something which needs to be considered if you are looking to order custom T-shirts for something like a promotional event.
If the whole purpose of your promo shirts is to expose your brand, what happens when the screen printed graphics begin peeling and cracking? Which can begin happening within weeks of them being washed and worn!
The truth is, those very same custom shirts you spent your hard-earned time and dollars creating, are more than likely going to be thrown away.
And the last impression a potential customer will have had of your brand being tarnished by a peeling, cracking logo. Not ideal.
This is why we recommend sublimation as a much more reliable custom printing option than screen printing.
Plus, if you are looking to print multiple logos (or all over graphics), you are guaranteed to save money choosing sublimation.
Knowing this, it makes sense why sublimated uniforms are the top pick for professional sporting teams. As they usually need to print multiple logos on their uniforms, along with keeping their team players cool during the game of course.
And embroidery? How does this compare to sublimation?
Embroidery, which is commonly used to customize corporate polos or golf shirts is also unable to match the quality and durability of sublimation.
Because when you have a logo with a lot of fine detail or need multiple logos, the embroidery cost alone can wind up costing more than the shirt itself – and ain’t nobody got time for that!
So as you can see, sublimation keeps proving itself again and again as being the best fabric printing option available.
Are there any downsides to sublimation I need to be aware of?
One of the only limitations you really need to take into consideration with sublimated clothing is that it can only be used with polyester fabrics. This is due to the way in which the gas transfers into the polyester fibres – dye sub simply will not bond to cotton.
But if you prefer the feel of cotton over polyester, we offer a ‘cotton feel’ polyester which feels very similar to traditional T-shirt fabric. In fact, on ‘feel’ alone you would not be able to tell the difference. We dare you to compare!
At Custom Made Uniforms, we firmly believe that sublimation is the garment printing process of the future, easily outperforming both screen printing and embroidery.
Which is why when it comes to printing any kind of high-quality, durable, custom clothing or uniforms for your business or sporting team, we choose sublimation every time.
If you’d like to see how sublimation works with your own custom clothing design, click here to start the process in a few easy steps.