re you looking to experience sublimation printing on your shirt? Refer to this article to choose the best shirts for sublimation!
What Is Sublimation?
Sublimation is a general term that refers to a physical change in state. In science, sublimation is the direct substance from the solid to the gaseous state. It does not pass through the usual liquid state and occurs only at specific temperatures and pressures.
Sublimation printing is the method of transferring dyes to a transfer paper using a specific type of dye (sublimation dyes). The ink is then transferred to a suitable substance with heat such that the sublimation ink truly infuses into the substrate, and they become one. Specifically, the heat opens the pores of the fabric and turns the ink into a gas, then turns back to a solid once inside the material.
In addition to the materials that can be used for sublimation, one of the core limitations of sublimation is the fabric’s color. Because sublimation is essentially a dyeing process, you’ll get the best results when the fabric is white or light-colored. If you want to print on black shirts or darker materials, you are better off going with a digital printing solution.
On the other hand, the sublimation T-shirt printing process is more expensive than other methods yet lasts longer and does not crack or peel over time. As we mentioned above, sublimation produces a crisp, full-color print that will persist for years. However, if you do not select the proper T-shirt, you may wind up in severe shape. In this article, we have everything you need to choose the best shirts for sublimation!
Materials To Make The Best Shirts For Sublimation
There are thousands of different materials you can find for a T-shirt, but only specific types are suitable for sublimation printing. Below, we evaluate the suitability of the most popular fabrics for sublimation printing!
We affirm that polyester is the perfect fabric to make the best shirts for sublimation. Although polyester is not the choice for direct printing on clothing, it is the ideal fabric to make the best shirts for sublimation.
This man-made fabric is durable, strong, quick-drying, lightweight, and comfortable. It is one of the most commonly used fabrics for fast fashion. Similarly, for blended fabrics containing polyester, the higher the polyester content, the more vibrant the sublimation print designs will be. We guarantee that 100% polyester T-shirts will make your designs super vibrant and last forever.
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Cotton is one of the most popular materials for T-shirts, but 100% cotton is not ideal for sublimation printing on your garment.
In fact, sublimation printing does work on this soft fabric. The trouble here, however, comes from the durability the print can hold onto the shirt. With only in the first wash, the printed image of the sublimated cotton shirts will be faded quite a bit.
To deal with this issue, you can use sprays to increase the performance of the sublimation printing on cotton. However, it can cause allergies for users with sensitive skin. Moreover, these shirts will also fade after multiple washes.
Another problem that cotton has is shrinkage. Cotton can shrink when exposed to any heat, including washing and drying. It will cause your cotton T-shirt to not keep the soft feeling as original after sublimation. Meanwhile, polyester remains soft and won’t shrink.
Finally, sublimation printing limits the styles you can put on your cotton shirts. Therefore, you can switch to using materials made from polyester or polycotton blends (polyester mixed with cotton).
If you still want to use a cotton shirt for sublimation work, we’ll go into more detail on the suitability of different types of cotton. There are different types of cotton T-shirts you can use for printing, such as plain, ring-spun, and combed.
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Cotton is often a popular choice for many T-shirts. Cotton shirts made with natural fibers tend to hold up better and last longer over multiple washes than synthetic shirts. It might work for sublimation, but it’s better when you use other printing methods directly onto the garment.
Ring-spun cotton is a premium fabric for sublimation printing on T-shirts. It is called ring spinning because the cotton fibers are tightly twisted during the process to obtain a stronger, thinner, and more comfortable finished product. It also smooths the surface better for more vibrant, higher-quality prints.
When cotton is “combed,” it means that all impurities have been removed from the fabric before being spun. This process produces the strongest, softest, and best quality cotton for sublimation printing on T-shirts. For the most durable shirts, cotton can be combed and spun.
3. Poly-Cotton Blend
Polyester is the best fabric for sublimation printing, but cotton also has its own advantages in terms of fabric. To combine those benefits, polyester, and cotton blend fabric will be a terrific solution to make the best shirts for sublimation.
In fact, which material to choose depends on the results you want. If you want a super vibrant and eye-catching design, a fabric with a high polyester content will be the ideal choice. With a lower percentage of polyester material, you’ll get a T-shirt with a much more faded and classic look.
Specifically, you cannot achieve faded designs with a 100% polyester shirt because the maximum ink is absorbed and retained. The designs are always lively and bold. But with 65% polyester shirts, it will achieve a faded classic appearance, especially after a few washes. Moreover, shirts with this ratio will be significantly softer and less see-through than 100% polyester shirts.
Therefore, many conclude that a 65% polyester blend fabric will make the best shirts for sublimation.
If you mix 50-50 or anything less, the product won’t get the best results. Specifically, with 50% poly and 50% cotton shirts, 50% sublimation transfer to the original shirt, and 50% of the image on the shirt is washed away in the first wash. The same goes for other blend ratios. The more cotton, the more likely your print color will fade.
4. Tri Blends
Tri-type fabric is a combination of three different types. Typically a blend of cotton, polyester, and rayon. These shirts are super soft and have a bit of stretch. While triple fusion is not the first choice for sublimation printing, you can get good quality prints on them, and they are a slightly more cost-effective T-shirt option.
As mentioned above, sublimation works well with polyester. That’s why the best shirts for sublimation are 100% polyester or shirts with a high poly/cotton ratio (ideally 65%). The higher the polyester, the more vibrant and long-lasting the color is. But if you want a distressed or classic print, a lower polyester ratio might be perfect for your needs!
Notes To Create The Best Shirts For Sublimation
Is Sublimation Printing Possible On Black Shirts?
Besides the material, you also need to pay attention to the color of the shirt when performing sublimation printing. And unfortunately, the sublimation on the black shirt did not go well. Sublimation ink will only be darker on the shirt, so it will be difficult to see. If you have a print in blue, it will be dark blue on a black shirt.
You can use sheets of dark transfer paper as a great alternative to sublimation on darker shirts. But they don’t soak into the shirt, and you’ll still feel like a thick layer of vinyl. Furthermore, they don’t hold up after many washes either.
Therefore, our advice for you about sublimation printing is to choose shirts as bright as possible. Because the brighter the garment is, the brighter the image will be.
Is It Possible To Print White Sublimation On The Shirt?
Sublimation uses printing technology with no combination base color inks to produce white. You can print on white material and any other light color. Though, if any of your designs have white inside, it won’t work with sublimation.
1. What Is Sublimation?
Sublimation shirt printing is a type of printing that begins with printing on a special sheet of paper and then transfers the image to another material. After then, the ink is heated until it dissolves into the cloth.
2. What Kind Of Material To Make The Best Shirts For Sublimation?
3. What Color To Make The Best Shirts For Sublimation?
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