Getting Started With Dye Sublimation

Getting Started With Sublimation

If you’re on this page, I’m guessing you’re new to sublimation and decided to take the plunge! Below are just a few commonly asked questions and their answers about sublimation printing that I hope you’ll find helpful in your new sublimation journey.

  1. Can I sublimate on anything? – The short answer is no. You need special sublimation blanks that are made specifically for sublimation. Sub blanks all have a special poly coating on them that basically “merges” with the ink to become one. There is a huge selection of sublimation blanks, just about anything you can think of. Cutting boards, phone cases, clothing, license plates, jewelry, and so much more. Just be sure you’re buying blanks created for sublimation from reputable suppliers.
  2. Does clothing have to be 100% polyester? – It doesn’t. It should be at least 50/50 but keep in mind the lower the polyester count, the more faded the image will appear after pressing. A shirt that’s 100% polyester will look much brighter than a shirt that is 50/50. I personally don’t use anything less than a 65/35 blend. There are times when the faded “grunge” look may be exactly what you’re going for, in those cases the blends are the perfect shirts to use.
  3. Can I sublimate on cotton? – No, cotton can not be used for sublimation. There are “hacks” to get around this, but at the end of the day, you’re still not sublimating on cotton. I don’t recommend using any of the workarounds and products promoted. Stick to polyester and you can’t go wrong.
  4. Where Can I Find Cheap Items To Practice On? – I’d suggest hitting up your local Dollar Tree, 5 Below, Wal-Mart, etc. You can find microfiber wash cloths, dish towels, pillowcases, etc. that are all 100% polyester and cheap to practice with. You could also visit your local fabric shop and grab a couple of yards of polyester fabric for fairly cheap.
  5. What Special Supplies Do I Need? – We’ve put a list of supplies needed below. All of the items we list have been used and tested by us, so we recommend them with confidence.

Sublimation Supplies

The items below are just some of the options out there for sublimation supplies. I’ve used and recommend all the products listed. If you have questions about anything, please feel free to reach out through our contact form, I’m always happy to help.

As a disclaimer…I do earn a few cents off each purchase made through my links. The amount I make does not influence the price you pay in any way.

  • Epson Inkjet Printer – I STRONGLY suggest an EcoTank printer with the ink tanks rather than cartridges. You’ll pay a little more for the printer but save money and headaches in the long term.
  • Sublimation Ink – You can’t sublimate without it!
  • Sublimation Ink –  Refills for Eco-Tank Printers
  • Sublimation Paper – Another must-have supply.
  • Butcher Paper – A must-have tool
  • Thermal Heat Safe Tape – To hold items from sliding, another must-have tool.
  • Tape Dispenser – It’s not needed, but it will make life a lot easier if you have one.
  • Heat Press Machine – If you’re going to be doing any amount of sublimating, you will want a heat press machine.
  • Sublimation Blanks – Jewelry, home decor, and more
  • Sublimation Designs – You can create your own, or purchase pre-made designs.
  • Sublimation Transfers – If you don’t have the sublimation printer and ink. You can purchase pre-printed transfers. You just need blanks and a heat press.
  • Shirts for Sublimation – Jiffy Shirts has a HUGE selection and FAST shipping. They’re our preferred shirt shop.