What is Dye Sublimation?
Dye sublimation is a method of printing that uses heat sensitive inks to produce crisp, photo-lab quality print images. It is great to use for high-quality printing on fabric for even short quantity runs. The ability for use on short print runs, makes dye sublimation a great choice for personalization as well.
How Does the Dye Sublimation Process Work?
A sublimation printer uses the traditional 4 color process ink colors found in conventional printing; cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The printer contains film embedded with dyes of the four main process colors. As the printer heats up these dyes will turn into a gas, which then permeates into a polyester sublimation paper. The process of turning the dye into a vapor and back to a solid on the polyester transfer is sublimation. Finally, the sublimation paper is applied to the product and put into a heat press to complete the transfer.
What are the Benefits of Dye Sublimation?
There are many benefits to using dye sublimation printing over other traditional print methods. Some of the benefits are:
- Images Do Not Fade or Crack – Since the heat causes the dye to become part of the fabric it is applied to, the image is more durable, resists cracking, and can be washed without risk of fading.
- Images are High Quality– Dye sublimation printing applies the ink as vapor, opposed to traditional print methods that lay down colors in dot patterns, resulting in white space in between the dots that can lessen the quality of an image and give it a more rough appearance. The process in dye sublimation creates a graduation around the edge of the pixels creating a much smoother, more natural image.
- Can be Used for Short Runs – Traditional printing methods, such as silk screening, often require longer runs to be cost effective. The process of dye sublimation makes shorter runs not only achievable but cost effective as well.
- Customization is Easy– Since the process of dye sublimation involves individual prints, product personalization is easy. Adding names, numbers, or other personal touches to a product is as simple as creating a new file.
What Products can Dye Sublimation be Used On?
This process can be used on any lighter colored, 100% polyester fabric. While 50/50 cotton fabric products can be used, this often results in designs that can fade. Dye sublimation can be used for promotional or team t-shirts, flags, fabric trade show displays, artwork pieces, fabric decor, and custom fashion pieces. Whether you are sponsoring a sports team, planning a group event, or promoting your company at a tradeshow, dye sublimation is a great way to present your brand using high-quality images.
In addition to fabrics, sublimation can be utilized on many polymers that are approved for heat transfer including,
- Ceramic Tiles
- Promotional Pieces
- Rigid Substrates
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