Buyer's Guide: How to Choose The Best Sublimation Paper
What is sublimation paper?
Sublimation paper is a type of inkjet paper that is used in conjunction with both a sublimation printer as well as sublimation ink. Sublimation paper is essentially an ink carrier. The paper is printed with designs. The pattern is held in place by the paper when it is thermally pressed into the finished product.
Sublimation transfer sheet is a type of paper that is only used in sublimation printing. It is made on a paper substrate that is similar to regular paper. Sublimation ink is held in place by a specific coating put on the paper. Depending on the weight of the material when dry, the coating contains approximately 35 percent silica and 5 percent binder.
Sublimation Transfer is a method of transferring a digitally produced picture, by downloading from a digital camera, scanning, or directly creating it on your computer. The picture may then be reproduced on transfer paper with a printer utilizing special sublimation transfer inks. Sublimation ink becomes gas when subjected to heat. The polymer coated item's pores open up, allowing the gas to enter. The holes of the material surface then shuts close after being withdrawn from the heat, trapping the ink within.
To the touch, the entire frame will be smooth. It is a transfer procedure in which the picture is incorporated into the actual thing. Sublimation requires a particular ink, paper, and material with a polymer coat to function.
How does Sublimation Transfer Printing Work?
Sublimation does not involve the use of any liquid. Inks that have been heated from a solid form on sublimation paper turn directly into gas. This is a printing technique that attaches to poly fibers, and the pores increase as the poly fibers are heated. These porous surfaces then enable the gas to enter, where it bonds to the fabric before returning to its solid state. As a result, rather than being a layer imprinted on top, the ink becomes part of the fibers themselves.
What kind of paper is used for sublimation?
You may be wondering whether a form of clothing embellishment is superior: heat transfer paper versus sublimation printing paper. Well, they are both fantastic! The strategy you use, however, is determined by your needs or what you want to accomplish. Furthermore, each approach has its own set of pros and downsides. Let's go into the specifics to help you determine which is the best match for you and your company.
The process of sublimation is quite comparable to heat transfer paper. The procedure, just like in a heat transfer paper, entails printing a pattern onto a piece of specialized paper - in this case, sublimation paper - and heat pressing it to a clothing with a thermal press.
When heated, sublimation ink transforms from solid to a gaseous material that integrates itself in polyester fabric. When it cools, it solidifies and then becomes a permanent fixture of the cloth. Meaning, your transferred design will not add any additional layer on top of the fabric, so the printed picture and the rest of the cloth feel the same. This also indicates that heat transfer is extremely durable, and the graphics you create will survive as long as the object itself under normal settings.
What is special about sublimation paper?
It is, in fact, a type of paper used to print designs on garments and textiles. Heat is used in sublimation to evaporate ink & transfer it to garments. When sublimation ink is applied to fabric, it binds with the fibers and becomes a part of the cloth. So, if you simply happened to come upon some sublimation paper and intended to utilize it for the office, you're out of luck.
The aim of sublimation paper is one of the reasons it is so distinctive. Sublimation paper is not suitable for documents such as accounting sheets or recipe books. It is, in fact, a type of paper used to print designs on garments and textiles.
Is sublimation paper the same as heat transfer paper?
A heat transfer sheet is a specialized paper that you imprint on and then use a heat press to transfer the image to a fabric or hard surface. Heat transfer paper comes in two varieties: inkjet and laser. Each paper type requires its own printer type. Inkjet printers cannot utilize laser transfer paper, and vice versa.
Most office printers can use heat transfer paper. However, white toner printers will provide the highest quality and outcomes. These printers are particularly developed for clothing decoration and use a coating of white toner to transfer brilliant, full-color designs on colorful and dark clothes.
Sublimation is similar to heat transferring paper in a sense that it needs you to print a picture or design on specific paper before applying it to a medium with heat. However, there's one significant difference: the science of how the process occurs. Sublimation ink is dye-based and transforms from a solid to a gas when heated. This gas causes the cloth to be dyed. Sublimation is only suitable for white or light textiles since the ink actually dyes the threads of the garment.
Apart from the physics of the transfer, there are several distinctions between sublimation & heat transfer paper. These distinctions range from the substrates on which you may transfer to the feel, durability, weeding, and initial expenses.
Is it true that sublimation printing lowers product quality?
The most significant advantage of sublimation printing is its permanence. It also has a broad color spectrum. Sublimation printing allows the ink to infiltrate the surface of the object being printed and, as a result, the ink does not attach to the fabric's surface. As a result, graphics on cloth will not break, fade, or peel. Even after several washings, the colors will remain bright.
Does sublimation printing reduce the quality of the product?
It's usually preferable to never use copy paper using sublimation ink, but it's not impossible. However, unless the material was particularly designed to withstand sublimation ink, the quality and length of the ink would vary. If you intend to colorize your logo, campaign, or project, be sure the paper you chose can take a variety of colored sublimation ink types. Colors on standard copy paper may bleed through and damage your inkjet printer.
Sublimation ink might be your greatest friend when working on a large graphic design job. Having the appropriate sort of paper may do wonders for the final project's quality and ensure that everything turns out how you want them to. If your sublimation ink paper isn't operating properly, return to the store where you purchased it and speak with a staff member or management about why the paper isn't working properly. When utilized appropriately, the ink plus paper combo can help to make your creation as high-quality as possible.
What kind of role does a heat press play for high-quality sublimation printing?
If you've invested in high-quality sublimation paper/sheets, you'll need a heat press that can handle high-volume output at the same time. A decent heat press may last for numerous years and can keep up with your company's rising manufacturing capacity. If you start adding a heat press onto your manufacturing line, be sure you understand your production needs.
The heat press plays an important function in helping the ink to properly permeate the cloth. Unfortunately, if the heating temperature varies too much or the optimum pressure value isn't sustained, you may receive low-quality or inconsistent results. As an outcome, the color of certain regions seems light, while others appear deeper. To avoid such issues, you should invest in a high-quality heat press. Otherwise, you will incur additional fees and squander time.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Sublimation Paper
Startup Costs and Equipment Requirements
Garment decoration with heat transfer papers is among the least expensive ways to get started. You'll need a laser printer or an inkjet, which you may already have, heat transfer papers, a heat press, and the shirts or clothing you want to adorn to get started. That's all! A hobbyist's heat press will normally cost you approximately $300, and this will be your most significant first outlay. If you don't currently have a printer, we recommend starting with an inkjet.
Sublimation has a greater start-up cost over heat transfer paper, however this cost has decreased significantly in recent years. Sublimation starting kits have everything you'll need to get started in sublimation printing, except the heat press, at a rather low cost. This contains the sublimation printer, paper, necessary software, and a sample pack of sublimating materials. Aside from that, all you need now is a thermal press, which starts at roughly $300 for a hobbyist.
Feel and Durability
Sublimation is a procedure in which the ink becomes a fixture of the fabric instead of being applied as a coating on top. As a result, the transfer is unrivaled in terms of longevity and feel. Heat transfer paper, on the contrary, adds another layer over the clothing. This extra layer may be physically felt, is much less durable than sublimation, and can fade and break over time as a result of several wash cycles.
Some heat transfer sheets are more durable and softer than others, so it's crucial to know what you're looking for before purchasing.
Types of Materials
Sublimation has fewer garment options than heat transfer printing because of its limitations on the type of fabric it can adhere to.
Sublimation can only be used to print on polyester clothes; it cannot be used to adorn 100% cotton material. Only polyester clothing fibers are compatible with the dye-sublimation ink.
When using sublimation on 100 percent polyester materials, the decoration will be more colorful and dazzling than when using this process on poly-cotton mixes.
Because sublimation print leaves no additional layer on the garment, the cloth you're embellishing must be white or light-colored.
When it comes to the variety of colors and surfaces you can print on using heat transfer printing, it's a no-brainer. Cotton and polyester mixes, as well as dark and bright colors, may all be decorated using this technique.
Unlike sublimation, which can be used on a broad variety of hard surfaces, heat transfer printing can only be utilized on a limited number of substrates.
Relative to heat transfer paper, the sorts of materials you can decorate with sublimation are more limited. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to sublimation printing. No such thing as cotton of the highest quality! Due to the fact that sublimation ink only adheres to polyester, this is the case. Some poly-cotton blends can be used for sublimation, but the transfer won't be as brilliant as if you used 100% polyester. Because no additional layer is added to the fabric during the sublimation process, your transfer will only show up on white or extremely light-colored fabrics.
Heat transfer paper, on the other hand, may be used to decorate cotton, polyester, and cotton-poly mixes in both light and dark shades.
When it comes to decorating textiles (both hard and soft), heat transfer papers may be the obvious winner. However, keep in mind that sublimation may be utilized on a broad variety of soft and hard surface substrates as well. Heat transfer paper, however, cannot.
Colors You Can Produce
The great precision and clarity of sublimation printing produce a persistent, lifelike coloring. It's ideal for clients who would like a print in a certain hue (such as the one required for a corporate logo) or for you if you want to print images on textile.
Regardless of whether you use inkjet or laser heat transfer paper, you may not be able to get the same high-resolution, photo-quality transfer using heat transfer printing as you can with sublimation.
To get photo-quality prints using heat transfer printing on light-colored materials, you should use inkjet transfer paper or laser heat transfer paper created with an OKI light toner laser printer.
Inkjet heat transfer for pale clothes or laser heat transfer paper are your best bets for photo-quality printing using heat transfer paper.
Because just the ink is transmitted to the cloth during sublimation, the process spontaneously self-weeds. Simply print, press, and peel your way through the procedure!
In order to prevent the paper's form from showing through on your T-shirt, you'll need to cut around the picture with a scissor or a cutting machine when using heat transfer paper.
Otherwise, the paper's form will serve as a distracting backdrop on your clothing and you'll have to clean the transfer by clipping around the image with scissors. The amount of time it takes to create the design might be influenced by the trimming procedure.