What is dye-sublimation

What is dye-sublimation

Dye-sublimation is a printing process that involves transferring dye onto various materials using heat. In this process, a design is first printed onto a special transfer paper using sublimation inks. The printed design is then transferred onto the intended material through a heat press.


During the heat transfer, the sublimation inks turn into gas and penetrate the surface of the material. As the material cools down, the ink reverts to a solid state, permanently bonding with the fabric or coating of the material. This creates vibrant, long-lasting, and high-resolution prints that are resistant to fading, cracking, or peeling.

Dye-sublimation is commonly used for printing on fabrics such as polyester, as well as on other items like mugs, phone cases, mousepads, and more. It allows for full-color printing with excellent color reproduction, sharp details, and the ability to print complex designs or photographs. Dye-sublimation printing is known for its durability, washability, and the ability to maintain the soft and breathable feel of the fabric.

Advantages of Dye Sublimation:

  1. Vibrant and Long-lasting Colors: Dye sublimation produces vibrant, high-resolution prints with excellent color saturation and sharpness. The colors become a part of the material, resulting in long-lasting, fade-resistant images.
  2. Continuous Tones and Gradations: Dye sublimation can reproduce smooth gradients and continuous tones, allowing for detailed and realistic images.
  3. Versatility: Dye sublimation can be used on a wide range of materials, including polyester fabrics, ceramics, metals, and more.
  4. Soft Touch and Breathable: Dye sublimation creates prints that are soft to the touch and maintain the breathability and texture of the original material.
  5. Durability: The prints produced through dye sublimation are highly durable, resistant to wear, and can withstand repeated washing without fading or peeling.

Disadvantages of Dye Sublimation:

  1. Limited Compatibility: Dye sublimation is mainly suitable for materials that have a high polyester content. It may not work well on natural fabrics like cotton or materials with low polyester content.
  2. Cost: Dye sublimation printers and inks can be more expensive compared to other printing methods, making it more suitable for larger production runs or specialized applications.
  3. Specialized Equipment and Expertise: Dye sublimation requires specific equipment such as heat presses and specialized inks. It also requires proper color management and heat application techniques to achieve optimal results.
  4. Limited Color Options on Dark Fabrics: Dye sublimation is most effective on light-colored or white materials, as the dyes are transparent. Printing on dark fabrics may result in less vibrant colors and require additional steps, such as using a white base layer.

Considering these factors will help you determine if dye sublimation is the right printing method for your specific requirements and materials.

Please note: For garment printing with heat treatment, if a vector file with CMYK / PMS code is provided, there may be a 5-10% possibility of printing chromatic aberration. However, if a non-vector file or a file without CMYK / PMS code is provided, the printing chromatic aberration may be more noticeable.