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Immerse your designs in vibrant color and durability with our cutting-edge sublimation printing, ensuring vivid and long-lasting prints on a variety of surfaces.


What is Sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing is a digital printing technique that involves the use of heat to transfer dye onto materials such as fabric, paper, or plastic. The process is called sublimation because the dye transitions between the solid and gas states without passing through the liquid stage. This allows the dye to penetrate the fibers of the material and create a more permanent and vibrant print.

Here's a basic overview of the sublimation printing process:

1. Design Creation:

A digital design is created on a computer using graphic design software. This design can include a variety of colors and intricate details.

2. Printing onto Transfer Paper

The digital design is then printed onto special sublimation transfer paper using sublimation ink. The ink is formulated to transform into a gas when heat is applied.

3. Transfer to Substrate:

The printed transfer paper is placed on the substrate (usually polyester fabric, coated ceramics, or other specially coated materials). The paper and substrate are then sandwiched together.

4. Heat Press:

The sandwiched layers are subjected to heat and pressure in a heat press machine. The heat causes the sublimation ink to turn into a gas, allowing it to penetrate the pores of the substrate.

5. Cooling and Setting:

 After the heat press process, the substrate is allowed to cool. As it cools, the ink reverts to a solid state, permanently embedding the design into the material.

Sublimation printing has several advantages:

Full-Color Printing

It allows for high-quality, full-color prints with intricate details.


The prints are more durable and resistant to fading compared to some other printing methods.

No Added Texture

Unlike some other printing techniques, sublimation printing doesn't add a layer on top of the material, maintaining its original texture.

Sublimation printing is commonly used for creating custom designs on apparel, promotional products, signage, and other items. However, it's important to note that sublimation works best on materials with a high polyester content or specially coated surfaces, as the process relies on the ink bonding with the polymer fibers.

Pro’s and Con’s of Sublimation Printing


  • Vibrant and Durable Prints: Sublimation printing produces vibrant, full-color prints with high resolution. The prints are durable and less prone to fading, peeling, or cracking compared to some other printing methods.
  • Versatility: Sublimation can be used on a variety of materials, including polyester fabric, ceramics, metal, and certain plastics. It's widely used in the production of apparel, promotional products, and personalised items.
  • No Additional Texture: Unlike some other printing methods like screen printing or direct-to-garment printing, sublimation doesn't add extra layers to the material. This means that there's no noticeable texture on the surface, and the original feel of the material is maintained.
  • Complex Designs and Details: Sublimation allows for the printing of complex designs with intricate details, making it suitable for products with diverse and customised graphics.
  • Cost-Effective for Small Runs: Sublimation printing can be cost-effective for small production runs, making it a viable option for customised and personalised items.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Sublimation inks are water-based, which makes them more environmentally friendly compared to some solvent-based inks used in other printing methods.
  • Limited to Polyester and Coated Surfaces: Sublimation works best on materials with a high polyester content or specially coated surfaces. It may not be suitable for natural fibers like cotton, as the dye doesn't bond well with them.
  • High Initial Cost: The equipment required for sublimation printing, including a heat press and specialized printers, can have a higher upfront cost compared to some other printing methods.
  • Not Ideal for Dark Fabrics: Sublimation printing is not suitable for dark-colored fabrics because the dyes are typically transparent. The color of the material can affect the final appearance of the print.
  • Limited to Flat Surfaces: The heat press process requires a flat surface, so sublimation is not ideal for items with irregular shapes or surfaces that cannot be easily flattened.
  • Complex Production Process: The sublimation printing process involves multiple steps and requires precision in terms of time, temperature, and pressure. This complexity may result in a learning curve for those new to the technique.
  • Not Suitable for All Applications: While versatile, sublimation printing may not be the best choice for all applications. For example, it may not be ideal for certain outdoor applications where exposure to UV light and weather conditions is a concern.

Sublimation is best suited for these materials

Sublimation works best on materials that have a high polyester content or are coated with a special sublimation coating.
The process relies on the sublimation ink bonding with the polymer fibers within the material.
Here are some common materials suitable for sublimation:

Polyester Fabric

  • Clothing items such as T-shirts, jerseys, and polyester blends are popular choices for sublimation printing. The higher the polyester content, the more vibrant and durable the print.


  • Sublimation is often used to create custom designs on ceramic mugs, plates, tiles, and other ceramic items. The coated surface allows for the transfer of vibrant designs.


  • Aluminum and other metal surfaces coated with a polyester-based coating are suitable for sublimation printing. This is often used for creating personalised metal photo prints, nameplates, and plaques.

Polyester-Coated Products

  • Various products come with a polyester coating specifically designed for sublimation. These can include phone cases, mouse pads, keychains, and more.

Polyester-Based Apparel and Accessories

  • In addition to T-shirts, sublimation is commonly used on other polyester-based clothing items such as hats, socks, and scarves.

Polyester-based Upholstery and Home Decor Items

  • Sublimation can be used for customising polyester-based upholstery fabrics, curtains, and home decor items.

Certain Plastics

  • Some plastics, especially those with a polyester coating, can be sublimated. However, not all plastics are suitable, so it's essential to check the compatibility of the specific type of plastic.

Sublimation Blanks

  • Manufacturers produce a range of "sublimation blanks" – products that are pre-coated or made of materials suitable for sublimation. These blanks include various items like puzzles, coasters, and ornaments.

It's important to note

It's important to note that sublimation is not suitable for natural fibers like cotton or materials with low polyester content, as the dye does not bond well with these materials. Additionally, the surface should be relatively flat, as the sublimation process requires good contact between the material and the transfer paper during the heat press step. Always check the compatibility of the material and coating before attempting sublimation to ensure optimal results.


Things to take into consideration

  • Set up fee: No set up of artwork received in correct format ($60 applies if not in correct format)
  • Min order requirement: 10 for garments. Mugs and bagdes can be one offs.
  • Best suited for, things to consider: For garments with all over print or bold colour prints on white polyester only. Ideal for name badges and mug printing.
  • Material best suited for: Polyester only. Sublimation mugs and name badges.

How do I obtain a quote for Sublimation?

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    In Summary

    Screen printing is a robust and versatile printing method with its strengths in durability, vibrancy, and cost-effectiveness for large runs. However, it may not be the most suitable option for every printing need, especially for small quantities and highly detailed designs.

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    Loved and Trusted since 2014

    Our journey since 2014 is a testament to the enduring trust our customers place in us for all their printing needs. Experience the difference of a printing partner that has been loved and trusted for a decade – where excellence is not just a promise, but a tradition.

    Gaby Silver
    Gaby Silver
    Best service ever. I could not possibly be happier with the service that I got from Cindy and the team at Promo Printing. I had a very urgent job with a ridiculously tight turnaround and Cindy worked absolute miracles to make it happen. The finished product was exceptional quality and Cindy went way beyond the call of duty ta make sure that it was done on time. If you need embroidery or printing done on time, on budget with a personal touch, look no further.
    Ramon Dumadag
    Ramon Dumadag
    Great service from start to finish. I would highly recommend Promo Printing with all your promotional needs.
    Trent Bartel
    Trent Bartel
    The team at Promo Printing were great to deal with, great pricing and fast turnaround. I will use these guys again.
    Chloe Grimmer
    Chloe Grimmer
    AES have loved all our Promo Printing uniforms! Always professional and easy to communicate with. They are extremely helpful and we are always very happy with the finished product! Thanks Promo Printing for all your help! Looking forward to continuing working together in the future.
    Maureen Congreve
    Maureen Congreve
    I can recommend them to anyone. They are very efficient and quick to respond. Work is excellent. Would go back anytime.
    David Hooker
    David Hooker
    Great experience with Promo Printing. Excellent communication throughout the process, transparent pricing and a quality product. I will return when I need more company polo's.
    Bunmi Ajayi
    Bunmi Ajayi
    Great and speedy service from Cindy and Team. Highly recommended
    Amazing fast, professional and friendly service. I had a small, what most would find an annoying request and the job was no problem for Promo Printing. Not to mention the quality is great. Thanks so much xx
    Nicole Rojas Venegas
    Nicole Rojas Venegas
    Prompt and great service. I requested a quicker development time if it was possible, and the people from promo printing made it possible. Very happy with the result and the timing :D
    Kyle Newman
    Kyle Newman
    Such a easy and thorough process. Great value for money. Highly recommend

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