The Best 5 Alternatives To Sublimation Printing

  • By: Printysublimation
  • Date: April 17, 2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

When it comes to printing designs on garments, mugs, or any other products, sublimation printing is the first method that comes to our mind. But there are many more printing methods that you can use to give custom designs on products. We will discuss here 5 such alternate methods that are much prevalent and very useful.

1.  Heat Transfer:

Heat Transfer is a process that is almost the same as sublimation printing. The only difference that lies between the sublimation process and the heat transfer is in the science of transferring the ink into the cloth.

Product Requirements

You will need these products to start your heat transfer printing business.

  • Computer – You will need to create your designs for which you will require a computer with graphic design software.
  • Printer – You will need a printer to print your designs on heat transfer paper.
  • Heat Press – There are many different types of heat press available in the market, you will need to get one that serves your printing purpose.
  • Heat Transfer Paper and Ink – For good quality printing, you will need compatible heat transfer paper and ink.
  • Other accessories – And then you will need other accessories such as a vinyl cutter, heat pads, heat tape, heat resistant sheeting, and substrates.

How Does It Work?

To get perfect print using the heat transfer method, you will need to follow the steps below:

  • Step 1- Get all your supplies and print the design on the heat transfer paper.
  • Step 2- Cut out the design from the heat transfer paper and warm up the heat press by adjusting the pressure and heat between 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and set the time between 20 to 60 seconds.
  • Step 3- Set the substrate and transfer in place and press the product.
  • Step 4- Take out the product once the transfer is complete and remove the film and thus your heat transfer process is completed.


  • Full-color photo prints can be done.
  • A variety of colors and placements can be experimented with.
  • Good for startups in small quantity.


  • Time-consuming.
  • The prints fade with time.
  • The prints are stiff.
  • Ironing will ruin the print.

2.  Vinyl Cutting:

This is another popular process of printing designs on garments and other merchandise. This method involved cutting vinyl sheets and then putting them on the t-shirt or other merchandise.

Product Requirements:

 You will need these supplies to start your vinyl cutting printing business.

  • Computer – This is the first requirement to do any printing job.
  • Color Inkjet Printer – To print your design on the vinyl sheets.
  • Printable vinyl – You will need a high-quality printable vinyl to design on.
  • Vinyl CAD cutter- To cut the vinyl sheets to perfection, you will need a CAD cutter.
  • Heat press – To print the designed vinyl sheets onto the t-shirt, you will need a heat press.
  • Other accessories – Clear vinyl laminate, cutting mats, cutting blades, and application tools.

How Does It Work?

To get perfect print using the vinyl cutting method, you will need to follow the steps below:

  • Step 1- Get all your supplies and print your design using an inkjet printer on the vinyl sheets
  • Step 2- After printing, using a CAD cutter carefully cut through the edge of the design on the vinyl sheets.
  • Step 3- Now take the designed vinyl sheet and place it on the t-shirt in a heat press.
  • Step 4- After you heat press it, you will see the vinyl sheet if embed with the t-shirt making your designing complete.


  • Durable final print.
  • No cracks show up on the design.
  • A variety of colors can be used.
  • Can be used on many fabrics.


  • The fabric becomes heavy.
  • Reduces flexibility of the fabric.
  • Not suitable for big designs.

3.  Direct To Garments (DTG):

This process of printing is another popular method of fabric printing. It is easy to execute and is almost the same as printing on a piece of paper.

Product Requirements:

    These are your basic requirements to start a direct to the garments printing business.

  • Computer & Graphic Design Software – To make your custom designs and start your printing business, you will need these two products.
  • DTG Digital Printer – For printing directly on the garments, you will need a special DTG digital printer.
  • Inkjet Printer Inks – Inkjet printer inks are of greater quality and you will need them for printing.
  • Heat press – This is a must for setting up the ink into the fabric.
  • Other accessories – Also you will need other supplies like a blower, papers, etc.

How Does It Work?

DTG is an easy printing process. It is almost the same as regular printing. You will need to follow these steps.

  • Step 1- Make your design using the graphic design software.
  • Step 2- Set up the DTG printer and place the fabric in it.
  • Step 3- Print the design on the fabric and heat press to embed the design.
  • Step 4- Lastly, give it some time to cool down and you will have your design printed.


  • Simple to use.
  • Can execute any custom design.
  • Can work in limited space.
  • Gives a soft finish.


  • High initial investment.
  • Takes time to print.
  • The design is less durable.

4.  Screen Printing:

This is a popular and widely used printing process. This process of printing designs gives vivid and durable results and also lets you create your hand-designed prints on any fabric.

Product Requirements:

You will need a few types of equipment and supplies to start the screen printing business.

  • Screen Printing Press – This press will help you to keep the fabric stretched and stabilized.
  • Flash Cure – This is used to dry the ink quickly for patterns.
  • Exposure Unit – The Exposure unit is used to expose the fabric to UV light
  • Computer – You can design by hand or use a computer for designing.
  • Other accessories – These would include pressure washer, squeegee, inkjet film, spray tack, emulsion, etc.

How Does It Work?

Screen Printing looks like a simple process but is a lot more technical when you work with patterns.

  • Step 1- Create your design template first using a computer or by hand.
  • Step 2- Place it carefully on the fabric and held it straight and firm.
  • Step 3- After setting up the film, carefully pour color on it and then spread it using a squeegee.
  • Step 4- Lastly, give it some time to dry or you can also heat pres it on low settings and you will get your design printed.


  • The ink gets absorbed deeply.
  • You can use many fabrics to print.
  • Multiple colors of the same designs can be made.


  • The area gets messy.
  • A lot of ink wastage.
  • The design pattern is limited.
  • The workstation must be dust-free.

5.  Hand And Spray Painting:

Hand and spray painting or simply spray painting is one of the easiest yet highly skillful ways of painting designs on a fabric or other items.

Product Requirements:

These are the basic requirements for setting up a spray painting unit.

  • Spray Station – You will need to designate a specific spray station to execute the print perfectly.
  • Spray Colors – You will need to purchase the different color sprays that you will need during the painting
  • Stencil – This is the base that will carry the design and on which you will spray colors
  • Other accessories – Also you will need hand gloves, cardboards, spectacles, a blower, etc.

How Does It Work?

The steps it includes are basic but they must be executed with care.

  • Step 1- Get your designed stencil or design one as per your need.
  • Step 2- Get the fabric you want to print and place it on the spray station fully stretched, make sure it does not have any fold.
  • Step 3- Insert cardboards below and in between the fabric to prevent the color from spreading below.
  • Step 4- Lastly, spray over the stencil to let the color in through the design gaps and let the fabric soak the colors.


  • It is easy to apply.
  • You don’t need to pay much for spray colors.
  • The initial investment is less.


  • The area gets messy.
  • You will have to buy colors individually.
  • §  The designs fade with time.

Final Words:

Painting and designing are some of the most popular hobbies of people around the globe. Also, with the influence of self-made designers and technology, people today want to wear and buy stuff that is custom-designed. And there are a lot more ways of printing custom designs on our clothes and other fabric. You must know them and find out one that appeals to you the most if you want to try your hand in this designing and printing fabric sector.

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