Sublimation Printing Guide

Is Sublimation Printing Waterproof? 




Is Sublimation Printing Waterproof? 

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Sublimation is a scientific term that refers to the process of turning a solid into a gas without changing it into a liquid first. In printing, sublimation entails heating solid inks into gas which moves into a material and bonds with it on a molecular level. Due to this brilliant scientific principle, sublimation printing produces realistic and quality graphics. Sublimation printing has many benefits. But is it waterproof? That’s what we will be focusing on.

What is Waterproof Print?

A Man wearing blue and pink angry bird printed t-shirt

A while back, the only options printers had when waterproofing their projects were to laminate or use fixative sprays. However, thanks to technological advancements, we have waterproof papers which can be exposed to water, and the ink will not smudge.

Waterproof printing entails techniques and materials that printers use to preserve the life of the printed object even when they are exposed to moisture. Waterproof print is very effective for materials that will be used outdoors.

Can I Print on Waterproof Paper?

Waterproof papers are synthetic papers that are designed to be resistant to water damage. Most waterproof papers will withstand light contact with water. It is possible to print on waterproof papers. As a matter of fact, it’s effortless for you to do so. The only requirement is that you must have the correct printer. The biggest challenge with printing on waterproof paper is that sometimes you may have to use a special printing method. If you are interested in printing on waterproof paper, you need to research further on the type of paper you should use and whether it must undergo special printing.

Is Sublimation Printing Waterproof?

One of the perks of sublimation printing is that the final finish is waterproof. Unlike traditional printing, whereby the dye is attached to the surface of paper or material being printed, with sublimation, the ink is heated into gas which infuses with the substrate it’s being printed on. The ink then attaches itself to the substrate on a deeper molecular level.

Due to the rigorous method by which the ink is bonded to the material during sublimation printing, the final finish is often waterproof. The images or content printed through sublimation do not wash off easily, and neither do they fade. Undeniably, sublimation is one of the most durable printing methods. Therefore, if you are interested in a type of print that will withstand water damage, sublimation is an excellent choice.

Is Sublimation Ink Waterproof?

Sublimation inks are high-quality waterproof dyes that will not dissolve when exposed to water or moisture. Unlike most inks that smudge when they contact water, sublimation inks that have been heated will retain their current state. Besides being waterproof, sublimation inks are also resistant to peeling and cracking. To be sure that the sublimation ink you are using is water-resistant, it’s best to source them from reputable sellers and brands. It’s also important to note that sublimation ink doesn’t smudge when exposed to high temperatures during printing.

Can You Sublimate on Waterproof Fabric?

Sublimation printing can be done on various fabrics, including spandex, rayon, acrylic, and rayon. The good news is that waterproof fabric can also be sublimated. However, not all waterproof materials are ideal for sublimation printing. This form of printing works best and is more durable on fabrics that contain polyester or its blend. Even though it’s possible to sublimate on waterproof fabric, you must evaluate the material used to make the fabric and whether it’s suitable for sublimation.

Sublimation printing on a waterproof fabric guarantees the longevity of the print. That’s because the printed material will be protected from water damage.

Are Sublimation Stickers Waterproof?

Sublimation photo stickers

Stickers can be used to add beauty and for decoration. Sublimated stickers are an excellent choice if you want stickers to use outdoors or in high moisture areas. To create waterproof stickers, you will need sheets, a sublimate printer, ink, and a strong adhesive. When it comes to stickers, the sublimation process is the same. The water-resistant ink penetrates the sticker’s surface, creating a high-quality graphic or image. Waterproof stickers will hold up well even when rained on or submerged in water. You can use sublimation stickers as car decals since they won’t be damaged by either rain or car washes.

If you prefer a more DIY approach to creating stickers, you can use sublimation printing on vinyl. Unlike a printed sticker, sublimated vinyl is waterproof. One of the reasons why sublimation also works on vinyl is because it contains polyester. Remember when we talked about fabrics and mentioned how sublimation works best on polyester? That also applies here.

Waterproof Sublimation Printing Tips

Having determined that sublimation printing is waterproof. Before you embark on such a project, here are tips to ensure you get the most out of waterproof sublimation printing.

  • Make sure that you use waterproof sublimation ink. This guarantees the durability of the print.
  • Secondly, you should sublimate print on a waterproof fabric/paper. If you anticipate that the printed material will be exposed to a lot of moisture, it’s crucial to go with waterproof fabric/paper.
  • Invest in a quality sublimation printer. The type of printer used will determine how good the printed results will be. Take your time to choose a quality sublimation printer. If you will be doing a lot of printing, go for a big one that will save you more time. The same applies to heat press machines.
  • Don’t hesitate to perform several tests until you can get the hang of it. Even though your sublimation printer will come with instructions, you can always perform tests to sharpen your printing skills. There are plenty of videos online where you can watch people sublimate and learn a trick or two.
  • Remember to purchase sublimation accessories such as heat gloves to prevent your hands from getting burnt. Spray adhesives and Teflon sheets are also essential.


Sublimation printing allows you to create water-resistant materials which can be used outdoors or in areas that experience a lot of moisture exposure. Besides being waterproof, sublimation printing can be used on many substrates, including waterproof paper. This method of printing produces clear and bright images that will withstand the test of time.

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