Sublimation Printing Guide

Is Rayon Good for Sublimation?




Is Rayon Good for Sublimation?

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Rayon is one of the most popular fibers for wearables and home textile printing. It is a versatile yarn that comes in many colors, weights, and textures. In other words, rayon is often considered to be a good choice for sublimation. Additionally, rayon is a very economical yarn. When it comes to sublimation, the economic factor is everything. Currently, rayon is offered in a huge variety of colors and weights. In this article, we will address how to sublimate rayon and what you can expect when printing on rayon.

What is Rayon?

Rayon is a man-made fiber that can be made from wood pulp, cotton, or other cellulosic fibers. The most typical variety of rayon is made from wood pulp. Its fiber content is usually 80% to 90% and the others can range from 1% to 9%. Other rayon usually contains other fibers like cotton, polyester, or acrylic to keep the fiber strength high.

Is rayon a polyester fabric?

White, purple, and black harlequin throw pillow on a stool

Rayon and polyester are two different materials, they are not the same. Rayon is a cellulose material that is made from natural fibers such as wood pulp. While polyester is a man-made fiber, it is made from petrochemicals and only a few percent of natural fibers, usually cotton or rayon. That’s why it’s more economical than rayon.

Moreover, polyester is not a natural fiber and does not change in color with the temperature or rinse. Polyester often has a shiny finish, while rayon is matte. Rayon also has lower tensile strength compared to polyester.

Does sublimation work on rayon?

Sublimation printing on rayon is possible and the results can be nice. We usually prefer to use sublimation for a lot of reasons; for one, we need to have a very good index of refraction to obtain the best results and another one is that sublimation prints are much more durable than other printing methods heat-set, and UV-set. This is why they tend to last much more than other types of prints. However, sublimation prints are not all created equal when it comes to quality.

Can I heat press on the rayon?

Heat pressing can be done on rayon, but it is not recommended. The reason is that heat pressing is an application of direct heat to the surface so the surface temperature increases very fast and the fiber expansion is higher. And for a short period, it can cause degradation in fiber strength and make it weaker or even permanently damage it.

Can you sublimate on 50% polyester 25% cotton 25% rayon?

Rayon can be mixed with other fibers such as polyester and cotton without any health hazards. However, this does not make the fabric craft-friendly. The softer fabric can lead to higher surface friction, resulting in a lower quality print. Additionally, the softer fabric can stretch and warp. Moreover, the results may vary depending on the combination; some combinations may even be a little better than others.

Can you sublimate on 95 rayon 5% spandex?

Rayon + spandex (Lycra) combination is a very good and popular choice for sublimation. The main reason is that Lycra offers a soft and stretchable fabric, while rayon gives a smooth surface with high durability and stability on top of good color results.

Can you use heat transfer on a rayon?

Heat transfer material is not applicable for print on rayon. This is because the heat applied to the material is too strong and can damage the filament. The heat-set coating will melt and then it will leave an undesirable mark on the fabric. This often happens when ironing fusing materials, such as iron-ons, to a garment like t-shirts. Moreover, other factors such as the speed of ironing and the temperature can influence the overall result. Another issue with heat transfer material is that once you’ve applied heat to the material, it can be stretched or warped.

Can you screen print on rayon?

Yes, screen printing is an option for sublimation on rayon. However, high-quality results may not be available because fabric stretching and surface friction will become issues.

How do I print rayon?

A Pile of Plain and Star Printed Fabric Rolls

The most common method to sublimate rayon is using a heat press machine with sublimation paper. The paper itself is made of polyester or polyethylene, which has the highest indices of refraction. The other good thing about using this method is that it does not require any chemical treatment for the fabric or special handling care.

How do I treat rayon before sublimation?

Rayon is a cellulose material, therefore it has a very high affinity with some common solvents like acetone or nail polish remover. It cannot be treated with water or ammonia because it will dissolve the fiber and uneven dyes.

Is rayon good for sublimation?

Rayon is a great choice for sublimation because of its inexpensive price tag and many available different weights, colors, and textures. In addition to this, this type of fabric is low in the list of fibers that can melt during printing.


Sublimation is a good alternative for people looking for a craft-friendly and durable printed fabric. It is also an economical choice as compared to other printing methods. However, some considerations should be taken before buying rayon-based fabrics or deciding to use them in your printed garment.

First and foremost, you should know what type of yarn you will be using. For example, rayon is not a natural material so it can’t sustain high temperatures during printing. We hope that the information contained in this article will help you choose the right fabric for your next project.

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