Sublimation Printing Guide

Sublimation on Cotton Process and Tips




Sublimation on Cotton Process and Tips

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Sublimation on cotton is no longer a dream in the printing world. Because with modern technology, the appropriate techniques have already been developed to make this possible. It only took changing the way we perceived transfer paper and revolutionizing it. So now we’ve a type of paper and vinyls that make sublimation possible on fabrics other than polyester.

Many brands today are also offering fans of garment decoration many good alternatives. With transfer papers that are used for cotton fabrics. In addition to working on the sublimation printers that are available in the market. Now, how does this procedure work? Next, we mention it to you.

How you can sublimate on cotton?

The process isn’t very different from common polyester sublimation. The only difference is that you’ll have to use a type of transfer paper that is special for cotton. From here, the procedure is the same when printing the design. Use the sublimation printer that you are used to using with specialty paper.

Then proceed to apply the design with pressure and heat on the garment you have selected as usual. However, you must be wondering how does this work? How is it possible that the design is embodied in the cotton? We all know that common sublimation ink doesn’t usually adhere to cotton. But this is where paper makes a difference.

This special transfer paper is suitable for these fabrics since it has a thin polyester film or a polyester cover. Just as non-textile materials for sublimation are coated with polyester, this paper has the same coverage. And this is the small difference that makes sublimation on cotton possible.

This leaves an excellent result to the touch, as the print doesn’t usually feel like a true sublimation to the touch. In addition to having a good level of color degradation to apply in light colors or simply white. And as for the washes, it’s totally wonderful.

The process of sublimation on cotton:

Now that you know that it’s possible the sublimation on cotton, you must be interested in this process. That is why we’ll explain the process of sublimation on this material. Which is quite easy if you already master the good art of stamping with this technique. But before we start with the steps, we will mention what you need.

First, what you’ll need is the special cotton transfer paper, a silicone-treated cover sheet, the heat press, the sublimation printer, the fabric you want to print, and a graphic design program.

The elaboration of the design:

You can use a large number of programs to make your design, it’s a totally free decision. But we recommend that you always choose colorful designs that stand out in the white color of the fabric. You should also try to use designs in PNG format and with a fairly good resolution to achieve quality sublimation.

Now, something very important is that your design must have at least 150% in the CMYK values. Since these are the values ​​in which you’ll see your print on the fabric. Remember that printers don’t usually produce the same colors that are on screen, and the CMYK process gives us the best approximate of the results.

Time to print!

Configure your design and send it to print on your printer. Of course, first don’t forget to have placed the special paper in the position indicated by your printer. Wait for it to finish doing its thing, and take out the print to continue. Your design will come out wet and you need to make sure it doesn’t dry out before you can finish the job.

It’s time to press:

Here is an important piece of information, you have to pre-press the fabric that you’ll use with the transfer machine. For about 30 seconds, press on the garment to do this simple step. Then find the paper with the design and align it correctly. Before continuing, place the sheet with silicone or parchment paper on the paper with the design.

It’s time to press the machine with the paper on the garment at a temperature of 356 ° F or the temperature that your special transfer paper indicates. You’ll only do this for 30 seconds if you want to have a good result. When you’re done, just peel off the paper from one corner to the other side.

Final steps:

You’ll find a paper with a glossy or matte finish, whichever you prefer and you’ll place it on the design. Now press again for 30 seconds on this paper. Thanks to this small but important step you can have a much more durable finish. It’ll even be durable for multiple washes. Sure, it’s totally optional, but you’ll realize the difference once you start doing it.

After this you will have finished and you’ll have your new garment to wear or sell. You also will have all the advantages and comforts of cotton, with the low cost and flexibility of sublimation printing.

Sublimation on cotton Tips:

If you’re new on this, you’ll surely need a couple of tips to sublimate in cotton. So pay close attention to the following:

  • Select the correct side of the transfer paper with the surface to be sublimated.
  • Preheat and pre-press the fabric you’re going to sublimate. Especially if there are low temperatures in the place, since the heat will give better results.
  • Before using the paper, make sure it’s not damp.
  • Prepare the material a few minutes before.
  • Avoid shadows in your design for best results.
  • Always use a small margin on the sheet in your design to make sure it’s perfectly aligned.


So you’ll see that sublimating on cotton is no longer a dream thanks to the solutions we have today. And the best thing is that you don’t need to do a totally different procedure than ordinary sublimation. Just changing the transfer paper is enough for you to take your designs to cotton.

This is a very easy, cheap and fast way to enjoy all the advantages that cotton offers. With the comfort and freshness that this fabric offers us, you’ll no longer have to use other more expensive printing methods. Simply changing the type of sublimation transfer paper is enough to get good results.

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