Sublimation is a great way to get your own exciting and fun designs on apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, shirts, sweaters, and many more. The sublimation process uses heat to transfer ink or dye from a print to the shirt. Polyester shirts are the best option when you try sublimating a t-shirt or any other apparel because they do not let the ink or dye fade away after some time. We can assume that you must be looking for how to sublimate a t-shirt as you landed on our article.
Well, we are glad to say you are at the most right place to get your answers. You do not have to worry or put any extra effort as we came forward with a very easy, simple, and convenient guide with a step-by-step procedure so you can have a good time sublimating your old boring shorts to completely brand new and exciting colors.
You can use any photo or print to sublimate a t-shirt for a personalized look. Sublimating t-shirts with some memory pictures will be the best thing you can gift to your close friends and family on occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, valentine’s day, or any other important event or occasion you can think of.
T-shirts are not the only option you can design by sublimation process. You can also make personalized hoodies, sweaters, all kinds of apparel, bags, boxes, mugs, and many other things. Make sure you go through this guide and procedure till the very end without any distraction so you do not miss an important thing.
The process of sublimating a t-shirt might seem difficult to you at first glance but the process is not as difficult as it seems. If you are concerned about the professionalism in this field then let us clear to you that you do not have to be experienced or a professional to solve this sublimating issue because anyone like you and us can easily follow the steps below to get our exciting new shirt. Also, it is way more than fun to create your own designs via sublimation.
Let’s dig this up.
Step # 1: Gather materials
The first step of the procedure is to gather all the materials. Before we start the procedure of sublimating a t-shirt with new colors, we will advise you to gather all the required materials so you do not have to leave during the procedure or break the tempo. The list of things you will need is as follow:
👉 Heat Press/Electric press
👉 Cardboard sheet
Step # 2: Arranging the picture
The second step you have to fulfill is to find a perfect picture for yourself. You can either click it from your camera or you can also go on the browser to find one. You can choose any type of picture with any size or dimensions. If you are gifting the t-shirt to someone as a birthday present you can download a fun birthday image or you can make a collage using different pictures of them.
If your child loves superman or any other hero, you can also have a picture of them from the internet. Before you move onto the next step, make sure the pictures are of correct dimensions that go with the shirt and look good on it. After choosing the right picture for sublimation on a t-shirt, it is time to move forward to the next step.
Step # 3: Printing on sublimation paper
The next step of the procedure is to print on sublimation paper using an electric press machine. You can easily find sublimation paper from a nearby market or order from online stores. Click here (to choose the best sublimation paper). Heat transfer paper is also the same as sublimation paper.
To print on sublimation paper, transfer the image you chose to the electric press machine via the available connectivity method such as Bluetooth, USB, data cable, or card. Set up your press machine for colors, filters, and other crucial factors. You can also adjust the size of the print according to your t-shirt.
Step # 4: Setting up the shirt
The second last step of this sublimating procedure is to set up your press machine and t-shirt to carefully sublimate the design onto t-shirts. The press machine uses heat to transfer images so before you begin with this step, we advise you to take full precautions and safety measures required while working with a heated device.
Make sure the shirt is wrinkle-free so the design can effectively sublimate onto the shirt. You might have to iron it if there are so many wrinkles. Now, take the cardboard sheet and place it inside the shirt to create a tight shape. It is an important step so the front of the shirt does not get attached to its back due to excessive heat.
Step # 5: Transferring the image
The last and the most crucial step of the procedure is to transfer the image you chose to the t-shirt. Before transferring the image, preheat the press machine from 350 degrees up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit temperature for the best and quick results. Now, place the image onto the shirt where you want to create the print and attach it with the tape so it does not move while transferring the image.
Press on the image using the electric press machine for two to three minutes so the image can be completely transferred to the shirt. The image will be smoothly transferred to the shirt creating a flawless and crispy design on the shirt.
Since you have gone through the whole process of sublimating a t-shirt, it is time to consider some washing instructions and precautions so your colorful new t-shirt does not get damaged from washing and you can have the best experience while working on sublimation. The instructions and precautions are as follow:
👉 Do not use warm water for washing sublimated shirts or apparel.
👉 Always wash them in cold water.
👉 Let them dry naturally at a cold temperature.
👉 Protect sublimated apparel from any kind of heat as it can damage them.
👉 Use good quality detergent to wash your sublimated apparel.
👉 Avoid using a brush on sublimated shirts for washing.
As we are here to conclude “how to sublimate a T-shirt,” we hope you must have understood everything clearly without any complexity as we tried our best not to leave any room for confusion. If you focus on the process of sublimating a t-shirt with full attention then we assure you no one can stop you from creating your own t-shirt brand. For the first attempt, we will recommend you to practice on an old t-shirt so you can have a better understanding of things. Also, do not forget to follow the washing instructions that we described.
Let’s revise everything we learned so far so you can go back and check if you unintentionally left something. First, we had a little introduction and then we moved to the procedure which included gathering materials, arranging the image, printing on sublimation paper, setting up the t-shirt, and then transferring the image. At last, we took a look at the precautions and instructions you should consider. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Question
How long to sublimate a t-shirt?
In order to sublimate a 100% polyester shirt set the heat press temperature to 385 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-60 seconds.
For cotton t-shirt: Set the temperature to 385 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds with the appropriate pressure.
Note: Preheat the machine for about 15 – 30 seconds and iron the shirt to remove any wrinkle and moisture.
Dye sublimation vs Screen printing, Which one is better?
Both have their own pros and cons. You need to select according to your need.
Dye Sublimation in nutshell: This method is useful for small projects, not cost-effective in bulk printing. With the CMYK color profile, you can print any color to your liking without any additional cost. Moreover, it works well on polyester fabric.
Screen printing in nutshell: It’s cost-effective for large projects and could be done on any fabric easily. Moreover, you can use different types of ink to create 3d effects and foil prints.
What last long sublimation or screen printing?
Both of these methods produce durable prints if executed properly. Prints created with sublimation or screen printing won’t fade with repetitive wash.
Which material could be used for sublimation?
Three types of material could be used for sublimation. Cotton, polyester, and synthetic. Each fabric has its own properties and bond according to it with a sublimation process. Methods and results vary on every fabric.
What is the best cotton or polyester for sublimation?
It is recommended to use polyester for sublimation as it delivers vivid and bright color output. Cotton is also another great substitute but print doesn’t last long on it. Although there are some techniques available to make it durable.