Sublimation An Affordable Way to Create Custom Shirts

Sublimation: An Affordable Way to Create Custom Shirts

Creating custom shirts has become increasingly popular in recent years as people look for unique ways to express themselves or promote their businesses. There are many ways to create custom shirts, but sublimation has proven to be an affordable and effective method for achieving vibrant and long-lasting designs. In this article, we will explore sublimation, how it works, and why it is a great option for creating custom shirts.

What is Sublimation?

Sublimation is a digital printing process that uses specialized ink and heat to transfer designs onto fabric. The ink is first printed onto sublimation paper, which is then placed onto the fabric and subjected to high heat and pressure. This causes the ink to turn into a gas and then bond with the fabric fibers, resulting in a permanent and durable print. Sublimation works best on fabrics that are at least 65% polyester, as the ink bonds best with synthetic fibers.

Why Choose Sublimation?

There are several reasons why sublimation is a great choice for creating custom shirts.


One of the biggest advantages of sublimation is its affordability. Compared to other printing methods, sublimation requires minimal setup costs and has a low cost per print. This makes it a great option for small businesses or individuals who need to create customized shirts in small quantities.


Sublimation prints are incredibly durable and long-lasting. The ink bonds with the fabric fibers, which means that the design will not crack, peel, or fade over time. This makes sublimation an excellent choice for sportswear, uniforms, and other garments that will be worn frequently.


Sublimation allows for a high degree of customization. Because the design is printed on a transfer paper, it can be easily resized, rotated, or manipulated to fit the desired area on the fabric. This means that you can create custom shirts with unique designs, patterns, and colors.


Sublimation prints are incredibly vibrant and bold. The ink is absorbed directly into the fabric fibers, which results in a bright and vivid print that will not fade or wash out. This means that your custom shirts will stand out and make a statement.

The Sublimation Process

Sublimation requires a few key tools and equipment to get started:

  • Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation ink
  • Sublimation paper
  • Heat press
  • Polyester fabric

Once you have your tools and materials, the sublimation process is relatively straightforward:

  1. Create your design using graphic design software
  2. Print your design onto sublimation paper using a sublimation printer
  3. Preheat your heat press to the appropriate temperature
  4. Place your polyester fabric onto the heat press
  5. Place your sublimation paper with the design face down onto the fabric
  6. Apply pressure and heat according to the manufacturer’s specifications
  7. Remove the transfer paper and admire your custom shirt!

FAQs About Sublimation on Shirts

What fabric is best for sublimation?

Sublimation works best on fabrics that are at least 65% polyester. The higher the polyester content, the better the ink will bond with the fabric fibers, resulting in a brighter and more vibrant print. Cotton and other natural fibers do not work well with sublimation ink.

What is the difference between sublimation and heat transfer vinyl?

Sublimation involves printing the design onto transfer paper and then using heat and pressure to transfer the ink onto the fabric. Heat transfer vinyl, on the other hand, involves cutting the design out of vinyl and using a heat press to transfer the vinyl onto the fabric. Sublimation results in a higher-quality print with greater durability, while heat transfer vinyl can be less expensive and faster.

Can I use any sublimation printer for shirts?

No, not all sublimation printers are created equal. It is important to use a sublimation printer that is specifically designed for fabric printing and has the necessary features and capabilities to handle the printing process. You should always do your research and choose a reputable brand and model.

Do I need to pre-treat the fabric before sublimation?

No, you do not need to pre-treat the fabric before sublimation. However, it is important to ensure that the fabric is clean and free of any debris or residue before printing.


Sublimation is an affordable and effective way to create custom shirts with vibrant and long-lasting designs. By using specialized ink and a heat press, you can achieve high-quality prints that are durable and customizable. If you are looking to create custom shirts for your business or personal use, sublimation may be the perfect method for you.