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Sublimation Transfers Ready to Press: What to Know Before You Buy

Sublimation Transfers Ready to Press: What to Know Before You

Sublimation Transfers: Know Before You Go

by Jeff Butler · Senior Strategist

Sublimation transfers are a popular choice for businesses and organizations looking to produce high-quality, full-color prints on a variety of different materials. From sports jerseys and team uniforms to promotional products and custom-printed items, sublimation printing offers a wide range of benefits, including durability, versatility, and vibrant, long-lasting prints.

But what if you don't own a sublimation printer? Can you buy sublimation transfers that are ready to press?

The answer is: yes you can.

However, there are also a few things to consider before making the decision to use preprinted sublimation transfers.

Let's explore some of the key things you need to know before you make the leap into ready to press sublimation transfers, including the types of materials that are suitable for sublimation printing, the potential for color shifting, and how to provide the best quality artwork and photographs.

Looking for large format ChromaLuxe photo panel printing services? We do that. Learn more.

What is sublimation printing?

What is sublimation printing?

Dye sublimation transfer is a process where you take a digital image, print it with a sublimation printer using sublimation inks, onto sublimation transfer paper. Once you’ve printed your sublimation transfer, you place it under a heat press, affixed to your polyester or poly coated item (substrate), and heat until the inks turn to a gas and transfer the image onto the item.

The sublimation process combines the ink with the textile and permanently imprints the artwork or design into the substrate. The result is durable and significantly less prone to fading, as the dye penetrates the material instead of laying on top like a surface decoration technology such as heat transfer paper.

What is a sublimation transfer?

Sublimation transfers are created by printing an image onto special paper that is capable of absorbing and releasing sublimation ink when subjected to high heat and pressure. This process is typically carried out using a heat press machine.

Printing transfers requires a sublimation printer and a skilled operator. Your submitted artwork or photographs are brought into a prepress environment and prepped for the printing process by a graphics specialist. It's important to know that the operators and specialists handling your transfers are skilled in the area of sublimation printing - especially color management and output.

The key to getting great sublimation transfers is to provide your supplier with the absolute best, highest quality artwork and photographs possible. Like the old saying in the graphic design world goes: garbage in, garbage out.

Ready to get started? Check out our artwork requirements and fill out a quick quote request.

How do I provide quality artwork or photographs for sublimation transfer?

Here are a few steps you can follow to prepare and provide quality artwork or photographs for sublimation transfers:

  1. Choose the artwork or photograph that you want to use. Make sure it's high resolution and of good quality.
  2. If you are using artwork that you have created yourself, make sure that it is saved in a digital format such as a JPEG or PNG file.
  3. If you are using a photograph, scan it at a high resolution to ensure that the final sublimated image is clear and crisp.
  4. Use photo editing software to make any necessary adjustments to the image, such as cropping or color correction.
  5. Save the final image as a JPEG or PNG file.
  6. Provide the image file in a digital format using our online file upload system.

What is color shifting and color matching in the sublimation process?

What is color shifting and color matching in the sublimation process?

In the sublimation process, color shifting refers to the change in colors that can occur when an image is printed onto a substrate using sublimation inks. This can happen because the colors that appear on a computer screen or a printed image may not match the colors that are actually produced by the sublimation inks.

Color matching refers to the process of adjusting the colors in an image so that they more closely match the colors that will be produced during the sublimation process. This can be done using color management software and color calibration tools, or by adjusting the colors manually using photo editing software and the proper color charts.

By carefully managing and adjusting the colors in an image, it is possible to produce sublimated images that more closely match the colors of the original artwork or photograph. This is why it is key to make sure you are dealing with professionals that understand the sublimation process.

Need to chat about your sublimation printing project? Give our Print Services experts a call. 1-800-826-6332

What can I make with sublimation transfers?

What can I make with sublimation transfers?

What custom products can you make using sublimation? For starters - full color name badges, coffee mugs, metal art prints, home decor items such as towels and pillow cases, performance apparel - the list goes on! The world of blank sublimation products is exploding right now. You have more options for high quality, in-demand, and on-trend products than ever before. Perceived value of these products is at an all-time high. This means great returns for your print-on-demand business.

Read: The Ultimate Guide to the Top Sublimation Products You Should Be Selling.

What kind of heat press machine do I need to press sublimation transfers?

Sublimation transfers require anywhere from 375° to 425° F and demand serious force in pressing often from 40-80 psi. You may consider upgrading your existing press for a sublimation heat press machine if yours is not up to spec.

A sublimation heat press is simply a heat press built using a swing-away design. The swing-away design makes it ideal for sublimation by allowing the operator full access to the pressing table with a swing of the handle. We recommend George Knight heat presses.

George Knight Heat Presses have been the backbone of literally thousands upon thousands of sublimation and heat transfer businesses over the past four decades, providing a reliable workhorse of a product that stands up to the demands of any imprinting business. Proudly made in the USA and used globally by professionals across many facets of the industry of heat press applied technologies.

Read: DK20S - The Best Professional Heat Press for Sublimation?

Is it Worth it to Invest in Ready-to-Press Sublimation Transfers?

Is it Worth it to Invest in Ready-to-Press Sublimation Transfers?

If you are in the market for transfer designs for your t-shirts, bags, or other products, you may be considering the option of purchasing preprinted, ready-to-press transfers. While this option may be more convenient and remove some of the guesswork involved in producing high-quality transfers, it is important to note that it will likely be more expensive than producing the transfers yourself using your own sublimation printing equipment.

While the initial cost of purchasing the necessary equipment may be intimidating, the long-term cost savings and flexibility of being able to produce your own transfers may make it a more financially viable option.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase preprinted transfers or to produce them yourself will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Our Print Services department leverages over 3 decades of experience in sublimation printing. Call for a consultation. 1-800-826-6332

by Jeff Butler · Senior Strategist
Conde Systems, Inc.

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