How to Print Sublimated T-Shirts

sublimation, sublimation printers, sublimation printing -

How to Print Sublimated T-Shirts

Do you want to learn how to create custom t-shirts? Whether you’re getting into the t-shirt printing business or making shirts for personal use, sublimation is a popular method. Custom t-shirts with original designs are in high demand, making it a lucrative business venture. You just need to know how to get started. 

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing uses heat to transfer designs, words, and logos onto fabric. The heat helps the ink seep into the material for long lasting, vibrant images. 

What Equipment Do You Need?

  • Sublimation printer. Find your ideal model of sublimation printer. The Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 and the SG1000 are excellent sublimation printers. Producing photo quality images with eye-popping color, the Sawgrass Virtuoso series can help you create professional looking custom t-shirts. 
  • Sublimation ink. Sublimation printers require a specific type of ink. Ink for the Sawgrass Virtuoso printer models is available with the printer in starter kits and for individual purchase.  
  • Software. Sawgrass Virtuoso printers come complete with software so you can start designing and printing right away. 
  • Transfer paper. The printer prints the image onto transfer paper, like these by Epson
  • Heat press. The heat press transfers the image from the sublimation paper to the t-shirt. The Insta 828 and the Insta 1020 are both top quality heat press machines. Simply decide on the size you need for your garments. 
  • T-shirts/garments. You’ll need to purchase t-shirts to print your images on. Polyester works best for sublimation printing because the ink can more easily seep into the fibers. 

Step by Step Instructions for Sublimation Printing

Once you have the equipment you need, sublimation printing can be done in 3 easy steps. 

  • Create your design. Using the design software that is compatible with your printer, create your t-shirt design. 
  • Print your design. Print your design onto transfer paper using your sublimation printer. 
  • Transfer the design to the shirt. Using the heating press, transfer the design to the t-shirt. Be sure to line up your transfer paper on the t-shirt for best results. 

That’s all it takes. Sublimation printing is quick and easy, as long as you have the right equipment to do that job. 

What Kind of Design is Sublimation Printing Best Suited For?

There are a variety of designs that work well for sublimation printing. Designs that cover the whole shirt, such as polka dots or a Hawaiian pattern are a good fit for sublimation. Vibrant designs with a wide range of colors also work well. Even photographic images can be transferred to garments via sublimation. 

However, if your goal is to mass produce shirts with a single small logo, direct to garment printing may be a better option. 

What Makes Sublimation Printing Different From Other Apparel Printing Methods?

  • Sublimation vs Screen Printing. Sublimation printing allows the material to maintain breathability because the ink is absorbed into the fibers, as opposed to screen printing which produces a rubbery design that sits on top of the fabric. More realistic designs are possible with sublimation than with screen printing. 
  • Sublimation vs DTG Printing. With sublimation printing the image is printed on paper first, and then transferred to the garment via heat press, as opposed to direct to garment (DTG) printing that skips the paper transfer step. Sublimation printers are also more affordable than direct to garment printers. 

All Printheads Has Everything You Need for Sublimation Printing 

Now that you know how to print sublimated t-shirts, you just need the equipment to get started. has sublimation printers, ink, transfer paper, heat presses, and more to get your business up and running. We can also keep you stocked with ink, paper, and other consumables as you go. 

Visit to place an order to contact us for more information.

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