How to Use Sublimation Transfer Paper

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How to Use Sublimation Transfer Paper

Sublimation printing is used to transfer images onto a variety of materials from t-shirts to ceramic mugs. It allows you to create personalized items from photos, graphic designs, and more. Sublimation is especially well suited for printing on clothing, as the ink is assimilated into the fibers of the fabric. You can’t feel the image on the material, making it more comfortable than screen printed designs. 

In order to try sublimation printing, you’ll need a specific type of transfer paper, a sublimation printer, sublimation ink, and a heat press. The image is printed onto the sublimation paper, then transferred to the garment with a heat press. In order to master sublimation printing, it is necessary to know how to use the transfer paper properly. Here’s how it's done. 

Step By Step Instructions for Using Sublimation Paper 

Here’s the process for sublimation printing broken down step by step: 

  1. Prepare the printer. The first step is to prepare the printer for sublimation printing. Load the sublimation ink and be sure the printhead is clean and ready.
  2. Load the paper. Load the sublimation paper into the printer according to the instructions on the package. The bright white side of the paper should be receiving the image.
  3. Flip the image. On your computer, the image will need to be flipped or reversed (like a mirror image) in order for it to transfer properly onto the garment.
  4. Print. Initiate printing through your computer and ensure that the printer activates. Check the image after printing to ensure it is correct before transferring onto the garment.
  5. Prepare the garment. Sublimation printing does not require the garment to be pretreated. However, for best results it helps to preheat the garment to remove wrinkles and moisture. Press the garment in the heat press for a few seconds before applying the image.
  6. Position the image. Position the image where you would like it to appear on the garment. Then place either a sheet of either teflon or parchment paper. Teflon often comes with your sublimation printer and is designed to be reusable after cleaning.
  7. Press. Press the image down onto the garment with the heat press and hold for the specified amount of time for the type of garment you are printing. For most fabrics the pressing time is about 30 seconds. For firm items the press time may be more like 60-90 seconds.
  8. Remove. Remove the sublimation paper from the garment and then remove the garment from the heat press. Lay flat to cool.

Tips for Success with Sublimation Paper

Here are some additional tips to help you print successfully with sublimation paper: 

  • Remove backing. Be sure to remove the protective backing from your sublimation paper, if there is one. Some types of sublimation paper include a clear layer that needs to be removed before printing the image onto the paper.
  • Secure your image. When you are ready to transfer the image from the sublimation printer to your garment, secure the paper with heat resistant tape or adhesive spray. This will prevent it from shifting as the heat press is applied.
  • Trim the paper. After you print the image onto the sublimation paper and it has fully dried, trim around your image before pressing to prevent a square shape from being visible on your garment.

Get Your Sublimation Printing Supplies from carries an extensive inventory of sublimation printers, heat presses, sublimation ink, sublimation paper, and other supplies you need for success. We carry a variety of Epson printers and supplies to help you achieve professional results. 

Visit today or browse our online catalog

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