What Is Dye Sublimation

Screen Printing versus dye sublimation


Hey guys,

We are back with a quick post to inform you on one of our services that we offer. You will notice that we say we offer dye sublimation, but for most people the question becomes what is dye sublimation?  Without getting to technical, and boring, dye sublimation is a heat transfer technique that takes the special dye sublimation inks from the carrier (paper) and when heat applied to a substrate (t-shirts, socks, mugs ect) turns into a gas, and is dyed into the fabric or the substrate. Dye sublimation leaves a very soft “hand”.  When screen printers speak about “hand” they are referring to the feel of the inks on a garment.  Since dye sublimation turns into a gas this means the printed area of the shirt feels like….the shirt.



There are a few differences/ restrictions when printing with dye sublimation on clothing.  


  1.  Dye sublimation works best on high counts of  polyester. Think of the soft feel of your dri fit shirt or a tri blend. This is not your grandma’s polyester. It has a soft cotton feel. They come in a variety of colors, are extremely soft and just like cotton come in a variety of styles.


2. The lower the polyester count in the shirt the more “vintage” the print will be.  When I say vintage I mean distressed, washed which is actually popular, so if your custom t-shrit design has a distressed look feel free to ask us if dye sub is an option.  We will not print on a poly count less then 50%.


     3.  Dye sublimation does not print white ink. If you have white in your design. and print on a white shirt (or substrate) the white will become the white of the substrate. If you print on a colored shirt, the white will become the color of the garment. So if you print the USA flag on a blue shirt the white areas will be blue.


4. Since dye sublimated inks don’t print white and migrate into the fabrics of shirts please be mindful of what designs you print on certain colors.  When printing on colored garments the design (artwork) color must be darker than the t-shirt. With that said Dye sublimation is best for light colored garments.



Here are a few examples of our basic polyester tees available for dye sublimation.  We also have baseball tees, long sleeves and more.



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Here are some example of images dye sublimated.  We also use dye sublimation on many of our personalized gifts.

dye sublimation

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If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.  We want to become your number one resource for custom printing and personalized gifts in Columbus Ohio and beyond.  If you check out our Video’s page you will see a number of products that we offer that we use dye sublimation for.

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