Have you heard of dye sublimation printing before? Even if you haven’t heard about it before, it’s very likely that you’ve seen it used before, but just haven’t known what it was. Originally, dye sublimation printing was used for paper printing. The method allowed for paper prints that you couldn’t see the pixels even when you got really close to the image. After some time, technology was developed so that dye sublimation could be used to print on garments. Nowadays, sublimation printing is a very popular method for custom garment decoration.
Dye sublimation printing is different than traditional screen printing in some fundamental ways. Screen printing works by using colored inks over screens that have an image on them. The ink is pulled across the screen with a squeegee and the ink is laid on the surface of the garment in the shape of the design on the mesh. When all the colors of the design are printed, the garment goes into a dryer to set the print. The Dye sub process starts with a high resolution image that gets printed by a special printer onto a heat resistant paper. The dye used in the printer is formulated specially for sublimation. The image to be printed is laid over the garment and placed into a machine that will apply high heat and pressure for a short time. The dyes on sublimation transfer paper will be released as a vapor and absorbed into the material of the garment.