Sublimated Heat Transfers for T-Shirts: What They Are and Why You Should Use Them

Sublimated Heat Transfers for T-Shirts: What They Are and Why You Should Use Them

If you're looking for a way to add high-quality, full-color designs to your t-shirts, sublimated heat transfers may be the solution you need. These transfers use a unique printing process to create vivid, long-lasting images that won't peel or crack like traditional screen printing.

What Are Sublimated Heat Transfers?

Sublimated heat transfers utilize heat and pressure to transfer a dye-based image onto a substrate as a form of printing process. The image is printed onto a special transfer paper using a sublimation printer, which uses special inks that turn into a gas when heated.

When the transfer paper is placed onto the t-shirt and heated with a heat press, the ink turns into a gas and bonds with the fibers of the shirt. This creates a permanent, full-color image that won't peel or crack over time.

Benefits of Sublimated Heat Transfers

One of the main benefits of sublimated heat transfers is their ability to create vibrant, detailed designs with no color limitations. Unlike screen printing, which can only use a limited number of colors, sublimation printing can create any design with any number of colors.

Sublimated heat transfers are also great for creating custom t-shirts on demand. You can print as many or as few shirts as you need, without having to worry about minimum order quantities or setup fees.

Another benefit of sublimation printing is that it creates a soft, breathable print that won't weigh down the shirt or make it uncomfortable to wear. This is especially important for athletic wear or shirts that will be worn in hot weather.

Finally, sublimated heat transfers are incredibly durable. Unlike screen printing, which can crack or fade over time, sublimated transfers are permanent and won't wear off even after multiple washes.

Tips for Using Sublimated Heat Transfers

If you're interested in using sublimated heat transfers for your t-shirts, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

            • Use high-quality images: Sublimation printing can create incredibly detailed images, but it's important to start with a high-quality image to ensure the best results. See our listings to order your ready to press designs here!

            • Choose the right fabric: Sublimated heat transfers work best on polyester fabrics, as the ink bonds more easily with the fibers. However, they can also be used on cotton blends or other fabrics with a high polyester content.

            • Use the right heat and pressure settings: In order to ensure proper bonding of the transfer with the shirt, it is crucial to set the heat press to the appropriate temperature and pressure. A household iron is not recommended. A Cricut heat press is okay but a heavier duty heat press that does the pressure for you is better. A recommended  option is Professional 15 x 15 Digital Heat Press for High-Quality Sublimation Transfers on Amazon or this Cricut heat press for beginners

          • Test first: Before printing a large batch of shirts, it's a good idea to do a test run to ensure that the colors and design come out as expected.

          • Using butcher paper is necessary to protect both the heat press and the garment. We use and recommend this from Amazon

Ultimately, sublimated heat transfers are an excellent option for creating custom t-shirts with full-color designs that won't peel or crack over time. They offer a range of benefits, including vibrant colors, durability, and comfort. If you're looking for a way to create custom t-shirts on demand, sublimated heat transfers are definitely worth considering. 

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