No matter whether you’re an enthusiast or a beginner of T-shirt DIY, you must know about these three garment decoration methods: heat transfer vinyl, sublimation paper, and heat transfer paper.
Each of the methods has its own pros and cons and will meet your diverse needs regarding the visual effect and performance of the garment designs. Personally speaking, sublimation paper has to be my favorite one since the thinner texture and vibrant colors it brings.
So here I am going to recommend to you guys the best instruction for the sublimation paper and compare the differences between these three methods.
What is a sublimation paper?
It’s necessary to figure out the definition of a sublimation paper and the principle of how it works on projects. Sublimation paper is one kind of printable paper that can transfer its sublimation ink into garments to shape your ideal images.
It has no patterned vinyl that only needs to be dealt with outlines, and the images come out with just one color. With vibrant and bright colors printed on the white backing according to your design, the sublimation paper performs excellent color brilliance without being limited by its material.
And unlike heat transfer vinyl, which applies its vinyl to fabrics by melting the premium glue and then transferring it when heat pressing, the sublimation paper utilizes the heat to convert from solid to gas and then permeate into the fabrics to form into solid again after cooling down.
What is the sublimation paper for?
After learning about the principle of how sublimation paper works, we can basically guess what kind of projects it can suit. Soft things like fabrics can easily absorb the ink, but note that the sublimation paper cannot work with 100% cotton. If you want the best performance, adopt 100% polyester where the ink can adhere better. It's because the sublimation ink only binds to polyester material. Therefore, cotton and polyester blend can also act as a substrate for this material, only the brightness of the images may not be as good as the ones on 100% polyester.
Besides fabrics, it’s also suitable for hard objects like metal, glass, wood, ceramics, etc. But for creating fabulous works with these hard items, you need to pay attention to purchasing those with poly-coating so that the ink can perfectly play a role.
With such a wide range of projects, you can see that sublimation paper really works well for homemade decorations, car decals, and meaningful gifts for friends, lovers, and families.
What is the best sublimation paper?
I had got involved with several brands before, but eventually, I preferred HTVRONT Sublimation Paper as my favorite. Its top-quality material allows the printed images to dry fast and last for quite a long time. And with a high transfer rate of over 98%, this sublimation paper can help make beautifully decorated projects with bright, vibrant colors and intricate printing details. Totally worth of money!
How to sublimate a shirt?
Now we will dig into the most important part of beautifying an ideal T-shirt with your own hands. First, you need to prepare the following items in advance. Whenever you’re ready, the creation is about to be ready, too.
(2)A sublimation printer;
(3)A Teflon sheet;
(5)A heat press;
(6)A polyester T-shirt.
The most crucial part of creation must be to design your images. You need to make a design on the computer and remember to mirror it before printing it out on the sublimation paper.
Then you need to take care of all the details before printing, like setting up the proper printer parameters, checking if there is enough ink, and placing the sublimation paper piece by piece with the white side facing up. Print the image and wait until the ink has dried out.
But remember that sublimation paper only works with sublimation ink and inkjet printer. Laser printers and regular ink are not available.
Here comes the last but not least part: heat transfer. During this process, make sure that you set the appropriate temperature and time. Meanwhile, preheating the machine and the T-shirt is necessary for removing the moisture and wrinkles before transferring. When pressing with the heat, let the printed image face the T-shirt and fixed by heat-resistant tape. Then you can apply the press machine with corresponding pressure and enjoy your work when the pressing is finished
Sublimation VS Heat Transfer
In addition, still many people are considering the differences between sublimation paper and heat transfer paper. They are quite familiar and can both be printed with a whole image by printers.
Actually, the biggest distinction between them is the feeling that the results bring you. Since sublimation paper works by embedding the sublimation ink into the polyester fabrics, the area that the images cover feels as soft as how the rest part feels. However, the images transferred by heat transfer paper adhere to a layer first, which will cover the top of the fabrics. This way, the part covered by the images will feel much harder because of the additional layer on top.
Moreover, when applying the heat transfer paper to dark fabric, you may need to trim the extra parts. If you don't do that, you will physically feel the transfer layer even in the area that has no images.
Plus, the ink of sublimation paper can stay in the fabrics for a longer time than heat transfer paper. After repeated wash cycles, the images made by heat transfer paper may get faded and break.
In short, sublimation paper is good for handmade gifts with excellent durability and color brilliance. A perfect choice for beginners! Take it and give it a shot!