6 Great Sublimation Printing T-shirt Materials | Selective Fabrics

Sublimation printing T-shirt material is always of great interest when you want to produce a certain line of shirts. This leads to the question, what is the best sublimation printing material? In today’s article, TeeNavi will introduce you to 6 fabrics that ink can work well to produce a perfect result. Read the article to know more about this printing knowledge!

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1. What is the best sublimation printing t-shirt materials?

Sublimation printing is used to fill the entire shirt with a certain design. Here are a few good fabrics that are suitable for custom t-shirt printing to create a great sublimation product.

1.1 Synthetic fibres

Synthetic fibers are man-made fibers, made mainly from materials called petrochemicals. It is impossible to imagine today’s modern textile industry without synthetic fibers. Man-made fibers have always been valued like silk and have always been prized for their shine and smoothness.

how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts
Synthetic fibers are made up of petrochemicals

Some outstanding features of this fabric can be mentioned as:

  • Synthetic fibers do not wrinkle and are very durable.
  • They are elastic so they can be stretched easily.
  • They are strong and can withstand heavy loads.
  • They are soft and should be used in clothing materials: rayon, nylon, polyester
  • Man-made fibers are cheaper than natural fibers.

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1.2 100% polyester

Polyester is a man-made fiber. It is perfect for sublimation because the ink works best on man-made materials. Because of the advantage of being cheap, polyester is used in more than 60% of the entire industry. It is not difficult for you to find a shirt with polyester as a team shirt or sports shirt.

sublimation printing t-shirt material
Sublimation printing works best with polyester

The downside of this line of shirts is that they are quite soft to the touch but do not absorb sweat well. You may feel hot when you wear it or the fabric is prone to flaking. Because of this, business owners often use polyester blended fabrics.

1.3 Tri-blend fabric

Three-blend fabric is a soft fabric that is loved by many people. However, exposure time and temperature in the heat press machine are very important for this fabric. Therefore, when wanting to use this fabric, the manufacturer must accept the risk of a failed product or a less vivid print. But that doesn’t mean you should rate its quality low. This is a fabric that has the same sublimation ability as cotton. Therefore, the price of products made from tri-blend fabric will be a little more expensive than usual. But it’s well worth the price for a product that’s soft, and comfortable as they coat your skin.

sublimation t-shirt printing cost
Tri-blend fabric is soft and comfortable.

1.4 50/50 polyester and cotton

This combination fabric is also known as polycotton. In the first production, you can see amazing prints with vivid colors. But after the first wash, you may find that the print has lost 50% of its quality, as the cotton fibers do not retain their color. So this is not a suitable fabric for sublimation printing. However, they will be very suitable if you want to own a classic t-shirt.

sublimation printing t-shirt price
The fabric is suitable for sublimation printing but not very effective

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1.5 Heathered 65% polyester

Depending on the sublimation requirements you want in your products, you can also opt for the cyan fabric. This fabric also contains up to 65% polyester. Because they are woven from two different fabrics, their color will have small blobs, which you can easily see in gray t-shirts. Therefore, it is suitable for low-color prints, details are especially suitable for bold colors.

sublimation printing t-shirt price
The perfect fabric for sublimation printing

1.6 35% cotton 65% polyester

Sublimation will work best on a 65% polyester and 35% cotton blend. The best sublimation printing t-shirt material can speak to this combination. With the general formula, the higher the polyester ratio, the clearer and more vivid the print will be. Polyblend would be a perfect choice for a classic look. The print will gradually fade and create a wonderful masterpiece.

sublimation printing t-shirt material
A combination of cotton and polyester is always used for production

2. Pros and cons of sublimation printing on T-shirts

Everything has two sides. For the textile industry, these are extremely important. Here are the pros and cons of sublimation printing t-shirt material.

2.1 The pros

First, we will talk about the advantages in this regard.

  • We can talk about freedom with designs, which is hard to find with other popular methods. you can freely print all kinds of different images like the horizon, landscape, portrait, etc.
  • The longevity of the design is also a big plus. Prints are hard to crack, peel or fade even after washing many times.
  • Suitable for small orders for easy quality control. A large number will lead to different variations.
how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts
You are free to choose prints and designs

2.2 The cons

Sometimes the downside is also the biggest barrier to something. Let’s find out immediately the minus points of this printing method.

  • The first is the choice of material. Sublimation printing is best suited only for certain polyesters or their blends. Although you can print on other fabrics, however, the image quality will be degraded and the print will not last.
  • The second is white wrinkles. Enthusiasm will print on white fabric, however, there are areas that, if left unreachable, will leave a white streak on the print. This is usually due to accidental creases or a build-up of moisture on the devices.
sublimation t-shirt printing cost
It is easy to encounter wrinkles or imprints in hidden areas

3. How to apply sublimation to T-shirts?

So how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts to get the best effect? Sublimation printing is the process of turning ink into a gas and then back into a solid form. First, the heat press machine will make the fabric expand, making room for the ink to penetrate. At this point, the dye becomes a gas, which binds to the fabric molecules and adheres to it. Once solidified, it will be like a tattoo, directly on your clothes. Therefore, this process is most suitable for polyester fabrics or fabrics with a high polyester content.

sublimation t-shirt printing cost
Sublimation printing is often used to print multi-colored sportswear

However, you should also pay attention to this issue because some polyester will bring disappointment to the user, and cotton fabric cannot hold the color for too long. You should use a suitable mix of fabric to produce clothing products.

4. T-shirt sublimation equipment

Some of the equipment needed for the sublimation process is as follows:

  • Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation ink
  • Sublimation paper
  • Sample T-shirts
  • Lint roller
  • Heat resistant tape
  • Heat press machine
sublimation printing t-shirt price
Heat presses make home printing easier

The above are just a few basic machines, you can refer to or use similar machines.

5. Which T-shirt colors work best for sublimation?

White or bright colors are the perfect choice for sublimation. You can also sublimation on a dark base but need to use a special process such as vinyl coating. Otherwise, the ink will be very difficult to work with. Sublimation printers typically mix pre-existing colors to form the colors in the printed image. Sublimation designs often have the best colors on bright materials. Some brightly colored shirts like neon will discolor when exposed to the high heat of the heat press.

sublimation printing t-shirt price
Bright colors give a better picture

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6. Designs that are suitable for Sublimation printing

With the above advantages and disadvantages, will there be designs suitable for sublimation printing? Here are a few cases you can refer to:

  • Sublimation printing is especially suitable for quirky, dramatic, ridiculous designs. This is a prominent trend in recent years, seen in high-end or low-end stores. The t-shirt will be completely covered in vibrant colors.
  • Repetitive designs are also a great choice. They will make the design stand out but look very natural.
  • Another suitable design that can be mentioned is the image. In this method, you will fill the product with the entire photo instead of the usual design that is on the front. Especially effective because the corners are fully utilized.
  • In addition, several types of logos with different designs can also be printed in large quantities and at a single time.
sublimation printing t-shirt material
Repeated design creates a beautiful effect

7. How TeeNavi can give you the perfect printed T-shirt?

TeeNavi works great for sublimation or any kind of t-shirt. Below is a step where we can assist you.

  • Gives you the freedom to make any design or print your own. You can find images available online or customize them yourself.
  • Help you create unique, interesting designs with bold designs exactly what you want.
  • Print on a fabric background and print many different types of shirts such as tank tops, t-shirt, hoodies, and so on and there are many sizes suitable for many body shapes.
sublimation printing t-shirt material
TeeNavi is very pleased to help you

8. Question related to sublimation printing t-shirt material

Through this article, you will probably have some unanswered questions. We have compiled some frequently asked questions right below. You can refer to the answer below to better understand the sublimation printing t-shirt material.

8.1 Does the image quality setting matter?

Image quality is extremely important to print quality. If the image is of low quality, the print will be easily broken, and not clear. You should choose photos with HD or full HD quality, the better. This will ensure the details are printed clearly, without loss or cornering.

how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts
Image quality will greatly affect the printed image

8.2 Is the file format important when sublimating?

All images should be in PNG files for the best quality. Sometimes the colors you see on your phone or computer screen will differ from the printed image because sometimes the image is saved in a different mode and the printer is different. PNG is the perfect format for this problem.

how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts
It is recommended to use PNG to make the image sharp and make the perfect shirt

8.3 What is the cotton sublimation temperature?

As for cotton, they require quite hot temperatures to sublimate. This temperature averages from 360°F to 400°F. You can easily adjust the ink melting temperature and time based on the machine’s manual. You don’t need a huge heat press, but the heat from the iron isn’t enough to melt the ink and build up the pressure.

sublimation printing t-shirt price
Suitable temperature for cotton is 360°F to 400°F

8.4 Is sublimation possible on dark color T-shirts?

Unfortunately, sublimation doesn’t work well on dark shirts. The colors are easy to sink into the shirt color and change the color of the printed image. For example, your print is green, when you print it so on a shirt with a blue background, that green becomes very dark, almost black. You can use the vinyl lamination method to make the stickers last longer and last longer on dark t-shirts.

sublimation printing t-shirt price
Colors that are too dark will be difficult to highlight the design.

8.5 Why is my sublimation ink starting to fade after washing?

Sublimation ink may fade after many washes. Those reasons include bad transfer paper or incorrect temperature settings. Some of the reasons why prints may fade can include:

  • Leaving a print in the heat press for too long. You need to adjust the time and temperature accordingly.
  • Cheap transfer paper makes the print image not shown clearly and realistically.
  • Printing on unprocessed cotton 50/50 polycotton is also the reason for the design to fade.
sublimation t-shirt printing cost
Prints are easily blurred if you don’t pay attention to the production and selection of fabrics

8.6 Is it possible to sublimate on 50/50?

If you want a classic design you can use this polycotton fabric. However, the polyester and cotton blend has become all too familiar in the apparel industry. You’ll get the sublimation power of poly and the softness and breathability of the cotton. But your design will easily be washed away by washing water the first time because cotton does not hold color for long. Therefore, you should choose a sublimation of a blend of 65% poly and 35% cotton.

sublimation t-shirt printing cost
If not necessary, you should not choose a 50/50 fabric

8.7 Can cotton shirts be sublimated?

Fully sublimated print on cotton fabric. But like we said above, printed colors won’t do their job quite well with cotton. After 3 washes, you can easily see that the color has faded a lot, just a little faded. However, this will be a plus if you want to own a classic t-shirt. If you want a better print, you can try choosing fabrics that are blended with polyester to make the print last longer. The higher the polyester percentage, the longer the print will last.

how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts
It is possible to print on some cotton but the print will easily fade after washing

8.8 Can you sublimate with a Cricut?

You can also use Cricut as a sublimation process or use Cricut inks and dyes for a sublimation-like process. The software will provide you with a simple, easy-to-use digital website from which you can sketch your design. You can use this software instead of other design software. And you can also use Cricut’s “non-transferable ink” kit to perform a method similar to sublimation. You can also use some of their heat presses on the market if you want to do sublimation printing at home instead of using other expensive machines.

how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts
A Cricut printer that will help you print cute things yourself

TeeNavi has shared with you interesting information about sublimation printing t-shirt material and the 6 most popular fabrics. Here you can easily choose quality products based on fabric quality. We hope this article has been useful to you. If you want to consult and buy sublimation printing products, please contact us immediately.

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