Exciting Decorating Technique Transforms Appearance of Garments

A unique decorating technique, originally popular in the 1960’s and 70’s, is slowly gaining popularity again.  In our opinion, it surpasses the decoration of screenprinting and direct to garment printing (DTG) on apparel.  This decorating technique, called dye-sublimation, is a process that can also be printed on garments as well as other products like hats, lanyards, socks, mousepads and mugs.  Dye-sublimation is a special kind of printing because instead of focusing on one imprint area, it can print on the entire product.  For example, in the picture below, the plain white t-shirt can be transformed to look like a completely new t-shirt.


Not only does the shirt look different, the colors are vibrant and it is a more permanent design that does not wash away over time, like some screenprinting or DTG prints.   This is because in the sublimation process, the dye bonds to the fibers in the apparel.  The dye is absorbed by the garment so you do not get a raised print like screenprinting and DTG printing.  What happens is an image is printed onto a special piece of paper (called a carrier paper) with special heat-sensitive ink.  When heat is applied to the piece of paper, the ink turns into a gas from a solid and bonds with the fibers in the garment to create a more permanent design.

Facts about Sublimated Garments:

  • Great for polyester fabrics – polyester helps colors become as vibrant as possible.
  • Imprint area is not restricted, sublimation allows for a large, allover print.
  • Print is not raised, but embedded into the fibers of the fabric – the print “becomes” the shirt.
  • The best color t-shirt to print on is white and light, pastel colors.
  • Unique, one of a kind effects – because of the nature of sublimation printing, no two shirts are printed alike and due to shirt folds and seams.
  • Sublimation printing is known to be a little bit more costly than screenprinting or DTG printing, as each shirt is made by hand and the overall look of the shirt is completely transformed.

So, the next time you need a unique t-shirt design for your next advertising campaign, consider giving that “wow” factor to your target audience and go with the sublimated print.

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