Sublimation is a popular printing technique that is commonly used to transfer images onto various materials such as t-shirts, caps, bags, and other cotton-based fabrics. While sublimating on cotton can be challenging due to the material’s natural fiber, it is still possible to achieve high-quality and long-lasting results with the right tools, techniques, and materials. In this article, we will discuss how to sublimate on cotton, including the materials and equipment needed, the process of preparing the fabric, and the steps involved in the sublimation process.
Materials and Equipment Needed
Before you start sublimating on cotton, you will need to gather the necessary materials and equipment. Here are the tools and materials you will need:
A Sublimation ink
Cotton-based fabric (t-shirt, hoodie, etc.)
Protective paper or Teflon sheets
Preparing the Fabric
Before you can sublimate on cotton, you will need to prepare the fabric to ensure that it is suitable for printing. Here are the steps involved in preparing the fabric:
Wash the cotton-based fabric to remove any sizing, dirt, or oils that might interfere with the transfer process. Do not use any fabric softeners or bleach during the washing process.
Dry the fabric completely before transferring the design.
Place a protective paper or Teflon sheet on the bottom of the heat press.
The Sublimation Process
Once you have prepared the fabric, you are ready to begin the sublimation process. Here are the steps involved:
Create or choose the design or image that you want to transfer onto the fabric using graphic design software. Be sure to mirror the image before printing it onto the sublimation paper.
Print the design onto the sublimation paper using a sublimation printer and sublimation ink. The ink will turn into a gas when heated and bond with the fabric fibers.
Cut the sublimation paper to the appropriate size for the cotton-based fabric you are printing on. Use heat-resistant tape to secure the paper onto the fabric, making sure it is aligned correctly.
Preheat your heat press to the recommended temperature and time settings for sublimating on cotton. Place the cotton-based fabric with the sublimation paper on the heat press, making sure it is centered and level.
Close the heat press and apply pressure for the recommended time. Once the time has elapsed, carefully remove the cotton-based fabric from the heat press using heat-resistant gloves.
Peel off the sublimation paper from the cotton-based fabric, revealing the transferred image or design.
Let the cotton-based fabric cool completely before handling it. Once it has cooled, inspect the transferred image for any errors, and wipe it down with a lint-free cloth to remove any residue.