Sublimating Beyond The White Poly Tee
“It only works on white.” That statement is totally incorrect!
A better rule of thumb is that white is the best color because it delivers the greatest degree of color vibrancy with digital inks, plus there is no white ink available for sublimation. But without a doubt, sublimation works on colors besides white.
Sublimation only bonds with polymers, the notion that a shirt had to be 100% polyester was also hammered into the heads of anyone who dealt with the process. Thus, for years when it came to sublimated apparel was that the only choice was the basic white polyester t-shirt. But that was then and this is now!
Sublimation works fine with a wide range of apparel colors, but there are some factors that have to be taken into account. The first is that the color white cannot be reproduced except on a white shirt. But the latest retail trends are shifting to rich apparel colors with one and two color logo’s, so white is not a critical factor. The second factor is that the sublimation dye color must always be darker than the surface color. Thus you are very limited on dark colored garments but can handle a wide range of light to medium colors. Third, the color of the fabric can affect the color of the image, but this is almost a non-factor when dealing with trendy one and two color designs.
The other part of the shirt formula is fabric content. Sublimation only bonds with polyester fibers. It does not work with cotton or any other type of material. Blends work, but appear “washed out”. The lower the percentage of poly, the more faded the image looks. The general rule is that the fabric must be 50% or more polyester, and the blend material(s) must be able to withstand 400 degrees. Keep in mind that manufacturers are getting more creative with blends, thus there is more on the market than just poly-cotton, so be sure to read the labels.
Dye Submilation Personalized Gifts
Dye Sublimation, as a process is really very simple. It is the method of applying an image to specially coated ceramics, metals and polyester cloth, using three main ingredients: sublimation ink, heat and pressure.
Sublimation ink is unique in its ability to convert from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid form. (Just like dry ice.) The conversion is initiated by heat and controlled with pressure and time. Hard items such as ceramic, fiber board, metals, etc. requires a special coating to accept the sublimation inks. You must purchase the mugs, tiles, metals, etc. with the coating already on them, is not something you can coat yourself. We carry a full line of these sublimatable blanks. When you apply to 100% polyester (ie: our mouse pads and puzzles) you do not need any coating, it is applied directly to the 100% polyester fabric.
Sample Photo shown below Image transfered to a 15oz. coffee mug