HEAT TRANSFER Vs. SUBLIMATION | T-Shirt Printing & More | Apparel

by Swati Caseria Customized mobile cases

So in this blog of apparel will break down for you the key differences between a two-step heat transfer printing method and sublimation printing. And what are some key considerations to keep in mind so that you can make the right choice for your business. Although there are a lot more apparel decoration methods that involve printing out there we wanted to specifically cover these two types of printing methods because both of these methods can be done on the ricoma r550 white toner transfer printer.


What is heat transfer printing?

When we talk about heat transfer printing we're talking specifically about a two-step method so what do those two steps actually involve so step number one in this two-step heat transfer printing method is actually printing a design onto a transparent sheet of transfer paper, then in step two you actually transfer that design that was printed on that transfer paper onto an adhesive paper using a heat press, finally you peel away the adhesive sheet from the transfer sheet and then you press the design onto the substrate such as a piece of garment using a heat press.


After pressing the garment you then peel away the actual paper and you're left with a design. That's transferred onto the garment itself the white toner transfer printer uses this very two-step heat transfer method. To apply designs onto various light and dark color garments even onto hard surfaces such as wood aluminum or even metal.


What is Sublimation Printing?

So sublimation printing involves a similar process where you're printing the design onto regular copy paper or specialty sublimation paper and then using heat via a heat press to transfer that printed design onto a substrate such as a piece of garment the key difference lies in how sublimation works. The science behind it during sublimation when the actual printed design is heated via a heat press the toner on the transfer paper itself actually turns from a solid state into a gas state and then it embeds itself into the fabric. When it cools it actually goes back to being installed and then becomes a permanent part of the fabric. That means unlike two-step heat transfer printing method sublimation actually adds no additional layer of paper. On top of the fabric and you can't feel the difference of the printed image and the rest of the fabric.


Durability and Feel

Between these two methods the first topic that we're going to cover between these two methods is durability and feel as briefly mentioned before. Sublimation does not add an extra layer on top of your fabric versus a two-step heat transfer printing method actually leaves a thin layer on top of your fabric so the feel is going to be much different. So right off the bat you will feel a difference between the printed design using these two methods now in terms of durability with a heat transfer printed design it can last about 30 to 40 washes depending on how large your design is and how it's actually being washed.


Now on the other hand with sublimation because the ink or the toner is actually infused inside, the fabric and becomes a part of the fabric it is a much more permanent design onto the fabric and it can withstand a lot more. Washes in fact most sublimated designs will last just as long as the actual fabric itself because you're not leaving an extra layer of transfer on top of the fabric.



You're not going to see any cracking after washes and the image is much less likely to fade with sublimation, so in this category of durability and feel it is pretty clear that sublimation wins out in this category because it can last a lot longer and you don't feel the actual transfer image on top of the garment alright the second item to consider between sublimation printing and heat transfer printing is the variety of substrates that you can transfer images onto with sublimation printing.


You are much more limited in the variety of substrates that you can transfer images onto this is because sublimation can only adhere to polyester coated materials even if you use something that is 60 polyester and 40 cotton which is really about the minimum amount of polyester. That you need in order to make sublimation work in that 60/40 poly cotton blends.


Color Quality

You're not going to get as much vibrancy in your transfer design versus 100 polyester with sublimation. You also have to use only white colored substrates or very light colored substrates that means you can't use sublimation on a black t-shirt or a dark mug because the actual design won't show on the other hand with white toner heat transfer printing. You can actually print on light and dark colored garments and you're not limited to anything with polyester only in fact with heat transfer printing you can heat transfer onto cotton onto polyester even ceramic and other hard surfaces like wood and metal and therefore in this category of variety of substrates you can transfer onto heat transfer definitely wins out.


In this one because of the variety of things that you can do finally let's go into the category of the quality of the colors you can print using these two methods. First off sublimation allows you to print full colors and this can be super helpful when trying to sublimate a photo. For example or doing a particular job for a customer that requires a very specific color such as one for a company logo you can also achieve sharp vibrant designs using heat transfer paper.


If you're printing your design using a white toner transfer, it really is a virtual tie in this category between sublimation and heat transfer printing because you can achieve full color vibrant designs with either method the real difference lies in the durability and the feel of either method also the variety of substrates that you can transfer onto but fortunately you can achieve the best of both worlds using a white toner transfer.



Both printing methods involve a similar process but yield very different results however in sublimation printing the ink or toner actually permeates throughout the fabric and becomes part of the fabric itself.


In two-step heat transfer printing on the other hand the image simply becomes another layer on top of the substrate thankfully the white toner transfer printing system can achieve either method simply by swapping out the toner cartridge so make sure you keep these considerations in mind when deciding which method to use to fulfil.


The needs of your customers at the end of the day it really depends on what your customer is looking for the type of material. They're looking to get printed on and that will drive your decision on what is best for your customers. If you're looking to get started in the heat transfer printing business or you're looking to add on to your existing apparel decoration business make sure to check out the tonner.


Ultimately, which method you choose depends on what your customer is looking for and the type of material they want to print on.

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About Swati Caseria Advanced   Customized mobile cases

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Joined APSense since, May 30th, 2018, From Mumbai, India.

Created on Nov 25th 2021 02:41. Viewed 215 times.


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