Sublimation is converting a solid to a gas without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. This is done by heating the material directly to the sublimation point, which is at or near the boiling point of the material. Sublimation printing is a great way to print on textiles, plastics, ceramics, and metal sheets. It’s also ideal for printing on irregular shaped objects such as t-shirts and mugs.

Sublimation printing process

Sublimated inks are used for inkjet printers and offer superior image quality compared with traditional screen printing methods. This pressure can be provided by hand or with a press. Heat is applied to a surface, causing the molecules on that surface to vibrate more vigorously. The sublimation inks are applied at high temperatures (300°C) using heat presses or direct thermal printers specially modified for sublimation applications. The process involves transferring images from paper onto polyester fabric. It is also known as direct thermal transfer or DT transfer technology.

Heat press

A heat press is a machine used for pressing or transferring images onto various materials, including paper, plastic, metal, or fabric. This process creates an imprint or transfer of the image onto your project material. With modern technology, custom heat transfers can now be found on mouse pads, notebooks and even cigarette lighters.

Heat press process

Heat press machines use hot plates that reach temperatures between 180°C and 300°C (356°F-570°F) to apply pressure onto the garment. This process allows for greater control over how much pressure you want to be applied to your design, preventing wrinkles from forming or preventing certain parts of your design from being distorted due to too much heat being applied at once.


  1. Among the significant differences between sublimation and heat press is cost-effectiveness. Sublimation is an affordable method of transferring a design to a shirt and does not require heat or pressure. The heat press is more expensive and requires a lot of effort and time to get your design on your t-shirt.
  2. In sublimation, the image is transferred to the garment without using ink. It uses dyes instead of ink and has a higher quality than a heat press. No ink is used in sublimation, only dyes, whereas in a heat press, both ink. And dye are used to print onto different materials like T-shirts, bags, etc. Sublimation uses dye as its colorant, while heat press uses ink as a colorant; therefore, the colors produced in these two methods differ.
  3. Sublimation gives you better quality prints than heat press because it does not use any screen or plate. But directly transfers the ink onto your product using heat and pressure. This makes it more durable than any other technique used in printing industries, such as screen printing or digital printing, etc.
  4. In a heat press, a piece of paper is pressed against a heated plate which transfers the image onto it. In sublimation, the ink is transferred from a ribbon to the fabric using heat and pressure. So in sublimation, there is no need for any plate or screen printing machine, but in a heat press, many machines will be involved. Like pre-press machines which prepare the images for printing and other machines which print them on your product.
  5. Heat presses are also not as portable as sublimation. To use a heat press, you must have access to electricity, which means that you cannot take your business with you in case of an emergency or travel.

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