Sublimation: What is Sublimation Printing?

Every entrepreneur looks for a competitive advantage to stay ahead in the industry. If you are in the printing industry, providing high-resolution and long-lasting printouts with distinct colors helps retain your customers. You will also expand your sales through referrals. But, how do you print high-quality products that stand out among its competitors? Start your design process with professional tools like CorelDRAW vector illustration, then use sublimation printing to retain the graphics. So what does sublimation mean, and what are its pros and cons in printing? Read on to get all you need to know about sublimation printing.

What is sublimation printing?

The sublimation definition in printing is similar to the description from your high school chemistry class. In simple terms, sublimation is the process of a solid changing into a gas without going through the liquid state. Sublimation printing, therefore, means that your design is transferred to your printing material as a gas that solidifies instantly.

How does sublimation work?

Once your design is transferred to the printer, it is printed on a special transfer paper as a mirror image. The printing on the specialist paper is done using special dyed ink. Most of the sublimation dyes are water-based and have little or no impact on the environment.

After the image is transferred to the specialist paper, the printing material is lined up for printing. Your printing material could be fabric, paper, or other objects. The sublimation dye is then subjected to high heat and pressure that turns it into a gas. After the gas is released, it penetrates your printing material to give you a lasting image.

Pros and cons of sublimation

Sublimation printing is an emerging form of digital printing that is taking the printing industry to another level. However, like other printing methods, sublimation has its pros and cons. The advantages are nevertheless more than the disadvantages, making sublimation the best method for printing on objects. Here are some of the pros and cons.


Prints on rigid surfaces

Sublimation allows you to print on rigid surfaces like mugs, plates, wall clocks et al. Other printing methods may not easily print on surfaces that cannot bend, like fabrics and paper. The conversion of solid dye to gas also allows the dye to penetrate the object to create a long-lasting impression.

Prints on vinyl

Some printing methods that use liquid dyes may take time to dry. The longer the drying takes, the increased risk of the dye spreading to unintended areas. Vinyl and other smooth surfaces have even higher risks of distorting images when using liquid dyes. However, sublimation allows the print dye to solidify instantly to make high-quality banners.

Easy to learn

If you have not tried sublimation printing, you may think it takes a long time to learn. However, sublimation is easy to learn and only takes a few sessions.

Unlimited colors

Sublimation dyes come with an unlimited range of colors that allows you to exercise choice. Besides, you can add colors to your design without incurring extra costs.


Works better on polyester fabrics

Sublimation on items such as T-shirts and tote bags does not work well on fabrics such as cotton. For the best results, use a 100% polyester fabric.

Prefers white surfaces

The printing surfaces must be white or brightly colored for sublimation to work. Black or dark-colored surfaces may present challenges in sublimation printing. Besides, sublimation requires a polyester coating on the surface.

We can help

If you are new to sublimation printing, we can help. At CorelDRAW, we will provide you with a complete sublimation guide and tutorials to start you off. Move your printing business to another level by downloading the software today.

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