Waxed Branding

Waxed Branding Logo with an orange background featuring the word "Exotic" in stylized gray script font, along with a small bird illustration on the left side of the word, evoking a sense of home.

What are the disadvantages of sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing lets you put designs on rigid items or polyester fabrics easily. It’s great because it’s simple to learn, costs little to start, and you can find many products ready for it. But, there are some downsides to it too.

– The material must be all polyester or mostly polyester. You can’t use fabrics like cotton or silk.

– For surfaces other than fabric, they need a special coating of polyester.

– The area to print must be white or light in colour. You can’t print on dark materials.

– If the printed items face the sun a lot, their colours might fade over time.

– You’re limited in how big you can print based on the image’s detail and the press’s size.

What are the disadvantages of sublimation printing?

Key Takeaways

  • Sublimation printing works best on polyester fabrics or blends.
  • Natural fabrics like cotton can’t be used, and dark surfaces are a no-go.
  • Expect printed items to fade if regularly exposed to sunlight.
  • The print size is capped by the image’s quality and the press’s size.
  • To start sublimation printing, you’ll need special tools which may be expensive.

Introduction to Sublimation Printing

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a type of digital printing. It lets you put designs on hard objects or polyester fabrics. By following two key steps, you can have your design on a mug or a t-shirt. Firstly, you print the design with special ink and paper. Then, you use a heat press to move the design from paper to your object using heat.

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

Sublimation printing works by transferring dye into surfaces with heat. This makes images last a long time without fading. It’s great for items like mugs, keyrings, and clothing made of 100% polyester.

Epson 1430 and Sawgrass SG400 printers are often used for this. They use special inks. A heat press machine is necessary too. It ensures the image sticks well and lasts. Plus, using the correct transfer paper improves the final print.

To get the best colours and keep safe, you need good software and work area. Programs like Corel or Adobe help. Good ventilation in your workspace is a must.

sublimation printing process

Limited Compatible Materials

Sublimation printing is a top-notch digital printing method but it’s not for all materials. It works best with fabrics that are 100% polyester or have at least 2/3 of polyester. That’s because the ink has to stick to the polyester in the cloth.

Polyester or Polyester Blend Fabrics Only

Polyester or polyester blend fabrics are the go-to at Waxed Branding for sublimation printing. These fabrics work great because they’re synthetic. They wick moisture, dry fast, and resist wrinkles, making the final products sustainable.

No Pure Cotton or Silk Fabrics

Sublimation printing can’t work on fabrics like pure cotton or silk. The ink won’t stick to these natural fibres. That’s why this printing method leans heavily on synthetic and polyester materials.

Waxed Branding is all about quality and being kind to the environment. They’re looking into using recycled polyester. This eco-friendly option fits well with the limits of sublimation printing, letting them meet their high printing standards for the textile and apparel sectors.

Sublimation printing compatible materials

Colour Limitations

Sublimation printing is great for colourful designs but has some limits. It works best on white or light backgrounds. Dark colours, like black, won’t make the colours pop because they can’t bond with the inks well.

Light-Coloured Backgrounds Required

For sublimation printing to work, the background must be light or white. This is because the process involves the inks binding with polyester. On darker surfaces, these inks won’t stand out, leading to a faded look.

Sublimation printing is ideal for things with light backs, such as t-shirts and mugs. It’s not the best for dark items. This is because the beauty of the design won’t shine through on dark surfaces.

High Initial Investment Costs

Sublimation printing needs a low initial investment compared to other textile methods. Yet, the start-up costs might be large for new start-ups or single persons. You’ll need to buy a top-notch inkjet printer for sublimation inks, a heat press, and consumables like inks and papers.

Waxed Branding highlights the high initial cost of sublimation printing in South Africa. This high cost can stop some small firms from entering this market. Sarah Wilkins, the company’s founder, says businesses must plan and save for this big expense before starting.

But, the big costs at the start can lead to many benefits. Sublimation brings great colour, lets you create various products, and is very flexible. These reasons make the sublimation printing startup costs a solid investment for your business. According to Wilkins, with the right tools and processes, sublimation can be both profitable and fulfilling.

Complex and Time-Consuming Process

The complex sublimation printing process can be time-consuming. This is especially true for many prints. It involves steps like preparing the transfer paper and heat pressing individual items. For those in the business, it means a lot of hard work and attention to detail.

Preparing Transfer Paper

First off, you have to get the transfer paper ready. You need to pick the right kind that works with the inks and tools. It’s also important to handle and store it well to keep it in good shape for later.

Heat Pressing Individual Items

After the paper is set, it’s time to heat press stuff. Each item gets its own turn. You have to make sure everything is lined up just right, with the perfect heat and pressure. Doing this for a lot of things can be hard work, even for the experts.

Environmental Concerns

Sublimation printing is loved for its simple process in making clothes colourful. But it hurts our planet. The materials it uses mainly come from oil. These materials, like plastic bottles, stay in the environment for ages. This makes it hard to recycle and adds to the growing piles of waste.

Polymer-Coated Materials

The heart of the issue lies in the materials of sublimation printing. They use a type of plastic that’s coated in oil. This plastic is hard to break down and could be dangerous. The air and our future are at stake. People who protect the earth say we must find better, greener ways to print clothes. They ask companies, like Waxed Branding, to look for eco-friendlier choices.

Solid Waste Generation

But it’s not just the materials that are a problem. The actual printing makes a lot of trash. Imagine printing patterns on clothes. The leftover material can’t be used again. The situation gets worse as we print on more things, like accessories. So we need to think more about how our choices affect the planet.


What are the disadvantages of sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing has several drawbacks. The fabric must be 100% polyester or 2/3 polyester. It can’t work on pure cotton or silk. Special polyester-coated items are needed for non-fabric projects.

The print area must be light-coloured. Dark areas won’t catch the sublimated image. Also, prints can fade in sunlight. The issue arises from exposure to UV rays.

The size of the print is also limited. It cannot be bigger than the original image’s resolution. Plus, preparing the paper and pressing each item is a detailed, time-consuming process.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a digital process for transferring designs. It’s for rigid objects and polyester fabrics. Printing needs special paper and inks. Then, a heat press bonds the design to the fabric or item.

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

This printing method uses special inks. First, the inks are printed onto a paper. When this paper is heated on the surface, the inks turn to gas. They bond with the polyester fibres of the material.

Can I use cotton or silk fabrics for sublimation printing?

No, you can’t. The fabric must be 100% polyester or mostly polyester. Not pure cotton or silk. This is because the inks used require polyester to work.

Can I print on dark-coloured surfaces using sublimation printing?

No, you can’t. It needs to be on a white or light surface. Dark areas won’t show the ink properly.

Is sublimation printing expensive to set up?

Yes, it is expensive to start. You need special machines like printers and heat presses. You also need to buy special paper and inks.

Is sublimation printing a simple process?

No, it’s not simple. It’s a detailed and long process. Each item needs careful printing and pressing. This makes it hard work, especially for many items.

Are there any environmental concerns with sublimation printing?

Clearing, there are a few environmental issues with sublimation printing. It uses materials that are hard to recycle. There’s also waste from the paper and other things used.

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