The Dye Sublimation Heat Transfer Process Explained

polyester textiles-for-sublimation-printingThe Heat transfer process is the means by which Dye-Sublimation printing is transferred and fixed to the fabric to be produced.

Dye-Sublimation is an ink-set used exclusively on Polyester Fabrics.

Sublimation is a scientific term which describes the process by which a solid transforms into a gas without an intermediate liquid phase.

This process allows colour to be fixed onto Polyester fabrics with a great degree of accuracy and impact, owing to a vivid colour gamut.

In Dye-Sub printing the process is for the pattern to be printed with dye-sub inks using a standard inkjet printer onto a high release transfer paper.

The next stage of the process is to place the paper next to the textile to be transferred in a high temperature heat transfer press.

When this happens, the ink sublimates from liquid to a gas and transfers from the paper to the textile producing vivid colours in near perfect resolution on the textile.

In order to transfer the image from the paper to the substrate, it requires a heat press process that is a combination of time, temperature and pressure.

The heat press applies this special combination, which can change depending on the substrate, to “transfer” the sublimation dyes at the molecular level into the substrate.

The most common dyes used for sublimation activate at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, a range of 380 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit is normally recommended for optimal colour.

The end result of the sublimation process is an almost permanent, high resolution, full colour print.

Because the dyes are infused into the substrate at the molecular level, rather than applied at a topical level (such as with screen printing and direct to garment printing), the prints will not crack, fade or peel from the substrate under normal conditions.

Dye Sublimation printing onto Polyester Fabrics is very accurate, with great stability and ease of process, heat transfer is widely used as a printing method by many digital textile printers specialising in Fashion, Interiors, Sportswear and Athleisure.