What Materials Are Compatible with Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing allows product creators to transfer designs to a variety of materials. But which materials are best? What types of fabric can you sublimate, and what types of items are good for sublimation projects?

Before you start your next project, it’s important to consider what materials will produce the best results. Use the following guide to select the right materials for the job.

What types of fabrics can you sublimate?

When it comes to fabrics, you have a wide range of choices. From cotton to polyester to leather, you may have a plethora of ideas for sublimation printing projects. For the best results, though, you should try to stick to polyester. The best choice is 100 percent polyester, but if you can find material that is at least 65 percent polyester, you should get decent results.

What about cotton? Cotton t-shirts are a common subject for sublimation printing. However, it takes a bit of finessing to get these projects to succeed. Keep in mind what sublimation ink adheres to: polymers. Cotton, however, isn’t a polymer. To transfer your design to a cotton material, use white glitter vinyl. Sublimate your image onto the vinyl, then heat-press the vinyl to the cotton.

While we’re on the topic of fabrics, here’s one more tip. Stay away from rayon. This is not a material you want to put in a heat press!

What other types of items are good for sublimation projects?

If you’re interested in sublimation printing, you’re probably a creative type. This means you’ll probably want to expand beyond fabrics with your projects. And that’s perfectly fine—sublimation printing works with a variety of materials beyond the world of fabric. Here are a few you can try:

  • Wood: First, paint the wood with polymer paint. Apply three coats, then let it cure for one day. Then it’s ready for sublimate printing.
  • Mugs: Coffee mugs are a popular item for creative designs. However, please note that not all coffee mugs are created equal. Most dollar-store mugs, for example, are not of the quality that will provide a good canvas for sublimation printing.
  • Socks: For sublimation printing projects that involve socks, simply keep in mind the advice above regarding fabric selection.
  • Bags: Go large or go small. Lunch bags, totes, purses and more can be great for sublimation printing.
  • Linens: You can successfully achieve sublimation printing with blankets, pillow cases, sheets and towels.
  • Accessories: Think outside the box and expand your projects to creative accessories. Earrings, wallets, hats, dog collars, phone cases, bracelets, bookmarks and keychains are all possibilities.
  • Décor: Add your sublimation printing touch to items around the house. Consider coasters, flags, ornaments, air fresheners and wine tumblers. Your imagination is the limit.

Learn more

3 in 1 Design specializes in creating high-quality screen-printed designs. To learn more tips for sublimation printing, contact our experts. We would love to help you bring your design to life. Tell us what you want, and we will make it happen! Reach us today at 619-795-0888 to get started on your next project.