Dye sublimation has long been used in manufacturing and other industries, but it has recently become more popular among consumers for its design flexibility, vibrant colors, and ease of use. If you’re thinking about using dye sublimation to make promotional materials or to decorate your home or office, there are some things you should know first. Here are eight things you should know about dye sublimation.
1) The difference between dye sublimation and other printing techniques
While dye sub is often mistaken for other printing processes (like DTG and screen printing), it’s actually different in one important way: Because dye sub prints directly onto fabric, all that you’re doing is transferring dyes from a ribbon to a base material. In other words, there’s no ink or toner involved.
2) Why invest in a dye sublimator
Investing in a dye sublimator will save you money in the long run. A dye sub machine is much less expensive than hiring a company to create your designs for you and buying huge lots of shirts (and then storing them). It’s also a great learning experience for entrepreneurs just starting out.
3) What equipment is needed?
If you’re going to print your images, you’ll need a dye sublimation printer, which can be expensive, but is durable and produces high-quality prints. Some of these printers are more suited for business settings than homes, so take that into consideration if you’re planning on using it for both.
4) What materials can be used?
The first step to dye sublimation is choosing which types of materials can be used. When using a dye sublimation printer, you are limited by what types of products can take on dyes without damaging them. Generally speaking, most fabrics will work for dye sublimation printing, including natural fibers like cotton and rayon, as well as synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. However, some plastics cannot withstand hot temperatures without melting or peeling apart.
5) What does it cost?
Good question. Most T-shirt dyeing services charge around £4 a shirt, but that’s going to vary from vendor to vendor (as with any service). Some charge per shirt while others charge per design or color, so know your options ahead of time. And if you want more than one color on a shirt, expect to pay more—and if you want multiple colors in each area of a design you’ll be paying lots more.
6) Can I use it for business cards?
The material used for dye sublimation printing can be used to make virtually any sort of item. With a special printer, you can create mugs, T-shirts, pens, and business cards. However, many people use dye sublimation to print their company’s name on their inventory and branding materials like shirts and bags.
7) How long will my design last?
Sublimation is known for being exceptionally durable, with designs lasting anywhere from one to five years. But these numbers aren’t entirely accurate: it all depends on what you do to your shirt during that time. To ensure that your design lasts as long as possible, avoid washing or drying your shirts in a machine (the heat and friction from these processes can cause fading). Instead, hand-wash them (in cold water) with gentle detergent.