Sublimation on Cotton: An Easy-to-Follow Guide

Sublimation on Cotton is a revolutionary new way to print designs directly onto cotton fabric. Not only can you sublimate cotton with CMYK colors (black, cyan, magenta and yellow), but it also provides unique opportunities to use Pantone colors, giving your design the highest quality and visibility of any printing process on cotton.

This article will teach you step by step how to sublimate on cotton and how to choose the right type of ink for your design project.

Sublimation on Cotton: Step by step Process

Choosing the right transfer paper

Sublimation transfer paper comes in three different types: white (or uncoated), glossy, and matte. The type you use depends upon your printer. Most consumer ink jet printers are designed to handle uncoated paper, so you can usually get away with using it for all your printing needs.

However, if you’re planning to print more than one copy of an image or design, glossy or matte papers are a better choice; they have a higher ink density (1–3 times higher than uncoated papers), which means they hold more color.

Choosing the right image

Sublimation is all about getting an image to stick onto your shirt. The best way to do that is to select an image you like and make sure it’s high-quality. Make sure there aren’t any streaks or blurs; sharp, detailed photos work best with sublimation because they’re easier for your heat press machine to grab.

And in general, bright images (like a colorful nature scene) are going to be easier to work with than dark ones (like a black-and-white photo of your pet). You should also avoid photos with very fine details (hair, small animals, etc.) because they can be lost during printing. All those things being said, don’t feel limited if you love a particular photo!

Choosing the right T-shirt

The most important thing to remember when you’re picking a T-shirt is that it’s all about transferring ink from paper to fabric. Make sure that your T-shirt is 100% cotton or polyester; other materials like acrylic will be too thick for sublimation.

Your shirt should also be 100% natural, which means no bleach, stain removers, or whiteners (if it smells like chemicals, don’t buy it). Finally, make sure that your shirt has a white printed design—that’s where you’ll transfer from.

Printing process

Sublimation printing involves a heat press that applies pressure to transfer ink onto textile. It can be used for printing digital photos and designs onto fabrics, in addition to its use in decorating mugs, T-shirts, etc.

The pressure used for transferring ink from transfer paper onto fabric is 350 pounds per square inch. The time between applying high heat with pressure to remove unwanted ink from sheets of paper onto fabrics is 30-45 seconds.

Pressing Process

The most important thing about pressing is that you use a press cloth. No matter what’s written in your patterns or how carefully you measure, there will always be slight variations from shirt to shirt. That means that every time you’re ironing without a press cloth, you have to adjust your ironing board height manually.

This is not just time-consuming; it also means that you’re running an unnecessary risk of burns and streaks, in addition to dulling your irons. (Burn marks can be mistaken for blemishes.) To reduce these risks significantly, use a press cloth whenever possible.


After being finished with the sublimation on cotton process, you should follow these tips to make sure your printed products last longer: Firstly, avoid using high-temperature water or liquid detergent for cleaning. High temperatures can cause cracking or fading of color.

It is better to use warm water with neutral detergent when cleaning these products. Secondly, keep them away from any source of fire, such as lighted candles and incense smoke. Keep them away from the sun to prevent color fading and damage from UV rays. Take good care of your sublimated products in order to prolong their life span! Good luck!

Last Updated on March 21, 2023

Related articles

The Buyer’s Guide to the Best Drill Presses

Drill presses offer considerable accuracy and power for drilling...

Sanders for Car Paint: A Comprehensive Buyers Guide

What are the different types of sanders...

The Best Nonstick Pans: A Comprehensive Buyers Guide

What are the most common types of coatings...

The Best Streaming Devices: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Streaming devices have become an essential part of our...
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is an editor and author for Printerchief, specializing in creating informative content on the topics of office printing and paper processing technology. When he is not working, he enjoys exploring the great outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, along with activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, and reading. Additionally, Andrew loves working on various projects for his home and garden to keep himself busy and continue learning new skills.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here