Textile / Fabric Printing (also known as Dye Sublimation Printing)
Dye sublimation is a digital printing technology that uses heat transfer to apply an image to the intended substrate. Also referred to as digital sublimation, the process is commonly used for decorating apparel (clothing), signs and banners as well as other items with sublimation-friendly surfaces.
Dye sublimation features the following two-part process:
- Print graphics onto special transfer paper using sublimation inks
- Use a heat press to transfer the ink-on-paper to the substrate.
First, graphics are printed onto transfer paper. Using a heat press, the transfer paper is then placed on the substrate you’re transferring to. The heat allows the dried inks on the transfer paper to turn from a solid form into gas and penetrate the polyester fabrics.
When heated, the polymers in the polyester encourage the inks to bond, which creates permanent graphics that are fully embedded into the material.
As colors are embedded in the substrate or fabric, rather than printed on the surface, images on fabric won’t fade or crack even after multiple washes.
What Can I Sublimate?
Anything polyester or with polyester resin coating can be printed on with the dye sublimation process. Fabric must be white as sublimation printers can not print white.
Polyester Fabric Items:
- Apparel (Clothing)
- Bedding, and the list just goes on.
Why Should I Use This Method?
Dye sublimation is THE process for printing on all things polyester. That’s because the gaseous state of the ink results in a completely washable, smooth image that’s fully embedded into the material. Plus, the quality is high resolution consisting of vivid, vibrant colors.
The 5 steps sublimation process:
The process starts with one of our graphic designers working with either your existing pattern, our standard template or working from a brief to produce a unique and fresh design. Each design is fully graded for every item size in order that the appearance is kept crisp and that graphics are not cropped in smaller sizes. Obviously some Logo’s and numbering have to be kept within specified dimensions.
Once the design, specs and pattern has been finalised we send you a artwork approval of your order via email for comment and to make any final adjustments as needed.
The designs are then printed onto dye sublimation paper using special water based toxin free dye sublimation inks. We use state of the art Mimaki wide format printers and top European RIP software which together create a high resolution print with fine detail.
Press to Fabric
Once printed and cured we feed both the printed paper and selected fabric through a large industry leading wide format rotary heat press at a very high temperature and high pressure. The ink from the paper turns into a gas and SUBLIMATES into the fabric. The combination of temperature, pressure and dwell time ensures that we get a consistent, high quality, resilient and long lasting reproduction every time. Our paper is also coated with special glue this stops the fabric from moving or shrinking as it travels through the press in order to prevent ghosting to the text or graphics giving sharp images.
The fabric is now ready to be sewn together to create our extensive range of gazebos, flags, banners, display media, etc.