The process of transferring photo quality pictures, text and graphics to things like clothing, accessories and acrylics using heat is sublimation printing. It is one of several options when it comes to creating your own look, or when you want to use those items as a means of team building or branding. With this type of printing special sublimation ink is used. When it heats it changes from a solid-state to a gas state without needing to pass through the liquid state first. As the gas touches the fibers of the clothing, say a t-shirt, it passes through them and leaves the dye on the fabric. The items of clothing or accessories need to either be polymer-based already or need to be coated in polymer for this to work. Since anything can have this coating this means the process works on a range of items, mugs, coasters, phone cases, clothing, bags, glass, metal and so on.

A popular form of printing

As well as offering things like an embroidery service, printing companies are happy to adopt this process as it has many advantages.

  • The sublimation method means a full color image or graphic can be printed into a hard surface like a mug with just a polymer coating.
  • When you consider screen printing, that is more complicated to learn than sublimation printing and is messier too.
  • Printers are better able to use a full spectrum of color in their work.
  • The process is actually quite quick so a company can put in an order and in some cases, it is possible to get a same day or next day delivery. Perfect for when you have last-minute changes or additions to what you need.
  • The cost to print one is the same as the cost to print in bulk. So a customer who wants to be individual in what they use and wear can do so without having to meet minimum quantities and smaller businesses are not penalized because they cannot order in large numbers for their promotional and marketing items.
  • There are no screens or plates involved and customization is a lot easier as a result.
  • While the prices might be a little higher because the cost of the ink is more, the process is permanent.
  • As mentioned sublimation printing can only happen with items that are polymer fabrics or that are coated, but most things can be coated and it is easy to do so.


When you are looking to create a uniform for your workers as a means of marketing and unity, have a sports team that needs printed shirts, have a patch you need expert embroidery services or silkscreen printing for, you need a top expert printing service. Keep in mind with sublimation printing that it works best on white or light items and does not work on black t-shirts or dark items. It is a quickly growing form of printing for good reason so check it out!

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