What Is a Sublimation Paper & How To Use It Correctly?

Sublimation printing is indeed one of the best ways to print designs on t-shirts, fabrics, ceramics, or even wood and steel objects. But it’s a little bit tricky to learn the entire sublimation process. 

During the learning process, various questions come to mind, like how sublimation printing works, what sublimation paper is, and why it is necessary. If these come into your mind, too, then be happy your search ends here. 

In this article, we will clarify the concept and provide answers regarding the sublimation paper, its uses, and everything related to it. So scroll the page and find all of your answers. 

What Is a Sublimation Paper?

What is Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper is different from normal paper because it’s made with a polyester coating. Thanks to this coating, the paper can easily absorb the sublimation ink, and when it comes under heat, it helps transfer the ink to the object’s surface instantly.

All of these things are impossible with normal paper and the result won’t be good.  A normal paper can’t absorb the sublimation ink nor transfer the design with the finest quality as a sublimation paper does. That’s why always choose the best sublimation paper.

How To Use Sublimation Paper? Step By Step Guide

Here’s how you can use sublimation paper for sublimating designs on different items.

Step One – Print Images Or Designs

Add the paper to your printer to print the design or image. Make sure to set mirror mode for your image, particularly the one that has the text, before printing. And remember you’ve to print on the correct side.

The correct side of the sublimation printer will be glossy and brighter compared to the other side. This side will have a smooth coated surface, which you can feel by touching the paper.

Finding the right side is an important step because you can’t sublimate the design on any object if you mistakenly print on the wrong side of the sublimation paper. The reason is that the smooth side comes with a chemical coating that helps merge the sublimation dye with the item’s surface. 

Step Two – Sublimate The Image Or Design

After printing the image on sublimation paper, preheat the heat press machine at up to 400º F, depending on the object you’re sublimating. If it’s a t-shirt, 385º F (for 40 – 60 seconds) is best; for a water bottle, we preheat at 365º F; the temperature setting is different for each material, so make sure you know what temperature is best for your sublimation object. 

Afterward, press the t-shirt part, where you’ll sublimate with a heat press for up to 5 seconds to remove the wrinkles. Then place the image upside down, set it with heat-resistant tape, and put Parchment paper or Teflon sheet on it. Now you can sublimate the image, so press the heat press platen, and your sublimation design will be ready in a few moments.

Note: Don’t remove the image instantly from the object after sublimating; wait about 1 minute until the ink dries, then check the design.

Sublimation Paper Vs. Heat Transfer Paper

A common question beginners ask is why we can’t use heat transfer paper instead of sublimation paper. After all, the heat transfer paper also transfers the design on the object when it comes under heat press machines. 

The answer is simple: heat transfer paper helps print the object’s design by adding a layer on the top. At the same time, sublimation paper comes with a chemical coating that can hold sublimation dye and helps merge the design to the substrate. 

In brief, from the sublimation paper, you can integrate the design into the object surface. But heat transfer paper only creates a layer on the object’s surface. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Can I use sublimation paper for the inkjet printer?

No, you can’t use sublimation paper with all inkjet printers because they aren’t made for this purpose. But if you have an inkjet printer of Epson or Sawgrass, then you can convert it for the sublimation and use sublimation paper or even sublimation dye with them.  

2. Can you use regular ink on sublimation paper?

No, you can’t use regular ink on sublimation paper for sublimation purposes. However, if your purpose is to use the extra sublimation papers that you have in the home, then yes, you can use regular ink on it and print images. But remember, the paper can’t be used for sublimation and under a heat press machine. 

3. Can I use copy paper for sublimation?

Yes, you can use copy paper for sublimation, but not all types of copy paper. Check the information behind the copy paper package; if it’s written that the papers can withstand laser printers, then they can be used for sublimation. But remember, you won’t get high-quality results with them.

4. How many times can you use a single sublimation paper?

You can’t reuse sublimation paper; they are intended for one-time use only.

Final Words 

We hope you’ve found all the answers to your questions regarding what a sublimation paper is and how it works. Remember, the sublimation paper is an essential part of sublimation printing; without it, you can’t sublimate anything. Also, the quality of the sublimation paper should be good; otherwise, it will affect the printing design, color and visual quality.

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