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Sublimation Printing vs. Heat Transfer

custom reversible jersey

Sublimation Printing vs. Heat Transfer

There is a lot that goes into custom printed items. Even outside of coming up with the designs, there’s still the different material options and the printing methods. This blog will talk about the differences between two great ways to print: sublimation and heat transfer.


Dye-sublimation printing is a unique method that works clear down to the cell level. Heat is applied to the material and the ink, causing the pores of the material to open and the ink to turn to gas. The gas enters the pores and, once the material cools again, it is physically trapped in the structure of the material.

This type of printing is higher-end and tends to be more expensive. However, the results are lasting and as comfortable as the fabric itself since the ink becomes part of it. It’s also important to note that while sublimation printing can be applied to many surfaces, there needs to be an element of polyester or poly-coating in order for the chemical process to work correctly.

Heat Transfer

Heat transfer printing is pretty simple when compared to sublimation. First, a design is printed onto heat transfer paper, either from an inset or a laster printer. Then the design is applied to the shirt using a heat press. Once the paper is pulled away, the image remains on the material or object.

This type of printing is less expensive, making it a popular option. However, the designs don’t last as long as sublimation printing and the texture might, depending on the process, have a rougher feel to it.

At YBA Shirts, we offer quality printing in both methods. We know that you have a lot on your plate, so we make the process simple with a 2-3 week turnaround. You can choose from custom and wholesale products for your sports league or business with the sort of printing that you want. Contact us today to learn more.

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We have over 40 years of experience fulfilling large orders for youth sports leagues, schools, and companies.