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History of Sublimation


History of Sublimation

Clean, crisp prints elevate the look of your team, from little league soccer players to high school varsity sports and adult rec leagues. Make your jerseys, tanks and hoodies stand out with sublimation printing. Not sure if this process is right for you? Let’s explore the history of this precise printing style.

What Is Sublimation?

Sublimation is a method of heat printing ink onto fabric. The ink moves from a solid form into a gas when heated – it skips the liquid stage – and the gas then embeds itself on appropriate types of fabric. When the ink cools, it goes back to solid form and becomes a permanent part of the fabric.

The transferred design has no additional layer on top. Instead, there’s no discernible difference between the ink image and the rest of the fabric as far as texture. This makes the image incredibly durable with no cracking, peeling or fading. In fact, sublimation printing lasts just as long as the fabric itself.

Sublimation In the Past

Printing onto cloth in ancient times involved using stamps. Typically, these were fashioned from different types of metal, although in Mesopotamian civilization, clay stamps were also used. The seals and small stamps made it possible to print off many identical images for decoration or for groups of people to identify one another.

As printing technology developed, it became easier to print on bulk using the stamp technique. Woodblock printing was the next evolution of printing for text, images and patterns. It first began in East Asia and China as a method of textile printing.

Advances in Sublimation Technology

As the printing industry has advanced, the versatility and detail of sublimation printing has only grown. In fact, this type of printing can produce photo-quality images on not just polyester fabric, but a wide variety of hard surfaces, ceramic and other fabric blends. Digital manufacturing machines can interpret photos and translate those into crisp, multi-colored and nuanced prints.

Sublimation Today

Today, dye sublimation is the preferred method for transferring crisp, detailed images onto fabric that gets a lot of wear and tear. The heat paper transfer process leaves the image as a raised part of the garment, subject to peeling. Plus, heat transfer doesn’t get the minute detail and color shading of sublimation.

For detailed logos and designs that stand out and last for years to come, sublimation is the preferred choice for many sports directors.

1 Comment
  • The 2022 Ultimate Custom T Shirt Guide. How To Get The Most Out Of Your Next T Shirt Printing Project. | WDFA Custom Tees
    Posted at 04:55h, 06 July

    […] Sublimation printing dates back to the mid 1900’s and generally relies on chemical reactions to get inks to stick to the garment. This technique requires a special sublimation ink, a sublimation printer and garments made of polyester. When used for T Shirt printing it needs either polyester fabric or polyester coated materials for the chemical reaction to take place. Most popularly used for school uniforms and jerseys, Sublimation Printing make its easy to produce that one unit that isn’t possible with screen printing but puts a limitation on the types of garments you can use. Remember with sublimation printing you will need a Polyester based product.  […]

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