Sublimation Printing: A Step-By-Step Troubleshooting Guide

Sublimation Printing: A Step-By-Step Troubleshooting Guide
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  • Post published:Aug 5, 2023
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on troubleshooting common sublimation issues for apparel decoration print shops! As a business offering dye-sublimation apparel decoration services, it’s essential to provide your clients with vibrant and high-quality prints. However, sublimation printing can encounter various challenges that may affect the final output. Fear not! In this article, we’ll walk you through seven common sublimation issues and provide easy-to-follow fixes to ensure your prints stand out and leave your clients impressed.

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Issue 1: Sublimation Transfer Prints Are Dull In Color

One of the most frustrating issues is when your transfer prints appear lackluster and dull. The solution lies in some simple checks. First, make sure you’re printing on the correct side of the sublimation paper. Typically, the bright white side is the printing side, while the off-white side should face down during printing. Additionally, ensure that you’re using the appropriate color correction program to optimize color accuracy.

Issue 2: Sublimation Ghosting - A Shadowy Dilemma

Ghosting, the appearance of a shadow or second version of the image, can be a real headache. To prevent this, always secure your hard substrates to the sublimation paper using thermal tape before pressing. For fabrics and T-shirts, an adhesive spray will do the trick. Avoid using auto open presses, as they may cause the paper to shift. And remember, remove the transfer paper immediately after pressing to avoid ghosting.

Issue 3: Sublimation On Unsuitable Products

Not all products are compatible with sublimation ink. Ensure that your product blanks have a polyester coating or are made of polyester material. For the best results, use 100 percent white polyester for fabric printing. Avoid 100 percent cotton, as sublimation won’t adhere, and the transfer will wash away. Opt for poly/cotton blends, but bear in mind that the results may be less vibrant.

Issue 4: Prevent Sublimation Ink Bleeding

Ink bleeding onto the top and bottom platens of your press can be messy and cause print defects. Protect your press with Teflon wraps and sheets. They are reusable and easy to clean after each press. Alternatively, you can also use silicone-treated sheets.

Issue 5: Banishing Small Dots

Pesky small dots on your finished product can be due to excess moisture. To eliminate this issue, pre-press most substrates to remove any moisture before printing. Let the substrate cool down, then apply the transfer and press like normal.

Issue 6: Blurry Sublimation Transfer Images

If you notice blurring in your image when removing the transfer paper, it’s likely due to excessive time or temperature in the heat press. The fix is simple; reduce your time and try again for a crisp and clear print.

Issue 7: Sublimation Image Fading

Image fading can be a result of excessive time, temperature, or pressure. To avoid this, always double-check the recommended settings from the manufacturer of your sublimation blanks. Each heat press is different, so fine-tune your settings for optimum results. You can also use heat strips to verify the temperature accuracy of your press’s top platen.

The Takeaway

Congratulations! You are now equipped with valuable knowledge on troubleshooting common sublimation issues for your apparel decoration print shop. With the tips and fixes provided in this guide, you can ensure your prints are vibrant, crisp, and sure to impress your clients. By mastering the art of sublimation printing, you’ll create lasting relationships with customers who appreciate the quality and craftsmanship you bring to their apparel decoration needs.