Printing custom T-shirts using sublimation or 3D All Over Print

There are many ways to print custom T-shirt but sublimation or 3D All Over Print is one of the most fun way to do so. Sublimation is the phase transition of a substance from a solid directly to a gas without going through a liquid phase occurring under specific temperature and pressure conditions. So basically what is happening when you print a custom shirt or custom socks with sublimation printing ink that is printed on heat transfer paper and as it’s being Heat pressed onto the T-shirt or garment it is transfer into a gas onto the shirt. 

“The process”

Here’s the step-by-step process required to produce a  product:

Cred: Johnson Plastics 

  1. Design and customize a graphic specific to the final product using professional graphics software. Sublimation products showcase millions of colors utilizing high resolution, true photo quality images and any vector-based graphics and text.
  2. Print the image to a supported inkjet printer using specialty subinks on sublimation-friendly paper.
  3. Face the printed image on the sheet to a sublimation-ready surface (e.g. polyester-based only). Some hard products like plaques and name badges will need to be taped using heat resistant tape. For soft substrates like t-shirts or mouse pads, the transfer can be “tacked” to the product using a light, repositionable adhesive spray available at any hardware, craft or super store, or by using a tacky sublimation paper, currently only available for wide format printers.
  4. Place the product and sublimation print under a heat press. Each product type has its own formula for time, temperature and pressure for optimal decorating. The proper temperature usually hovers between 385° F to 400° F, time varies from 50 seconds for a Vapor Apparel t-shirt to over seven minutes for a glossy, ceramic tile. The required pressure is usually “medium” or around 30-40 psi on a pneumatic press. You’re looking for a solid marriage between the heated platen and the face of your sublimation transfer (where the solid ink dyes rest).
  5. After the time expires, remove the product (using protective heat gloves is recommended when handling many subproducts), tear away the transfer and admire the finished image. Besides assembly for some products (e.g. gift boxes, tile murals, etc.), the product is ready for delivery after cooling.


Items needed for starting printing custom T-shirt with sublimation.

  1. You need a computer.

Your computer is a very important part. You have to design the image that you are creating the custom T-shirt with. Most sub printers will come with a RIP for you to use with the machine. The design software though usually is Corel draw, Adobe illustrator, or Photoshop.

2. A sublimation printer.

There are many sub printers that can be used to print custom T-shirts with. There are some small desktop printers for example the Sawgrass machines and there are wide format printers that print 44 inches or larger. An example of that would be the Epson series printers.

3.Sublimation transfer paper and ink’s.  

There are many sub transfer papers and inks. You will be the best advised to get the one that’s compatible with your machin

4. A garment to print on.

5. Software.

You also need a RIP software to control your printer and to manage your print jobs. ErgoSoft is the market leader in the development of software for textile sublimation and Roland offers the so-called “ErgoSoft Roland Edition” software for free with its Texart printers. Therefore, when you invest in a Roland printer, you are sure that you also have the ideal software at your disposal to run your machine. It has a perfect colour management and a multi-colour engine (for the Orange and Violet inks).  Cred:

6. Protection Paper

If you use a calender, you also need a protection paper that ensures optimal transfer of the ink onto the textile during the sublimation process and that protects the belt of your calender against ink. The Roland Protection Paper is your perfect choice.

Here are some samples of items you can sublimate on:

Sublimation imprintables you’re sure to make a hit with!
  • Mouse Pads, Coasters, Placemats, Jar Openers, Can Wraps & More! …
  • Ceramic & Glass Tiles, Cutting Boards & More! …
  • Aprons & Baby Bibs. Puzzles. …
  • Light Switch Plates. …
  • Flags: Car, Home & Banner! …
  • ChromaLuxe Mobile Frames. …
  • ChromaLuxe Photo Murals. …
  • Paperweights.

Mugs, coasters, glass tiles, custom T-shirts, tote bags, ceramic plates, baby bibs, flags, car flags, blank towels, blank towels, mouse pads

This part basically is up to you whether you are designing a custom T-shirt, custom socks, custom blanket or any other items you will need the garment to print on.

Hopefully this helps you in your quest some point custom T-shirts by using sublimation printing. Comment below or email us with questions.


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