How Sublimation Printing Can Change Your Design Game

Whether you are an aspiring interior designer, a business owner looking to brand products, or you are just an avid DIY-er, a sublimation printing machine can be your next best friend.

Sublimation printing is a form of ink transfer that allows dyes to be pressed into fabric without entering into the messy liquid stage.

Sublimation printing offers many benefits over other popular forms of printing in the design world, such as screen printing. Whereas other methods yield duller colors or less flexibility when it comes to the materials you can print on, sublimation actually performs better when a multitude of colors are used on textured surfaces.

You can use dye sublimation printing on nearly any surface. From wood to polyester to glass, a delicate touch and a little guidance are all you need to get started with sublimation printing.

Sublimation printers are certainly an investment. However, the vibrant colors and sharp designs speak for themselves. But because sublimation printing is an advanced printing technique, you need to know what you are doing before you can expect expert-level results.

You should expose yourself to the entirety of the sublimation printing process before you dive into the world of dye sublimation head first. I suggest watching a sublimation tutorial online or two before you get started or run out and buy these materials. The results are exciting, but sublimation is a technique that requires practice.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is the process of imparting dyes onto fabric from a solid to gaseous state, bypassing the liquid state of the dye entirely.

Sublimation printing usually requires a pretty sizeable upfront investment, whereas screen printing is generally more expensive over time.

Sublimation printing techniques penetrate deeply into the fabric, whereas other methods tend to sit on the surface level of fabrics. Dye sublimation, therefore, yields more durable, longer lasting results.

Screen printing, a popular alternative to sublimation printing, allows for the custom mixing of colors but does have a tendency to bleed. Sublimation printing does not have this problem.

Sublimation printing ends up being most cost-effective for those designers who want to print on many items over time, rather than just printing one-offs from time to time. If you are a more casual designer, you might find more value in a heat transfer printing system.


You can use sublimation printing on nearly any type of fabric, with some caveats. Dye sublimation printing works best with high polyester content fabrics. Natural fabrics, like cotton or silk, will not play as well with dye sublimation techniques.

That said, you can coat natural fabrics in poly-coating or polyester coating to achieve your desired results. There are plenty of sublimation guides online that will give you more specific instructions for whichever fabric you prefer to use.

Whether you are making a custom garment or looking to print your business’ logo on a line of hats, you can use sublimation printing to your advantage.


One of the main advantages of sublimation printing techniques is that they are capable of imparting designs on to traditionally difficult to work with items and surfaces.

Sublimation printing not only prints well on a variety of textures, but it does not require a flat surface to print your design. Screen printing, on the other hand, does require a flat surface. Because there is no opportunity for colors to bleed as they completely bypass a liquid stage, the designs you print with this method will be in sharp relief with clear, crisp lines.

No DIY project will be off limits for you with a sublimation printing machine: from curtains to reupholstery projects that encompasses every piece of your living room furniture, you will can print on it all.

Custom Gifts

And no DIY guide would be complete if I did not point out how a sublimation printer can totally revitalize your gift-giving game. When it comes to printing custom gifts, you can’t beat the results a sublimation printer offers you.

Clear, durable, and vibrant results on nearly any imaginable surface. Think of the possibilities—and, better yet, of the money you will save!

Something as simple as set of custom wineglasses, wherein you custom printed on some thrifted glassware, makes a big impression on your recipients.

After all, you can sublimate on glass or metal. So there is really nothing for you to lose: no matter what you prefer printing on, a dye-sublimation printer can provide tremendous value for you, your business, or just your personal DIY projects.


If you are considering purchasing a sublimation printer, ask yourself how often you print custom designs. Small businesses can benefit greatly from branding opportunities sublimation printing offers, and DIY-ers can open up an entire world of customization to make every surface in their home truly their own.

The most important thing? Have fun!