If you are just starting out in the world of sublimation, you should know that using the right paper is absolutely essential to get good results. If you have been doing it for years, you know that the wrong paper will not transfer your design the way you want it.
Blurry lines, dull colors and leaking ink are just some of the problems poor sublimation paper can cause.
Best Sublimation Paper of 2020
The main goal of sublimation paper is to absorb and hold ink and then to transfer it to another surface. It is a way to print patterns and designs at home to t-shirts, mugs, keychains, keypads, and many other objects.
To make it a professional process that is long-lasting and well-done, you must use the best sublimation paper for printing, ink and heat presses there are.
To get you started, we compiled the ten best papers for sublimation projects on the market today.
1. Inkjet Sublimation Paper
This is a highly compatible sublimation paper – it can be used with Epson, Hp, Canon, Ricoh, and other printers. Colors are well represented and over 95% of the ink transfers from the paper to your project.
The package contains one hundred sheets of 11 x 17 inches paper with good absorption skills and a variety of uses. It works well on ceramic, fabric, and plastic surfaces, as long as they have a light polyester coat – so you’ll be all covered.
It dries fast and uses little ink, making this a very practical purchase. Like most papers of this kind, it is waterproof and smudge-free.
2. Texprint Paper
The Texprint paper is made specifically for Ricoh printers, but it is also reported to work with Sawgrass and Epson ones.
If you own any of these brands the Texprint will work smoothly and effectively. It has good absorption abilities, which means that it provides crisp and vibrant colors.
It works well on polyester fabric and any other surface with a polyester coat – like mugs, mousepads, and phone cases. The package includes a thermal heat tape, essential to keep your patterns in place when applying the heat press.
It is important to notice that the colors do seem dull just as the paper leaves the printer, but show up with some waiting time.
3. A-Sub Sublimation Paper
This is one of the most known brands of paper and the best sublimation paper for printing on different mediums. It works well with polyester but also with types of fabric that have less than 30% of cotton content.
They have been around for eighteen years, and have developed their technology a lot during this time. The paper dries quickly, transfer over 90% of the ink to the project and have flat edges, which helps loading them into the printer.
It also has a print on the backside, making it really hard to load the paper on the wrong side, a convenient feature.
4. Koala Sublimation Paper
From metal keychains to plastic mousepads, ceramic mugs and polyester t-shirts – Koala paper does it all. It comes in a variety of sizes, so it is perfect for small businesses or people with different needs.
Like all sublimation papers, it can only handle light fabric, but the advantage is that it works on t-shirts with up to 30% cotton in their composition. It dries instantly and provides good color recreation.
The new version is also flatter and smoother, facilitating a lot the insertion of it in the printer. The printing side is white while the backside has watermarks on it for easy visualization.
5. Mundi Partners Paper
Widely compatible, this paper can be used with Sawgrass, Epson, Ricoh and other brands of printers. If you are environmentally conscious this may be the best sublimation paper to purchase.
It is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), an international non-profit that promotes the responsible use of the world’s forests. It is fast drying and you can expect to be ready to touch in less than forty seconds.
It works with any surface that is coated with resin, the colors look sharp and real and the ink gets almost completely transferred to the project – everything you want from good sublimation paper.
6. DyeMaster Paper
Compatible with all Epson printers and some Ricoh models, the DyeMaster paper is a standard sublimation tool with extra fast drying time.
It promises to dry in less than five seconds, an impressive feature that is better than most papers. It works on light-colored or white polyester fabrics and any other surface with a light polyester coat – so be aware of that. It does not work on cotton or ceramic mugs with no polyester coating.
On proper surfaces, It gets consistent results by different users – it is a very reliable and affordable product.
7. 120 G Sublimation Paper
The 120 G is inexpensive, dries fast, and works great. Some papers suffer from cracks while drying, which really damages the design.
This is not, however, the case of the 120 G. It provides clean lines and vibrant colors, and it transfers over 90% of the ink into the surface. It can be used with polyester fabric that contains up to 30% cotton, and it works with any inkjet printer.
There are three sizes to choose from, 8 x 11 inches, 11 x 17 inches, and the bigger one 13 x 19 inches. While most printers take the medium size, other larger projects require sizable papers.
8. A-Sub Paper
A more affordable model of the A-sub papers, this is still a quality choice for a fraction of the price. It is compatible with all printers, as long as they are inkjet, not laser.
The colors transfer beautifully, the paper is smooth and does not jam the printer and over 95% of the ink transfers from the paper to the work surface. In addition to the usual size choices, there is also a big 60 x 393 inches roll, great for businesses.
Since they have a warehouse in Ohio, delivery is fast and customer service is superb. A good choice of paper.
9. BetterSub Paper
The SubPaper has a high transfer rate, and you can see that almost all ink disappears from the paper after use, as it went to the working surface.
It has a standard size of 11 x 17 inches, no fading, no fracturing and it dries fast. It is one of the flattest sublimation papers around, which is great if you do not have a specialized printer and uses a regular printer for projects.
The backside is green while the printing side is white – great for beginners that are still learning to work on sublimation. One hundred and ten sheets should be enough to last a long time.
10. CISinks Paper
One of the most inexpensive reams of sublimation paper you can get. Note that this will not work on fabric with cotton percentage, only on polyester.
Other than that, you can create intricate designs with vivid colors on all the regular coated surfaces. It is smooth and compatible with any inkjet printer, making it a very versatile purchase.
Some users had problems with curving, however, which causes paper jam sometimes, definitely an annoyance. Also be careful when placing the paper on the printer, since both sides are fairly similar.
If you do print on the wrong size, it won’t work and the paper will be ruined. The trick here is to watch out for the glossier side – this will be the right one.
The Best Sublimation Paper for Printing Buying Guide
A good sublimation paper has very quick-drying abilities. This is the best way to avoid messes and mishaps.
How long does it take to transfer the design from the paper to the desired surface matter. The fastest it is, the better the chances the drawing has no color bleeding and no blurriness.
It is important to consider the surfaces and objects you want to complete your projects on. Sublimation papers will work best on light polyester fabric.
Some of them, however, function well even on blends of polyester and cotton, depending on the amount of cotton involved. Metal, wood, ceramic and plastic objects all need to be covered on a layer of polyester (resin) to receive heat transfers.
Sublimation printing is a more complex process than regular printing. That means that it can be arduous for the machine to complete the job, with paper jams and torn papers. Smooth papers with flat edges will do the job much better.
The better the pattern looks on paper, the better it will look on the final product. If the colors look faded and dull, chances are they are going to look like that on your t-shirt or mug.
The best sublimation papers for printing are accurate, capturing the colors as they are and transferring them nicely to the end surface.
It is important to notice that some papers require a little time between printing and drying, which means you have to wait a few minutes to see the true colors on paper. Be patient.
Sublimation Paper for Printing – Frequently Asked Questions
Can any printer do sublimation?
Any Inkjet printer can print on sublimation paper, as long as you use special sublimation ink. Laser printers are not able to do sublimation.
How is sublimation done?
Sublimation is the process of transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas phase. The sublimation paper absorbs the ink that, when heated, transforms from solid to gas and embeds itself into the surface used, becoming a part of it.
Is sublimation paper the same as heat transfer paper?
Not quite. They are both very similar processes but transfer paper can only be used in fabric, while sublimation works on all kinds of poly-coated surfaces.
While the sublimation process gets the ink to blend completely with the surface and become part of it, the heat transfer simply relocates the ink to the top layer of the fabric.
Although heat transfer works with cotton and dark fabrics (unlike sublimation) is a much more temporary and low-quality process.
How do I take care of my sublimation paper?
Since this type of paper is so absorbent, it can easily get ruined if left in humid areas. It is best to keep it inside a sealed bag when not in use.
Can I use an iron to transfer the design? Is it safe to iron over the transferred area after the heat transfer is completed?
No, the process gets much better results if you use a proper heat presser. Additionally, if you did sublimation on a t-shirt, iron it on the inside out in the future.