The sublimation printing method is for printing onto specially coated items which you can not be printed using your normal inkjet printer. Sublimation paper is a sheet of speciality paper where the design is printed and then pressed to the items with a heat press.
This article will provide you with a buying guide and some of the best sublimation paper reviews. Spare five minutes before going to buy in order to choose the best sublimation paper for your sublimation printing.
What Is Sublimation Paper?
Sublimation paper is a special kind of paper used in sublimation printing on various polyester coated surfaces like ceramic, tile, mugs, water bottles, garments, fibre board, metal sheets, caps, mouse pads, cell phone covers, stones, woods and so on. The main requirement is that the product to be printed should have a special coating on its surface in order to accept the ink.
The sublimation printing is done with this special kind of paper, sublimation ink and a heat press to embed the inks in the surface of the product to be painted. The image, later on, becomes a part of the product.
At first, the desired image is printed on the sublimation paper with a normal inkjet paper or sublimation paper. The speciality of the paper is a coating that keeps the inks at the surface to ensure the most transfer of colours to the printed items. Then a heat press is needed to imprint the image to the sublimation blanks.
Our Recommended Best Sublimation Papers
Not all sublimation papers will work best with your printer and sublimation ink. So choose the most compatible, sublimation paper with your printing supplies to ensure a better transfer.
Here are some of the best sublimation papers’ reviews for your better consideration-
1. A-SUB Sublimation Paper
A very good quality paper for polyester material with cotton content up to 30%, ceramic, tile, metal plate, phone case and so on at a very reasonable price. Compatible with any inkjet printer with sublimation ink.
It will ensure you 90% or more colour transferring on your desired product and thus give you a brilliant, clear and crispier image. The more is the polyester percentage, the more expected result will be.
There is a clear watermark on the backside so you will easily understand which side should be printed. If you can not see it for low eyesight, hold it up to the sun or bright light.
Withstands heat in the long press. Does not turn brown or shift in tint during longer presses with items like mugs.
Absorb the dye very well and dry fast. Release most of the inks during the press. Not many residual inks leave on the paper. The print before press looks very faint and dull. After the heat press process gives you a perfect image.
The image is transferred in great detail and in true and vivid colours.
Thicker, sturdier, has a good weight. Though thickness has nothing to do with printing qualit
y, t feels better when handling through the printer. Does not curl up and jam in the printer. But there is not any instruction with it so if you are going to use for the first time, you may face problems.
2. Dye Master Sublimation Paper
Compatible with Ricoh SG and GX series printers and all Epson desktop sublimation printers with a dye sublimation ink only. Not for a cotton t-shirt, works on white or light coloured polyester fabrics or hard surfaces (like ceramics, metals, woods) with a polymer coating. Great for commercial use.
The extra shiny side of the paper makes it easy to understand easily which side should be printed. So you will not hold the wrong side in the printer.
Colours show up pale on the page but are vibrant on the material after pressing. Very clear and detailed image. With 100% polyester fabrics you can get up to 100% expected result. Dries very fast so there is no scope of smudging.
Does not have issues with printers and need a lot of heat and pressure to do it. The paper can get jammed in your printer if it is not compatible with that. Heat tape is recommended to fix the sublimation paper to the round surfaces like mugs.
The paper is thick and holds up to heat.
3. A-SUB Sublimation Printer
Works on high-quality polyester, materials with cotton up to 30%, ceramic, tile, phone cases, cups, key chains, dog tags metal plates and so on. Compatible with all inkjet printers works better , with SAWGRASS printers but must be used with sublimation ink.
For the best result use 100% polyester and follow heat setting. Can also work on wood but you will need a coating on it before sublimating. It will not adhere to the fabric if there is more than 30% cotton.
Print on the blank side of the paper. If you apply proper heating and timing, it will perfectly.
The transfer works best on light colour. On a dark colour, it works depending on the shade of dark.
The paper is thick. The weight of the paper does not make any difference in the quality of the transfer. But the problem is that it takes time to dry out or it will smear right after printing. So you should not be in a hurry.
Does not come with instruction, contact customer support.
4. Mundi Sublimation Paper Flush
Compatible with Epson, Ricoh, Sawgrass printers. Works on only sublimation resin-coated products- ceramic, glass, stones, polyester textiles and so on. You can use only with sublimation ink with it. Does not work in dark colours. When washing the fabric, the image is erased.
In cotton it does not matter what the percentage of polyester has, the expected colours is lost up to 80%. In polyester, the colour is very bright and it dims very little.
Time and pressure are dependent on the substrate you are transferring to. Each substrate has its own setting and time.
Images printed on paper comes out with very good details. There is no bleeding in the paper. Dry fast.
Another thing is that the paper seems to be on a roll that is somehow bent and make inconvenience when positioning the image.
5. Texprint Sublimation Paper
This paper has been specially made for Ricoh printers but also works with Epson printers.
It can be used on all coated substrates- ceramics, wood, metal, plastic and polyester fabrics. Does not work with cotton fabric and products without sublimation blanks. With the right sublimation blanks, this paper works perfectly.
Flat and smooth. But this kind of paper should be stored in a sealed container so that it does not dry out.
The print appears faded when it comes out of the printer but it will be clear and vibrant later.
The corners of the paper bent up and it will be difficult for the printer to grab the pages.
Make sure you are printing on the right side. There is a watermark on the back. There are some claims of the users about its quality but those issues probably happened because the ink was not OEM ink or the print head was not clear or too much long heat press at low pressure.
6. Cisinks A3 Sublimation Transfer Paper
The paper released the ink well and gives vibrant and clear colours.
They are thicker than normal paper. Make sure that the surface and size of your printer will be compatible with their sizes. Will take some time to dry so do not be in a hurry. Once it dries, it will ensure you a great transfer after the heat press.
The cause behind the faded quality of the image is possibly for not enough temperature and proper pressure during the heat press. Check the manual to determine the proper temperature and pressure for each material.
There are also issues with the paper jamming inside the printer. It can curl when heated and has a tendency to roll onto itself. To prevent paper jams you should roll the paper in the opposite direction that it naturally rolls. It will then perfectly straight before printing.
How to Choose the Best Sublimation Paper
There are certain facts which should be considered to choose a sublimation paper for the best results.
The transfer rate of the sublimation paper is an important consideration. The output of the sublimation printing depends on how fast the sublimation paper absorbs the ink and releases to the items.
Drying speed is necessary, for easy and continuous printing and avoiding unnecessary messes, smudges. A good quality sublimation paper will take a very little time to dry. For personal use, the drying speed may not make difference, but for commercial use, it is a very important consideration.
The weight of the paper does not make much difference if you use them for personal purposes. The lightweight papers somehow give you fast printing. The thick papers give comparatively slow printing.
Quantity of spot
You should check the number of spots on the sublimation number paper. Though your sublimation ink is capable of producing very good quality images, the output can be harmed because of solid spots on the paper. If the printing is colourful, it will not be seen easily but in single colour print,t, it will look bad.
If the paper is not consistently coated with sublimation coating, the one side of the image will overlap with the other.
Choose heavier papers if your ink capacity is higher to ensure accepting the moisture from the ink and avoid curling or wrapping. Use at least 110 gsm paper to avoid issues of accepting heavy and light inks altogether.
Humidity of the workplace
In a lower humid environment ( humidity under 45%) the print side can curl up this harder paper can damage print head. Softer paper will protect your print head from getting damaged. Choose paper of 80 gsm for such areas.
In a humid environment (humidity above 70%) choose paper of 110-120 gsm. In this environment paper will quickly become damp.
Sublimation paper vs. heat transfer paper
Sublimation paper is used for polyester fabric and coated products like sublimation c, ceramic, tile, sublimation coated mugs, woods and so on. Piece size (A4, A3) are for small products. Roll size papers are for large format machine to design on bedsheets, sport wears etc.
Heat transfer paper is used for cotton material fabric, especially for t-shirt and hard surfaces. There are two different types of transfer paper for light and dark colour.
Sublimation paper needs sublimation ink and sublimation printer or inkjet printer for printing. Heat transfer paper can us normal ink, dye ink or pigment ink and an inkjet printer.
Sublimation paper needs a higher temperature than heat transfer paper to imprint the image on the product and it is more professional and high detailed pictures.
People also ask
Q: Can I use iron-on transfer papers in a laser printer?
Answer: Using iron-on transfer papers in a laser printer can cause melting the transfer paper and damaging the printer.
Q: Can I use sublimation paper with my inkjet printer?
Answer: It depends. If your printer is compatible with sublimation paper and sublimation ink, it will work. Some inkjet printer from Epson and Ricoh are compatible with many sublimation inks and papers.
Q: Can I use transfer paper with my inkjet printer?
Answer: Most of the inkjet printers and inks allow using transfer paper without modifying the printer.
An average sublimation paper can affect the quality of your desired image although you use a high-quality sublimation ink and printer. Get the best sublimation paper for the best result in your sublimation projects.