Sublimation printing on your favourite t-shirt or coffee mugs at home is not a big deal at all. You do not need any skill or previous experience of sublimation printing, you will just need the necessary supplies.
If you are willing to gift something unique to your loved one, you can try for it without hesitating any more. Here we will show you how to use sublimation paper for t-shirt printing at home.
Firstly, you need to choose a good quality sublimation paper of ideal thickness and good transfer rate. It should also dry fast for quick and smudge free printing.
And do not use a sublimation paper which you have bought more than one year ago and kept open.
Sublimation paper of any brand has a shelf life and you can store it in a sealed container up to one year depending on the humidity of that environment.
For sublimation printing on mugs, you will need a mug press machine instead of a heat press machine.
All you will need is-
- Your computer
- Your printer
- Sublimation ink
- A heat press machine
- A white t-shirt
- Protective paper
Remember that you need to use a polyester t-shirt, not a cotton shirt. Sublimation papers and inks work on polyester garments only. For the best result, you should take 100% polyester garment. Here we have taken a 100% polyester t-shirt.
There are also some poly-mix garments where the amount of polyester is 60% and cotton 40%. Sublimation paper will work on them but you will get a weak and dull image.
You can also use polyfog on a cotton garment if you want to do sublimation printing on it. Just spray to the area to be printed. But, I am not sure how well it will work!
And another important thing is to choose the right sublimation paper and ink for the sublimation project. So, check if the sublimation paper and ink are compatible with your printer.
Otherwise you will not get a satisfactory result. You have to choose the heat press machine according to the size of your design. There are heat press machines of different formats in the market.
You can also control the time limit in the heat press machine, you can increase or decrease the time. There are buttons for minute and second.
The process of sublimation printing
Now we are ready with all the arrangements. The process is given below with pictures for your convenience.
Choose a design
Choose a unique design for your favourite t-shirt. Take picture with your camera or collect a picture or design from the internet.
Print it on the Sublimation Paper
Take your sublimation paper and check which side has to be printed. Some sublimation papers come with a clear mark on their back for quick understanding of the printing side. And some papers have a shiny printing side.
After checking deliver it to your printer and print your desired image on the sublimation paper with your sublimation printer.
Press the t-shirt for removing wrinkle
Set heat press for 180°C for 50sec. Take your polyester t-shirt and place it on the heat press. Press it for a few seconds to remove wrinkles. It will also remove the moisture.
Use a protective paper
Use protective paper to avoid gasses transfer to another side of the t-shirt. Fold the paper in two and keep it inside the t-shirt. Smoothen the shirt with your, hand.
Place your design on the shirt
Again, start the heat press and set it at 385 degrees. This high heat is needed to open the pores of the sublimation blank to accept the ink.
Place the sublimation paper in the desired position on the heat press machine. Remember to place it facing down on the t-shirt.
Then press for 50sec with medium pressure. You have to set the pressure according to the thickness of the t-shirt. The thicker the garment, the more pressure it will need. Keep a protective paper on the sublimation paper.
Open the lid, And quickly remove the sublimation paper. Now you are done with your sublimation printing and your t-shirt is ready to wear.
Under the high temperature and media um pressure of the heat press machine, the ink and the garment have reacted with each other.
When the sublimation paper is heated to high temperature, the ink of the design has vaporized and the pores of the shirt open up and accept the ink.
When the heat is removed again the pores of the shirt has closed and the colours have entrapped inside the pores.
The picture will be now a part of your garment, will not fracture or fade away. You will not even feel the outer line of the image on your garment. That means the picture will not be felt like a sticker.
Now, you are done with it. You can wash it now but do not use hot water. Wash it with normal water and do not dry it in the sun. Do not use a brush while washing. You can use mild detergent if you want.
Thus, you can easily print a t-shirt at home. Try with any design, picture, writing or anything you like. Surprise your loved ones with a unique gift reminiscing your happy moments.