The Making Money with CorelDRAW Roadshow...Sublimation
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The sublimation process uses special inks that contain colored dyes. These inks are mixed and deposited on a transfer sheet using an inkjet, or laser printer. The transfer sheet is positioned on the intended product and placed in a heat press.
The dyes vaporize with heat and pressure; then penetrate and color polyester materials in or on the product.
Since sublimation only works on polyester materials; it’s not a suitable process for cotton clothing. For hard-goods the sublimation process requires that the blank products have a polyester coating.
Printers used for sublimation are generally dedicated to the process.
They can be used for other applications, however sublimation inks are expensive and flushing them out of the printer is costly.
In addition, sublimation is probably the image transfer process which is most affected by blanks that are not white. Sublimation is a dyeing process. So with colored garments or other blank products, sublimation is adding dye to polyester that already has some color. Think of it as adding a semi-transparent image that’s layered onto the product. The base color will show through and modify the color of the print
All of that said, current sublimation technology offers the best image durability and stability of any image transfer process.