Heat Transfer Printing vs Sublimation Printing(3)

Types of Garments You Can Decorate
With sublimation, you’re more limited in the types of fabrics you can decorate compared to heat transfer paper. First, sublimation only works with polyester fabrics. No 100% cotton! This is because sublimation ink only binds to polyester material. You can get away with sublimation on some poly-cotton blends, but the transfer will not be as bright and vibrant as when you use 100% polyester. Because sublimation adds no extra layer on top of the fabric, the material also needs to be white or very light-colored for your transfer to show.
dye sublimation printingOn the other hand, with heat transfer paper, you can decorate on light and dark-colored cotton, polyester and cotton-poly blends.
While heat transfer paper may be the clear winner on the types of fabrics (material and color) that you can decorate, remember that sublimation can also be used on a wide range of hard and soft surface substrates. For the most part, heat transfer paper cannot.
Other Factors to Consider
Colors You Can Produce
Sublimation allows you to print full colors, which is especially great if you are wanting to print photos or have customers that need a very specific color (such as for a company logo). Depending on what type of heat transfer paper you use – inkjet or laser – you may not be able to achieve the same full-color, photo-quality transfers as with sublimation.
For photo-quality prints with heat transfer paper, your best bet will generally be inkjet heat transfer paper for light-colored garments or laser heat transfer paper printed with an laser printer. 
Sublimation is also naturally self-weeding as only the ink is transferred to the fabric. The process is easy as printing, pressing, peeling!
dye sublimation printing
 With heat transfer paper, a transfer layer carries the print to the garment, and unless you want a noticeable background the shape of the paper on your T-shirt, you will have to trim around the image with scissors or a cutting plotter.
On transfer papers for light-colored garments, the transfer layer is clear and mostly invisible, and trimming is optional. However, if you don’t trim it, you will be able physically feel the transfer layer even where the image is not present. On “one-step” transfer papers for darks, unprinted areas will show a white background, so trimming is essential.
Bottom Line
Both heat transfer paper and sublimation are wonderful ways to decorate apparel, and which method you choose ultimately depends on your needs. Hopefully this blog has helped you further your path to T-shirt and garment decoration! If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact with us
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