Altitude Management Services Pte Ltd 1 - Sublimation Printing

What is Dye Sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing is the process where ink is sublimated into the fabric (100% nylon / polyester) at high temperature.

What you get is a fully all-over printed apparels with designs ink inside the fabric (smooth feel of the T-Shirt).

Recent Sublimation Printed Apparel

The ink undergoes a process from solid to gaseous state without undergoing the liquid state.

This process of sublimation allows the ink to be part of the fabric. At the end, it feels that you printed directly onto the fabric itself, as you cannot feel the ink, unlike silk screen printing or DTG Printing where you can feel the ink. 

The unique feature of sublimation printing is precisely that the ink is in the fabric. This is in contrast to other digital transfer methods such as digital heat transfer printing where the printing is done on the exterior of the fabric. This makes it a unique printing method when it comes to T-Shirt Printing in Singapore.

At Meowprint, our Sublimation printing services have a lead-time of about 3-4 weeks from the start of processing of our orders.

With only a minimum order quantity of 50 pieces, you are able to customize your all-over printed apparel.

1. How did Sublimation printing come about?

Interestingly, the origins of sublimation printing are a result of the discovery of piezoelectricity and research of inkjet printers. Noel de Plasse first invented sublimation printing in 1957.

He cleverly discovered that high temperatures could cause specific dyes to sublimate. But, this was later discovered that his dyes didn’t really sublimate and that it was more of a dye-diffusion process.

The subsequent events that took place are then subject to debate. On the one hand, it has been said that Nobutoshi Kihara, who worked for Sony, adapted dye diffusion into a proper dye-sublimation process primarily for the purposes of printing video stills.

But, at the same time, across the other side of the world, Wes Hoekstra in California was thought to have developed the first computer-driven sublimation system.

What’s important to know is that – the advance of technology and the increased demand for such high quality products have caused a increase in the prevalence of sublimation printing today.

2. What is Sublimation process?

We mentioned above a very brief idea of what sublimation printing is. If you are eager to learn more about it now, fret not, because this section will be dedicated to elaborating on the process of sublimation printing as well as the equipment and materials that you might need.

The idea of sublimation is crucial in this process. To refresh your memories from the glorious days in schools, sublimation is essentially the process where a substance transitions from the solid state into the gaseous state.

The important thing to note here is that the liquid state is leapfrogged. Conversely, the process of deposition is the opposite.

In this process, a substance transitions from the gas phase directly into a solid, again leapfrogging the liquid phase. Do keep this in mind, as this will then help you understand the later sections of this article.

File:Aggregate phase.svg
Process of Sublimation

3. Process of Sublimation T-Shirt printing (Step-by-step)

Basically, successful sublimation printing can be done in this two part process :

  1. Printing the design onto a special transfer paper using sublimation inks.
  2. Using a heat press to transfer the design on the special paper (in Step 1) onto the t-shirt

As you can see from the process above, the crucial equipment used in sublimation printing is:

  1. A sublimation printer, sublimation inks and a software to control your printer.
  2. Transfer paper (or sublimation paper)
  3. A heat press
    Sublimation printing process
    Summary of Sublimation printing customization

Printing the design onto the transfer paper

The sublimation printing process begins with a printer and unique sublimation inks.

A dye-sublimation printer uses heat to transfer dye onto various materials. Sublimation ink is unique because of its ability to convert from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid form.

  • First, the printing process starts with films that contain dyes (ink). The film typically includes 4 color pigments, cyan magenta, yellow and gray.
  • Typically, this could either take the form of a single film with 4 layers of colors, or 4 individual films for each color.
  • Then, during the printing process the pigments in these films are heated up and transferred onto the transfer paper through a piezoelectric print head. This print head is capable of printing at least 200 different shades of each color!
  • The pigments will then transition into gaseous state and leave the film.
  • The pigments will subsequently cool and solidify onto the transfer paper. This is the sublimation process!

Transferring design on the paper onto the t-shirt

Now that you have successfully printed your design onto a sublimation paper, the next step is to transfer this onto the final product – your t-shirts.

In order to do this, a heat press is required. With the application of heat and pressure for a period of time, the design can be imprinted onto the t-shirt. The period of time is dependent on the dye formulation and the type of fabric of the t-shirt.

Again, this requires the process of sublimation all over again. The high temperature from the heat press causes the dye on the paper to sublime into a vapor/gas. At the same time, the pores of the t-shirt that you’re pressing heat onto will also open up. Once pressure is released and heat is cooled, the dye will then turn back into solid form.

The result? The pores of the t-shirt will then close and the gas reverts back to a solid state. Because the pores of the t-shirt have encapsulated the ink whilst it was closing, the ink is now part of the fabric.

The difference between Inkjet and Sublimation Printers

The comparison between inkjet and sublimation printers can be useful to further show how sublimation printers work!

One interesting fact about the sublimation printer is that the color produced by it is of a higher quality than typical inkjet printers .

For one, inkjet printers print by spraying droplets of liquid ink from the nozzles. But if you magnify this result, you can still somewhat see the primary colors.

On the other hand, sublimation printers are capable of producing images with continuous tones of colors. These colors physically blend together.

We have shared much technical details about the process of sublimation printing on t-shirts (that’s our forte!) Well, if you need more visual reference, check out the video below.

4. Advantages & Disadvantages of Sublimation Printing

To help you make a better choice when deciding on the type of t-shirt printing services, we have also come up with some advantages and disadvantages of dye sublimation printing method.

Advantages

  • An all-over print effect on the t-shirts is achieved as ink is printed from seam-to-seam.
  • You can’t feel the ink as it will become part of the fabric and the end product is a soft-hand feel.
  • Long-lasting quality design as the printing becomes part of the fabric.
  • Thousands of colors to choose from!

Disadvantages

  • Type of t-shirt is restricted as only certain types of fabric are suitable for sublimation printing. eg suitable for 100% nylon / polyester material only.
  • The color of the t-shirt is restricted to white or light-coloured ones.

5. Sublimation printing can be used for the following Products from our T-Shirt Printing catalogue.

  1. ✅ All T-Shirts
  2. ✅ All Polo T-Shirts
  3. ✅ All Outerwear
  4. ✅ All Singlets & Tank Tops
  5. ✅ All Caps & Hats
  6. ✅ All Bags
  7. ✅ All Towels
  8. ✅ All Corporate Uniforms
  9. ✅ All Workwear
  10. ✅ All Shorts & Pants

6. Recommendations for Sublimation printing by MEOWPRINT

Sublimation printing is recommended for customers who are looking to print all-over full-coloured designs

Popular apparels would be cycling apparels & jersey printed apparels as well as retail fashion brands.

For cycling team apparel, you can match this method along with embroidery for that professional team outlook.

Many of our corporate customers opt for sublimation printing as their designs and customization of colors throughout the apparel can be very complex.

The costs is not cheap but you get one-of-a-kind corporate apparel

If you need cotton or honeycomb material for customization, then this method is not suitable. However you can check out our custom-made services as well.

7. Recent Projects of Sublimation Printed Apparels

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⭐ Customer Reviews

Still have reservations on our Sublimation Printing Services? Let our customers' genuine feedback help you!

Easy liaising- you just have to email them with your requirements to get a quote, then fill up a form sent by their team of your requirements. Cost per shirt is cheap, and quality is good! However noted the sizes are accurate/smaller than expected (unisex shirts from other companies may be bigger than usual) – so can use their measurements or order one size bigger. Otherwise, fast and efficient correspondence and good service. Thanks to the Meowprint team!
Rebecca Loh
Rebecca Loh
15:30 05 Nov 19
Staff were friendly and very prompt in replies. The shirt quality was good for value too! Would definitely order from here again.
Sheila c:
Sheila c:
01:10 04 Nov 19
I placed an order for an event that my school is participating and I had a mini panic attack because I was afraid that the t-shirts for my students would not be able to be printed and delivered on time for the event. However, thanks to Xiao Fen and MeowPrint, the t-shirts came today. Very fast and efficient!Thank you so much for your assistance!!! 🙂 Definitely will work together again for future t-shirt printings!
Nurul Jannah Samat
Nurul Jannah Samat
09:55 25 Oct 19
Dri-Fit T-Shirts used were of very good quality and cost is very affordable! Very satisfied with the quality of the Heat Transfer print. Staff was prompt and professional with my queries. Overall, I had a great experience working with them. I highly recommend MeowPrint T-Shirt Printing services!
Allan Valentino
Allan Valentino
07:15 22 Oct 19
I chose this T-shirt printer as they are the most transparent one available on the web that reveals the cost up front. Due to time constraint, that made a big difference without having to go back and forth on email quotations! Once confirmed, they honored the time frame for speedy delivery and we are all pleased with the quality of cotton and print. I’ll come back to Meowprint again!
Yu Ching Lee
Yu Ching Lee
03:37 21 Oct 19
communication was efficient and the delivery time was fast too! shirts were also of excellent quality and were not too expensive. overall a good experience and would definitely buy from them again in future 🙂
Katherine Fontanilla
Katherine Fontanilla
11:19 17 Oct 19
Able to meet deadlines! The vendor person that assisted me, Xiao Fen, is very friendly and understanding~ There was supposed to be a delay due to the change of design but she still manages to help to get it on time! Thank you~Plus the prices are great too~
Baizura
Baizura
11:27 11 Oct 19
Very efficient. Had my polo shirts printed in about one week. The polo t material is soft and not too thick.
tim chua
tim chua
06:31 11 Oct 19
This review came kinda late – printed our company t-shirts three months ago but till today, the t-shirts are still in great condition even though our staff wears them almost every day! Awesome quality, super affordable prices, prompt replies and great service from the team 🙂 Self collection was fuss-free too! Definitely will order from them again!
brownie points
brownie points
19:47 10 Oct 19
This is the 2nd time ordering from MeowPrint and they never fail to impress me with their variety of designs, price and customer service! Xiao Fen was very responsive to my request and my order was delivered today, 1 day ahead of time! Thank you so much, MeowPrint!
Sam Khoo
Sam Khoo
09:25 26 Sep 19
Fast process and pretty prompt reply.Fair pricing. Will come back to Meow if i needed more T-shirt printing services.
Wisely Wee
Wisely Wee
05:55 24 Sep 19
Fast and smooth transaction got my tote bags within a week! Xiao Fen is very helpful and polite. Very good service.
EVO PHOTOGRAPHY
EVO PHOTOGRAPHY
02:46 07 Sep 19
Smooth and fast printing service from MeowPrint (within 2 weeks). Amilia was so helpful. She showed us different design for our bag printing! We love the product so much! Thank you!! 😍
Yoonler Ng
Yoonler Ng
09:37 04 Sep 19
Extremely prompt and was a smooth transaction. Quality of clothes is good as well. Need to stock up on the clothes at the warehouse though, but other than that, all is good! Highly recommend!
Anna Ong
Anna Ong
10:24 26 Aug 19
The instant quote really makes it easier to gauge the budget required for the purchase. Prompt response from them. The printing is top-notch!
Yeo Yong Qiang
Yeo Yong Qiang
00:52 10 Aug 19
The ordering of the shirts was fuss free as the liaising process was fast and convenient. The shirts were of good quality and we were able to receive our products on time thanks to their efficiency. Thank you!
Tan Wei Ling
Tan Wei Ling
02:22 09 Aug 19
The process communicating with MeowPrint was a smooth one and the entire process took less than 2 weeks. We have received our goods and we love it especially the quality of the clothes. Will definitely choose Meowprint again if we need T-shirt printing service in the future.
TAY YONG SHIN
TAY YONG SHIN
07:37 26 Jul 19
Great service from Xiao Fen and prompt responses! Good prices, can order small quantities. Easy review of sample also, will definitely order again 🙂
Crystal Koh
Crystal Koh
09:57 25 Jul 19
MeowPrint did an awesome polo shirt printing for me recently. The shirts were beautifully printed and on the delivery day they promised. Service was always prompt too! Xiao Fen was patient in explaining the details. She allowed thinking time and was not pushy in sales. She also acceded to my special request regarding my logo. I have found a great printing company for my future shirt printing needs.
Sharon
Sharon
00:34 10 Jul 19
MeowPrint did an awesome polo shirt printing for me recently. The shirts were beautifully printed and on the delivery day they promised. Service was always prompt too! Xiao Fen was patient in explaining the details. She allowed thinking time and was not pushy in sales. She also acceded to my special request regarding my logo. I have found a great printing company for my future shirt printing needs.
Sharon
Sharon
00:34 10 Jul 19
Meowprint provided us with a fuss-free experience in printing our company polo tee. The staffs are really helpful in helping us along the process and the turnover time was really fast! We are really happy with the polo tee, thank you Meowprint!
Carmentix Singapore
Carmentix Singapore
09:49 09 May 19
Very Good tshirt printing supplier. Very reliable and good quality. Everything was done smoothly and well. Recommended:)
Hisyam Hisyam
Hisyam Hisyam
09:45 03 May 19
Highly responsive, efficient and great service. Immediately rectified with new stock after receiving our feedback about damaged piece. (y)
Pauline Ochura
Pauline Ochura
06:29 15 Apr 19
Xiao Fen was so prompt in getting back to me and also very patient with my indecision at the showroom… finally when the delivery came with the finish product, it was really well done… far exceeded my expections and the quality of the shirt together with the embroidery and print were the best to date. Will definitely be a returning customer… even the custom wind breaker is awesome. Worth every penny spent.
Stacey
Stacey
14:30 04 Apr 19
First time ordering with MeowPrint and it was a pleasant experience with prompt response from Xiao Fen whenever there are queries on my end. Was happy with the shirts quality and definitely will keep MeowPrint in mind for the future! 🙂
Jian Ler Lee
Jian Ler Lee
09:45 04 Apr 19
It was very pleasant and smooth process for me to be able to have the design i wanted in my customize T-shirt. They provide a great service and will show a digital layout before they did anything. Thank you for making my family wishes come true. Definitely recommended and will order again for the future.
Zati Izzati kEcHiKz
Zati Izzati kEcHiKz
02:51 27 Mar 19
It was a very pleasant experience printing my department’s T-shirts at MeowPrint. Xiao Fen is always super prompt in answering queries and satisfying the paper work for my organization’s administrative needs. Last but not least, on top of the beautifully printed T-shirts, thank you for the thoughtful Chinese New Year cookies.
Hsin Yee Teh
Hsin Yee Teh
03:52 29 Jan 19
Took the time to clarify and review the changes made (and there were many). However, could improve on the time between replies though. Overall a wonderful experience and very finacially friendly. Thank you for the wonderful shirts!
Benjamin Ng
Benjamin Ng
15:14 24 Jan 19
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We believe that T-Shirt Printing should be easy and hassle-free. Custom t-shirts represent the identity of a group of individuals, be it for an event or a corporate team. That is why our passionate crew are here to provide the best experience for you.