What is Dye Sublimation T-Shirt Printing?

Dye Sublimation Printing Explained

When to use Dye Sublimation? We get many designs sent to use that simply warrant Dye Sublimation. Dye Sublimation Printing can replicate up to 1200dpi, with amazing photographic reproduction. It’s perfect for those logo/designs with gradients in them or when a full-colour print is needed.

The image is printed onto Heat Transfer Paper up to A3 size, then applied to a specially coated ceramic, metal or 100% white polyester fabric via a heat transfer machine. From experience, you can print on to poly/cotton blend, but after the first wash, it will look like it’s been washed 25 times. Which some people like the distressed/vintage look.

Sublimation ink has this unique ability to convert from a solid to gas using heat. The high temperature from a heat transfer machine opens the pores of the polymer and allows the ink to turn into a gas which enters the desired substrate. When the temperature cools, the pores close and the gas reverts to a solid-state leaving the impression that was first printed onto the Heat Transfer Paper.

louis aoda t shirt printed

Dye Sublimation can reproduce amazing photographic detail

Pros and Cons of Sublimation Printing


  • Print onto many different substrates (Mugs, T-Shirts, Wood, Metal)
  • Complete customization
  • Great for full-colour Logos or Designs
  • Amazing fine detail reproduction (up to 1200dpi)
  • Great for small to medium print runs
  • Great for individual prints and multiple name changes
  • Very durable and doesn’t crack or flake
  • Has a very soft to touch feel as the print becomes apart of the material


  • For T-Shirt printing, material needs to be 100% polyester or 65/35 Poly/Cotton blend
  • You cannot print onto dark coloured substrates
  • You cannot print onto heat-sensitive polyester
  • You cannot reproduce gold/silver or any metallic colours