How to sublimation shirts? Everything you need to know

Are you looking to start a sublimation shirt business? Or are you just looking for a way to create custom shirts for yourself or your friends? In either case, learning how to do sublimation shirts is the way to go! This process uses heat and pressure to transfer dye onto a substrate, resulting in beautiful, vibrant images. Keep reading for all the details on how to get started. 

How Does Sublimation Work on Shirts? 

The basic process of sublimation is used to create images on all kinds of substrates, including fabric, paper, and even ceramics. The dye is heated until it turns into a gas, then pressurized until it becomes a liquid again. This process allows the dye to penetrate the surface of the substrate in a way that traditional printing methods can’t. 

When it comes to shirts, the dye is first printed onto a transfer sheet. This sheet is then placed on top of the shirt, and both are put into a heat press. The heat and pressure cause the dye to vaporize and penetrate the fabric, leaving a beautiful image behind. 

How to Get Started With Sublimation?

If you’re ready to give sublimation a try, there are a few things you’ll need to get started. First, you’ll need a heat press. This is the machine that will apply heat and pressure to the transfer sheet and shirt, causing the dye to vaporize. 

You’ll also need a Sublimation Inkjet Printer. This is the printer that will print the images onto the transfer sheets. Any standard inkjet printer will work, but you’ll get better results if you use one that is specifically designed for sublimation. 

Finally, you’ll need some Sublimation Ink. This is the ink that will be used to print the images on the transfer sheet. You can find it online or at most craft stores. 

Once you have these basic supplies, you’re ready to start sublimation! 

Steps on how to sublimate a shirt 

  1. Decide on the design you want to use. This can be anything from a simple logo to a full-blown picture. Just make sure that it’s in either a .JPG or .PDF format. 
  2. Now, create a new document in CorelDraw (or whatever software you’re using) and size it to the dimensions of the shirt you’re using. 
  3. Next, import the image you want to use into CorelDraw. 
  4. Now, it’s time to create the transfer sheet. To do this, you’ll need to set up your printer for sublimation. This usually involves changing the type of paper you’re using and the print settings. Check your printer’s manual for more information. 
  5. Once your printer is set up, print the image you want to use onto a sheet of sublimation paper. 
  6. Now it’s time to heat press the shirt. The exact steps will vary depending on your heat-press, but generally, you’ll want to set the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and the time to 10-12 minutes. 
  7. Once the timer is up, remove the shirt from the heat press and let it cool down. 
  8. Finally, carefully peel the transfer sheet off the shirt. If everything went according to plan, you’ll now have a beautiful, sublimated shirt! 

Reasons to sublimate a shirt 

There are a number of reasons to sublimate a shirt, but the two main ones are customization and convenience. With sublimation, you can create any design you want, and you don’t have to worry about minimum orders or specialty shirts. You can also create custom shirts for any occasion, from birthdays to weddings. Plus, the process is fast and easy, so you can have a new shirt in no time. 

How to care for sublimated shirts?

Just like any other shirt, you’ll need to care for your sublimated shirts if you want them to last. Here are a few tips: 

  • Wash in cold water on the gentle cycle. 
  • Do not bleach. 
  • Tumble dry on low heat. 
  • Do not iron directly on the image. 
  • If the image starts to fade or peel, you can re-sublimate it. 

With a little bit of care, your sublimated shirts will last for years. 

Can You Do Sublimation on Dark Shirts? 

Yes, you can do sublimation on dark shirts. However, the results may not be as bright and vibrant as with light-colored shirts. You can get better results by using a white or light-colored transfer sheet. 


Now that you know how to sublimate a shirt, you can create any design you want. Just choose the image you want to use, create a transfer sheet, and put both into a heat press. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a beautiful new shirt to wear. 

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