Which Is The Best Fabric For Dye-Sublimation Printing

Which Is The Best Fabric For Dye-Sublimation Printing

Dye-sublimation printing is the new trend! Those who are into the customized garment business or planning to get into it have found dye-sublimation as a rewarding investment. Indeed, it is true! 

But discovering success with this process can be a bit difficult. The first step towards achieving so is finding your niche and creating high-quality material for it. 

There is always confusion as to which fabric pairs up well with this process, specifically for beginners. Whether one should go with poly-blend, a nylon blend, or any cotton-poly material. Too much turbulence! 

No more worries, here are the pros and cons revealed of each of the fabrics and what impact they make to your dye-sublimation business. 

Before getting deep into the fabric details, here is a quick and easy rule you should follow. If the fabric is man-made, the dye sublimation Edmonton methods can be used to transfer the designs. 

The very clear reason for that is because the sublimation ink is water-based dye ink on which heat and pressure will get applied, making it transformed into gas. The gas then bonds with the polyester molecules and the molecules get dyed to transfer the designs. 

Cotton is not too great for dye-sublimation printing 

Cotton is not considered to be a great material for dye sublimation. Why so? This is because cotton has some natural fibers that don’t bond with the dyes in sublimation ink. A high cotton content substrate can be pressed with your designs and the ink will get temporarily transferred. 

But the drawback is that they will get washed out immediately. In simple words, the bond between the ink dyes and the natural cotton fiber is temporary and gets washed out very easily. 

This bonding process can be carried along but this fabric is not so common and does not deliver good results when compared to other methods. 

There are specialized coating and specialized transfer paper that allows you to transfer the designs to cotton substrates. Such coatings can give an introduction to a polymer into the cotton substrate, which works for permanent bonding and dying the material.

Polyester is the ideal fabric for sublimation printing 

Polyester material and blends are the perfect fit, go-to substrate for transferring the designs with the top-quality. The dye sublimation ink gets bonded with the polyester molecules, allowing you to transfer the high-quality designs.

There is a drawback with polyester too. This fabric is considered uncomfortable and leads to itching, as complained about by people. Polyester may also have less endurance than cotton and other natural fiber. 

The polyester fibers in the fabric are smaller than their natural fiber counterparts and can be undone easily. This makes the fabric less comfortable and people tend to choose blended material for custom t shirts Edmonton

If we talk about the blend, it offers many advantages over the sole polyester fabric due to its comfort and durability after being worn and washed. However, there can be issues with the uneven transfer or light transfer with a poly blend. 

Other Fabric Like Nylon, Lycra, Etc.

Many people tend to choose blended materials that contain nylon, lycra, spandex, and other materials. It is your responsibility to judge whether the fabric can be sublimated or not – if it is man-made. But that rule doesn’t apply to this type of fabric material.

What to look for with such a special blend is the assurance that they are not burning the materials. Polyester along with nylon, lycra, and spandex are able to be burnt. They may have a lower burning temperature than the natural fiber. 

When the fabric material gets burned, the shape of the fabric gets changed and the distorted images get transferred to it. The airflow through the fabric will get reduced and the fabric becomes uncomfortable to wear.

You need to keep a check with your supplier or manufacturer before using these materials. Also, make sure that you test your print setting, temperature, and pressure. Ensure that the settings are not burning the material. Get a rough idea from the suppliers about the ideal sublimation temperature.


Dye-sublimation is a profitable industry, but it comes with a tough learning curve. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get it. There are simple rules to get the success that are not too hard to follow.

Remember, the designs can be transferred with sublimation if it is man-made. The other thing to ensure is that the blends should not be too wacky. The polyester fabric has flaws due to the long-term quality and comfort but still has the most quality transfers. 

Whereas, cotton is very comfortable, but doesn’t hold any transfers. A 40% polyester blend can be a good option to go and will deliver the best quality and comfort. You can use other fabrics too, but make sure to test them first.

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