Sublimation printing uses heat and pressure to transfer dye onto material.
The design is first printed onto special paper. Then, the garment is laid flat between 2 sheets and put under a mechanical heat press. This process causes the ink to be absorbed into the material, creating a long-lasting design that won’t easily fade or crack.
100% polyester shirts work best for sublimation printing. T-shirts always start out white, with the printable area covering the entire body of the flat T-shirt.
Pros & Cons
The key benefit of sublimation printing is that there are very few creative limitations. You can have any design or colour you want without the need for expensive bulk orders or unstitching.
The primary drawback is that white streaks or creases can still be visible after printing - particularly in the seams and under the arms. The best way to minimise this effect is to avoid dark background colours in your design.
Learn more on the Prodigi blog: Understanding how sublimation printing works.