Can You Sublimate on Colored Shirts? – How to?

Last Updated on July 31, 2023

Can You Sublimate on Colored Shirts: If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to create vibrant, custom designs on colored fabrics using the sublimation technique, you’ve come to the right place. Sublimation printing has taken the world of custom apparel by storm, and for a good reason – it offers unparalleled versatility and high-quality results.

Can You Sublimate on Colored Shirts
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Can you sublimate on colored shirts? – How to do?

Yes, you can sublimate on colored shirts. The speaker mentioned using sublimation printing on 100% polyester shirts, which works well for colored shirts. Sublimation printing allows the ink to become part of the fabric, resulting in vibrant and durable designs on polyester garments.

Here, we’ll walk you through the steps to sublimate on colored shirts using a sublimation printer and heat press.

Discover insightful articles on sublimation techniques for hats, dark-colored fabrics, cotton materials, black t-shirts, and more!

Materials Needed

  • Sublimation printer with sublimation ink (e.g., Epson Ecotank ET15000 with sublimation ink)
  • Sublimation paper (e.g., A-SUB 125g 13×19 inch)
  • Colored polyester T-shirt (100% polyester)
  • Heat press (e.g., 16×20 inch digital heat press)
  • Butcher paper or protective paper
  • Scissors
  • Lint roller
  • Sublimation designs (PNG files)

Step 1: Prepare Your Sublimation Designs

Prepare Your Sublimation Designs
Image Source: The Wesleys

Download or create your sublimation designs in PNG format. Ensure that the designs are sized correctly for your T-shirt. Remember that sublimation works best on 100% polyester materials. Once you have your designs ready, open them on your computer.

Step 2: Load and Print the Sublimation Paper

Load the 13×19-inch sublimation paper into the rear tray or rear feed of your sublimation printer. Make sure the paper fits properly, and the blue paper guide is open. Go to “File” and select “Print.”

Choose the correct printer setting for your sublimation printer (e.g., Epson ET15000 series) and select the “Super B (A3)” paper size (13×19 inch). Make sure to set the print quality to “Best” and select “Flip Horizontally” to avoid mirrored designs.

Step 3: Cut and Prepare Your Designs

Cut and Prepare Your Designs
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Use scissors to cut around the sublimation designs, leaving some space around the edges. This will prevent any lines or specks from appearing on the final print. Cut one piece of butcher paper to fit inside the T-shirt, between the front and back. This will prevent the ink from bleeding through the fabric.

Step 4: Preheat the Heat Press

Preheat your heat press to 380 degrees Fahrenheit (193 degrees Celsius) for 50 seconds. Make sure the press is set to the correct temperature and time.

Step 5: Prepare the T-Shirt

Prepare the T-Shirt
Image Source: The Wesleys

Lint roll the colored polyester T-shirt to remove any lint or debris. Place a piece of butcher paper inside the T-shirt, between the front and back, to protect the fabric during the sublimation process. Lay the T-shirt flat on the heat press with the design area facing up.

Step 6: Position and Tape the Design

Position and Tape the Design
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Position your sublimation design on the T-shirt where you want it to be printed. You can use heat-resistant tape to secure the design in place, preventing any accidental movement during the pressing.

Step 7: Press the T-Shirt

Once your heat press has reached the correct temperature, place the T-shirt with the design and butcher paper inside on the bottom platen. Cover the T-shirt with another piece of butcher paper to protect the heat press and the top of the T-shirt. Close the heat press and press for 50 seconds.

Step 8: Remove the Design and Butcher Paper

Remove the Design and Butcher Paper
Image Source: The Wesleys

After the pressing time is up, open the heat press and carefully remove the butcher paper and the sublimation design. Be cautious, as the T-shirt will be hot.

Step 9: Admire Your Sublimated Colored T-Shirt

Can You Sublimate on Colored Shirts
Image Source: The Wesleys

You did it! You’ve successfully sublimated your design onto a colored polyester T-shirt. Allow the T-shirt to cool down before wearing or handling it.


Sublimating on colored shirts is a fun and creative way to create personalized and vibrant designs. With the right materials and equipment, you can easily achieve professional-looking results.

Remember to use 100% polyester shirts for the best results, and experiment with different designs and colors to unleash your creativity. Happy sublimating!

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