Can You Sublimate on Cotton? How to Without Vinyl (HTV)?

Last Updated on July 31, 2023

Welcome to TheSewingStuffs, where we explore all things crafty, from sublimation to all kinds of sewing tutorials. Today, we are about to embark on an exciting journey that could revolutionize the crafting world. Get ready to learn how to sublimate on 100% cotton t-shirts without the need for heat transfer vinyl (HTV). This technique can change the game forever, so let’s dive in and get crafty!

Can You Sublimate on Cotton
Image Source: Mr. Crafty Pants, Canva

Can you sublimate on cotton?

You can sublimate on cotton using a specific process. The process involves using inkjet transparency film, a sublimation printer, and a heat press. The person in the text mentions that they have been perfecting the process, which is around 99% complete.

So, to answer your question, yes, you can sublimate on cotton using the described method below.

How to sublimate on cotton without Vinyl or HTV

Before we proceed, let’s give credit where credit is due. Adeline Austin discovered this innovative method over on TikTok. So, show her some crafty love by giving her a follow and a like. Adeline’s technique intrigued me, but I faced some challenges in replicating it exactly. However, after much trial and error, I’ve made significant progress and now share my experiences with you.

The Materials You’ll Need

  • Inkjet transparency film: The mentioned brand works best, so check the link provided.
  • Hot melt adhesive powder: The brand mentioned in the video has shown promising results.
  • Sublimation printer: Any Epson printer converted to sublimation should work, or check out Crystal Lane’s video on Design Bundles if you have a Sawgrass printer.
  • A high-quality design for your t-shirt: For this demonstration, we’re using a design from Crafty, a fantastic resource for crafters.

What products can you sublimate on cotton?

What products can you sublimate on cotton
Image Source: Mr. Crafty Pants
  • Create your design using canva.com or any other graphic design tool. Ensure that the design fits an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet, as we’ll be using transparency film of the same size.
  • Print your design on the inkjet transparency film, making sure you’re printing on the correct side. For Epson printers, the “Auto Select” media type worked best in my case.
  • Sprinkle the hot melt adhesive powder over the printed design. Use a paintbrush to remove any excess powder from the edges.
  • Preheat your heat press to around 385 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the transparency film with the powder side up on the lower platen of the heat press. Heat it for about 90 seconds to allow the powder to bond with the ink.
  • Preheat your 100% cotton t-shirt for about 10 seconds to remove any moisture and wrinkles.
  • Lay the transparency film onto the t-shirt with the design facing down. Make sure to flip the design horizontally to ensure it prints correctly.
  • Press the t-shirt with the transparency film for another 90 seconds at 385 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After the timer goes off, carefully remove the t-shirt from the heat press. Wearing heat-resistant gloves is crucial at this stage.
  • Peel off the transparency film gently, leaving you with an incredible sublimated design on your cotton t-shirt.

FAQs About Sublimation on Cotton

Is sublimation better on cotton or polyester?

Sublimation is generally considered better on polyester rather than cotton or cotton-blend materials. While some results may be impressive on cotton blends, the ideal choice for sublimation is 100% polyester.

Can you really sublimate on 100% cotton t-shirts without using heat transfer vinyl (HTV)?

Yes, it is possible to sublimate on 100% cotton t-shirts without the need for heat transfer vinyl. The blog post reveals a groundbreaking technique using inkjet transparency film and hot melt adhesive powder.

What materials are required to perform sublimation on cotton using this method?

To try this sublimation technique, you will need inkjet transparency film, hot melt adhesive powder, a sublimation printer (Epson, converted to sublimation), and creative designs to print on the t-shirt.

How does the sublimation process on cotton work with this method?

The process involves printing your design on the inkjet transparency film, sprinkling hot melt adhesive powder over the design, and then pressing the transparency film onto the cotton t-shirt using a heat press.

Can you use any heat press settings for this technique?

The blog post recommends preheating the heat press to around 385 degrees Fahrenheit. Sublimation involves pressing the t-shirt with the transparency film for about 90 seconds at this temperature.

Does the sublimated design hold up well after washing the t-shirt?

According to the blog post, the sublimated design withstands washing in hot water, using detergents and fabric softeners, and even tumble drying on high heat without fading or losing vibrancy.

Is this sublimation technique fully perfected, or are there improvements still being explored?

The author states that while the technique is about 99% perfected, they are still on a journey to perfect it entirely. More videos and experiments are planned to refine the process further.

Can I try this sublimation technique if I don’t have an Epson printer converted to sublimation?

While the blog post specifically mentions using an Epson printer converted to sublimation, you can experiment with other sublimation printers. You can check out Crystal Lane’s video on Design Bundles’ YouTube channel for alternative options.

Is it essential to use heat-resistant gloves when handling the t-shirt after pressing?

Yes, wearing heat-resistant gloves while handling the t-shirt immediately after pressing is crucial. The transparency film and t-shirt can be extremely hot, and the gloves will protect your hands.

Video: NEW way to SUBLIMATE on 100% Cotton BLACK Shirt!

Final Thoughts

This technique has truly amazed me with its longevity and quality. Washing the sublimated cotton t-shirts in hot water, using detergents and fabric softeners, and even tumble drying on high heat didn’t cause the design to fade or lose its vibrancy.

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