Can You Sublimate on Rayon? – (Yes! Here’s How!)

Last Updated on August 23, 2023

Can You Sublimate on Rayon: Sublimation printing has taken the world of custom apparel and design by storm, offering a vibrant and long-lasting way to transfer designs onto various materials. However, not all are created equal when it comes to sublimating on different fabrics.

Can You Sublimate on Rayon
Image Source: TroyTube

One material that presents a unique challenge is rayon. Known for its softness and drape, rayon’s heat sensitivity and composition can make sublimating on it a bit more complex.

Is rayon sensitive to heat?

Yes, rayon is sensitive to heat. Ironing rayon is not recommended due to its susceptibility to burning and scorching, which can permanently damage the fabric. If ironing is necessary, use a low-to-medium heat setting on the inside or opposite side of the garment to minimize the risk of damage.

How does rayon react to heat?

Rayon reacts to heat by resisting it, which sets it apart from acetate, which is prone to melting. Unlike acetate garments, rayon doesn’t disintegrate when exposed to heat in a tumble dryer. This distinction between the two fabrics is reflected in garment labels.

Can you sublimate on rayon?

Yes, you can sublimate on rayon. Print your design on sublimation paper with special ink to sublimate on rayon, then put the paper on the rayon fabric. Apply heat using a heat press. The ink becomes gas, bonding with the fabric fibers for a lasting design. Adjust temperature and time carefully because rayon is sensitive to heat.

Here, we’ll explore the question, “Can you sublimate on rayon?” and delve into the intricacies of achieving successful sublimation results on this particular fabric.

Can you sublimate on rayon
Image Source: TroyTube

Here are the simple steps:

  • Design Preparation: Create or select the design you want to sublimate using sublimation ink and paper.
  • Preheat the Heat Press: Set your heat press to the recommended temperature for sublimation (typically around 385-400°F or 196-204°C).
  • Prepare the Rayon Fabric: Ensure the rayon fabric is clean and free from any wrinkles or debris.
  • Position the Design: Place the sublimation paper with the design facing down onto the rayon fabric, ensuring it’s positioned where you want the design to appear.
  • Apply Heat and Pressure: Close the heat press, applying even pressure. The heat will cause the sublimation ink to turn into a gas and bond with the fibers of the rayon fabric.
  • Press Time: The pressing time can vary, typically around 30-60 seconds. Follow the recommended time for your specific sublimation paper and ink.
  • Cooling and Peeling: Once the pressing time is complete, open the heat press and carefully peel off the sublimation paper while it’s still warm. Be cautious not to smudge the design.
  • Allow Cooling: Let the fabric cool completely. This helps ensure the design sets properly on the fabric.
  • Finished Product: Once the fabric is fully cooled, your sublimated design should be permanently transferred onto the rayon fabric.

Remember to follow the specific guidelines provided by your sublimation ink and paper manufacturer, as different products may have slightly different temperature and time requirements. Always test a scrap piece of rayon fabric before working on your final product to ensure you achieve the desired results.

Why sublimation on rayon is Difficult?

Sublimation on rayon can be more challenging than other fabrics due to the nature of rayon and the sublimation process. Here’s why sublimating on rayon can be difficult:

  • Heat Sensitivity: Rayon is a heat-sensitive material. It can be prone to scorching or discoloration when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods. Sublimation requires high temperatures, making finding the right balance challenging to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • Fiber Composition: Rayon is a synthetic fiber made from regenerated cellulose. Its composition can affect how well it accepts and holds the sublimation ink. It may not have the same level of dye-receptive coating as other synthetic fabrics designed specifically for sublimation.
  • Ink Absorption: Rayon fibers might not absorb sublimation ink as readily as other materials like polyester. This can result in less vibrant colors or incomplete image transfer, impacting the final appearance of the design.
  • Color Fading: Rayon tends to fade when exposed to sunlight or harsh washing conditions. Sublimation relies on the ink bonding with the fibers, and if the fibers are less stable, the design might degrade faster over time.
  • Shrinkage and Distortion: Rayon is susceptible to shrinking when exposed to heat, which could make the design distorted or misaligned after sublimation.
  • Limited Range of Suitable Fabrics: Not all rayon fabrics are suitable for sublimation. Some may contain additives or treatments that can interfere with the sublimation process or cause unwanted reactions with the sublimation ink.
  • Testing Required: Achieving consistent and high-quality results on rayon requires thorough testing of various factors like temperature, pressure, and pressing time. This trial-and-error process can be time-consuming and may result in wasted materials.

Tips for successful sublimation on rayon

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Here are some tips for successful sublimation on rayon:

  • Temperature and Time: Rayon is heat-sensitive, so start with a lower temperature (around 375-385°F or 190-196°C) and shorter press time. Test on a scrap piece first and adjust as needed to avoid scorching.
  • Pressure: Use light to medium pressure on the heat press to prevent flattening the texture of the rayon fabric.
  • Pre-Press: Pre-press the rayon fabric briefly before applying the design. This helps eliminate moisture and wrinkles, ensuring better ink absorption.
  • Use High-Quality Ink and Paper: Opt for reputable sublimation ink and paper brands for accurate color transfer and durability.
  • Design and Colors: Designs with vibrant and contrasting colors work well on rayon. Lighter colors of fabric are more forgiving when it comes to color transfer.
  • Fabric Compatibility: Choose rayon fabrics specifically designed for sublimation to ensure better results.
  • Cooling Time: Allow the fabric to cool completely after pressing. This helps the ink set properly and prevents smudging.
  • Testing: Always test on a sample before sublimating the final product to fine-tune temperature, time, and pressure settings.
  • Protect the Heat Press: Consider using a Teflon or silicone sheet between the heat press platen and the fabric to prevent any direct contact that could cause marks.
  • Wash Instructions: Provide care instructions to customers, recommending gentle washing and avoiding excessive heat to prolong the life of the sublimated design.

Is 50% polyester 25% cotton and 25% rayon good for sublimation?

Yes, tri-blend shirts with a composition of 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon are suitable for sublimation, but there may be better options. While these shirts offer a soft feel and can be sublimated onto relatively easily, they might not yield the optimal results compared to shirts with a higher polyester content.

Can you sublimate on 25% rayon?

Yes, you can sublimate on 25% rayon, but there are considerations due to the rayon’s heat sensitivity. The fabric can melt and become sticky when exposed to high temperatures.

For successful sublimation, it’s recommended to use a polyester-coated substrate or a blend of at least 30% rayon and 70% polyester. This helps maintain the fabric’s integrity while achieving the desired sublimation results.

Can you sublimate on rayon polyester cotton blend?

Yes, you can sublimate on a rayon-polyester-cotton blend fabric. While you can’t heat press on 100% rayon due to its high-temperature sensitivity, using a fabric blend of polyester and rayon allows for successful sublimation without causing melting or stickiness.

Can you use heat press on rayon?

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Yes, you can use a heat press on rayon fabrics. However, it’s important to note that rayon, polyester, or viscose fabrics are heat-sensitive. To avoid scorching or burn marks on these materials, it’s recommended to use a transfer that applies at a lower heat temperature, ideally 280 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This helps ensure a successful heat transfer without damaging the fabric.

Video: Applying HTV to Heat Sensitive Materials Such as Rayon


Sublimating on rayon requires extra care and experimentation, but it can yield stunning results with the right approach and understanding. By adjusting factors like temperature, time, and pressure and selecting high-quality sublimation ink and paper, you can overcome the challenges presented by rayon’s heat sensitivity.

Remember, practice makes perfect, and testing scraps before tackling your final products can save you time and resources. As you master the art of sublimation on rayon, you’ll unlock a world of creative possibilities, delivering vibrant, personalized designs on this elegant fabric.

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