Can You Sublimate on Black Shirts? Full Guide

Last Updated on April 12, 2023

Sublimation printing has gained popularity among custom apparel enthusiasts for its ability to create high-quality, vivid prints that last longer than traditional screen-printing methods. However, a common question arises when it comes to this process: “Can you sublimate on black shirts?” Here, we’ll explore whether sublimation printing is possible on black or dark-colored shirts and how to achieve the best results.

Can You Sublimate on Black Shirts
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Can you sublimate on black shirts?

Yes, you can sublimate on black shirts, but it requires an additional step. Because sublimation ink is translucent, it doesn’t show up well on dark fabrics. To sublimate on black shirts, you’ll need to apply a white or light-colored substrate onto the garment as a base layer for the sublimation ink to show up vividly.

This can be achieved by using light transfer paper or a white sublimation polyester patch. By using these methods, you can create vibrant and long-lasting designs on dark-colored apparel through sublimation printing.

The Challenge with Sublimation on Black Shirts

Sublimation printing relies on heat and pressure, turning the solid ink from a printed design into gas, which then bonds with the polyester fibers in a garment. This results in a permanent, vibrant print that doesn’t crack or peel like other methods.

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However, sublimation ink is typically translucent, meaning it doesn’t show up well on dark fabrics. This is why sublimation printing has primarily been used on white or light-colored garments.

Solution: Using White or Light-Colored Substrates

To sublimate on black shirts, you’ll need to apply a white or light-colored substrate onto the garment. This substrate will serve as a base layer for the sublimation ink to show up vividly. There are two main methods to achieve this:

1. Using a Light Transfer Paper

Light transfer paper is a specialized paper designed for printing onto dark garments. It has a white or light-colored coating that serves as a base layer for the sublimation print. Here’s how to use light transfer paper:

  • Print your design onto the light transfer paper using sublimation ink.
  • Trim any excess unprinted areas of the transfer paper to avoid transferring the white background onto the shirt.
  • Preheat the black shirt with a heat press or iron to remove moisture and wrinkles.
  • Place the printed transfer paper face-down onto the shirt, aligning it correctly.
  • Apply heat and pressure using a heat press or iron according to the transfer paper manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Carefully peel away the transfer paper to reveal the design on the shirt.

2. Using a White Sublimation Polyester Patch

A white sublimation polyester patch is another method to create a light-colored base for your design on a black shirt. These patches are designed to bond with the shirt, allowing for a seamless sublimation print. Follow these steps:

  • Print your design onto sublimation paper with sublimation ink.
  • Preheat the black shirt with a heat press or iron to remove moisture and wrinkles.
  • Position the white polyester patch onto the shirt where you want the design.
  • Place the printed sublimation paper face-down on top of the polyester patch, aligning it correctly.
  • Apply heat and pressure using a heat press or iron according to the patch manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Carefully remove the sublimation paper to reveal the design on the shirt.
In Addition – Can You Sublimate on Polyamide?

Video: The best way to Sublimate on Black Shirts

Discover the Ultimate Technique: Sublimating on Black Shirts without Bleach! Join Crystal from DesignBundles as she reveals her top-secret method for stunning results on dark fabrics. Don’t miss out on this game-changing tutorial!

Conclusion

While sublimation printing on black shirts can be challenging, it’s not impossible. You can create vibrant and long-lasting designs on dark garments by using light transfer paper or a white sublimation polyester patch. With a bit of creativity and the right materials, you can expand the possibilities of sublimation printing to include black shirts and other dark-colored apparel.

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