Why is My Sublimation Faded, Dull or Not Bright? (10 Reasons)

Last Updated on August 23, 2023

Hello and welcome! My name is Tersia Jager, and I’m the blogger behind The Sewing Stuffs. The number one question I hear from people when it comes to sublimation is how to make their colors pop, achieve more vibrant projects, and make the colors truly shine on any chosen blank. And the reasons for faded sublimation prints.

Why is My Sublimation Faded
Image Source: Angie Holden

So, Why is my sublimation faded, Dull, or Not Bright?

Uncover reasons for faded sublimation prints: Dull prints can result from various factors, such as low image resolution, incorrect printer settings, or using non-white sublimation blanks.

Here, we’ll delve into 10 reasons why your sublimation projects might not be as vibrant as you’d like them to be. From image resolution to printer settings, we’ll cover it all.

In Addition – A Cap Sublimation session may be helpful to you.

10 Reasons Your Sublimation is Dull & How do I make my sublimation brighter?

So, let’s dive in and explore how to achieve those eye-catching, vibrant sublimation results you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Image Resolution Matters

The resolution of your image plays a crucial role in the vibrancy of your sublimation project. Low-resolution images or images backed up to the cloud at lower resolutions can result in dull prints. Always aim for a high-resolution image, around 300 DPI, to ensure optimal results. Beware of using old or low-resolution photographs, as they can affect the overall vibrancy of your final product.

Solution: Use high-resolution images, especially when printing older photographs, and avoid using low-resolution images from the internet.

2. Enhance Image Contrast

Enhance Image Contrast
Image Source: Angie Holden

Images with low contrast can lead to dull sublimation prints. Boosting contrast using photo editing software can help improve the final look of your sublimated project. Play around with brightness, contrast, and other settings to make your colors pop.

Solution: Use photo editing software to adjust image contrast before printing.

3. Expecting Vibrancy Directly from the Printer

Expecting Vibrancy Directly from the Printer
Image Source: Angie Holden

Sublimation prints directly from the printer may appear dull. Remember, the true vibrancy will come to life after pressing onto polyester fabric.

Solution: Always press your sublimated image onto 100% polyester fabric to see the true colors and vibrancy.

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4. Taming the Moisture Monster

Moisture and humidity are enemies of sublimation. They can cause faded spots and affect the overall appearance of your print.

Solution: Control humidity in your workspace and consider pre-pressing your sublimation blanks to remove moisture before sublimating.

5. Printer Settings

Printer Settings
Image Source: Angie Holden

Epson EcoTank and Sawgrass Printers: Printer settings play a significant role in achieving vibrant colors. Adjust settings like paper type, quality, and color management to optimize results based on your specific printer model.

Solution: Experiment with printer settings, including paper type, quality, and color management options, to find the best settings for your printer.

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6. Perfecting the Time, Temperature, and Pressure

Proper time, temperature, and pressure during the pressing process are essential for vibrant sublimation results. Experiment to find the ideal combination for your chosen blank.

Solution: Follow the recommended time, temperature, and pressure guidelines for your blank, and consider experimenting to find the perfect balance.

7. Utilize Color Correction

Why is My Sublimation Faded - Utilize Color Correction
Image Source: Angie Holden

Using color correction techniques, whether manually adjusting settings or applying ICC profiles, can significantly impact color accuracy and vibrancy.

Solution: Explore color correction options to fine-tune your sublimation colors and achieve the desired vibrancy.

8. Opt for White Sublimation Blanks

Choosing white sublimation blanks is essential for achieving vibrant colors. Translucent sublimation ink can be affected by the color of the blank, leading to less vibrant results on non-white surfaces.

Solution: Select white sublimation blanks whenever possible to ensure optimal color vibrancy.

9. Sublimation Ink Brand Matters

Hiipoo Sublimation Ink Set

Hiipoo Sublimation Ink Set
  • Works with numerous EcoTank printer models
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The brand of sublimation ink you use can influence the vibrancy of your prints. Stick with reputable and recommended brands to achieve consistent and vibrant results.

Solution: Choose high-quality sublimation ink brands that come highly recommended by other sublimation enthusiasts.

10. Avoid 50/50 Polyester-Cotton Blends

Sublimating onto 50% polyester and 50% cotton blends will result in less vibrant colors, as only 50% of the ink will sublimate onto the fabric.

Solution: Opt for 100% polyester blanks to achieve the most vibrant and true-to-color sublimation results.

Why is my sublimation not clear?

Your sublimation might need to be clarified due to the quality of your sublimation paper and products. If the sublimation dyes spread outward, your image can appear blurry on both the paper and the final product. The quality of sublimation coatings on products also plays a significant role in maintaining clarity.

Why does my sublimation look burnt?

Your sublimation might look burnt because the heat press temperature is too high. Check if you’re using the correct temperature and ensure the heat press indicator displays the accurate temperature.

Why is my sublimation cloudy?

Your sublimation might look cloudy due to a phenomenon called “Ghosting & Gassing Out.” This happens when the transfer paper isn’t securely pressed against the blank product during sublimation, causing a less clear and vibrant print. Make sure the paper is tightly in place to prevent this issue.

Does sublimation fade in sunlight?

Yes, sublimation products can fade over time when exposed to sunlight.

What temperature should sublimation be?

The recommended sublimation temperature is 400°F. Use moderate to heavy pressure, and adjust the time and temperature based on your heat press and blank material thickness.

Why does my sublimation have a shadow?

Your sublimation might have a shadow, also known as “ghosting,” because the transfer paper shifted during the process or residual ink got on the heat press surfaces. This can cause a faint image or duplicate effect on your sublimated item.

FAQs – People also ask

How can I enhance the vibrancy of my sublimation projects?

To enhance vibrancy, use high-resolution images, adjust contrast, choose white sublimation blanks, and experiment with printer settings and pressing conditions.

Why do my sublimation prints look different from what I see on my printer?

Sublimation prints may appear dull directly from the printer. The true vibrancy is revealed after pressing onto 100% polyester fabric.

Can humidity affect sublimation results?

Yes, moisture and humidity can cause faded spots or uneven colors. Control humidity in your workspace and consider pre-pressing to remove moisture.

How do printer settings impact color vibrancy?

Printer settings like paper type, quality, and color management affect color vibrancy. Experiment with settings to find the best combination.

Should I use color correction for my sublimation prints?

Yes, whether manual adjustments or ICC profiles, color correction can significantly improve color accuracy and vibrancy.

Can I sublimate onto 50/50 polyester-cotton blends?

Sublimating onto 50/50 blends results in less vibrant colors, as only 50% of the ink bonds with the fabric. Opt for 100% polyester blanks for best results.

Does the brand of sublimation ink matter?

Using a reputable and recommended sublimation ink brand can impact color vibrancy and consistency.

How do I choose the right sublimation blank for vibrant colors?

Choose white sublimation blanks to ensure that the colors pop and stand out. Non-white blanks can affect the vibrancy of sublimation prints.

Video: 10 Reasons Your Sublimation is Dull


Achieving vibrant, eye-catching sublimation results requires attention to detail, experimentation, and the right combination of factors.

Low image resolutionUse high-resolution images; avoid using low-res or old photographs
Insufficient image contrastAdjust contrast using photo editing software
Expecting vibrancy directly from the printerPress sublimated image onto 100% polyester fabric to see true colors
Moisture or humidityControl humidity in workspace; pre-press to remove moisture before sublimating
Incorrect printer settingsExperiment with printer settings (e.g., paper type, quality, color management)
Improper time, temperature, or pressureFollow recommended guidelines for time, temperature, and pressure; experiment for best results
Lack of color correctionUse manual adjustments or ICC profiles for color accuracy
Sublimating on non-white blanksOpt for white sublimation blanks to ensure vibrant colors
Using 50/50 polyester-cotton blendsChoose 100% polyester blanks for more vibrant results
Subpar sublimation inkUse high-quality, reputable sublimation ink brands for consistent and vibrant prints

Each element plays a role in the final outcome, from image resolution and printer settings to time, temperature, and pressure. Addressing these reasons and implementing the corresponding solutions can significantly enhance your sublimation projects’ vibrancy and overall quality.

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