Mastering Sublimation Printing on Poly Blends: A Comprehensive Guide

Sublimation printing has revolutionized the world of textile customization, allowing for vibrant, full-color images to be transferred onto various materials with precision and durability. While traditionally reserved for pure polyester fabrics, advancements in technology and technique have broadened the scope to include poly blends, opening up a new realm of possibilities for designers and manufacturers alike. This comprehensive guide dives into the intricacies of sublimation printing on poly blends, offering insights and tips to help you master this dynamic printing method.

Understanding Sublimation Printing

Understanding Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing is a technique that involves transferring a design from a special sublimation paper onto a material using heat and pressure. The process turns the solid ink into a gas without passing through a liquid phase (sublimation), which then bonds with the fabric fibers. This results in high-quality, long-lasting prints that are resistant to fading and washing out.

The Challenge with Poly Blends

The challenge in sublimation printing on poly blends stems from the fabric composition. Pure polyester fabrics are ideal for sublimation because the dye bonds directly with polyester fibers. However, poly blends, which combine polyester with natural fibers like cotton, present a dilemma as the dye cannot bond with natural fibers. This can result in muted or faded prints compared to those on 100% polyester.

Preparing for Sublimation on Poly Blends

  1. Choose the Right Blend: The higher the polyester content, the brighter and more vibrant the print. A blend of at least 65% polyester is recommended for acceptable results, though 100% polyester is ideal.
  2. Select Suitable Inks and Paper: Use high-quality sublimation inks and paper to ensure the best transfer and vibrancy of colors.
  3. Adjust Expectations: Understand that the final result may have a vintage or faded look due to the cotton content in the blend. This can be desirable for certain designs or fashion trends.

The Printing Process

  1. Design Creation: Start with a high-resolution design to ensure clarity and detail in your print.
  2. Pre-Press: Pre-treat the fabric if necessary to enhance the ink's bonding with the material. Ensure the fabric is clean and free of wrinkles.
  3. Sublimation: Using a heat press, transfer the design onto the fabric at the appropriate temperature and pressure settings. Poly blends generally require a lower temperature and shorter pressing time compared to 100% polyester to prevent scorching or damaging the cotton component.
  4. Post-Press: Allow the fabric to cool and remove the paper. Some fabrics may benefit from a post-press treatment to set the print further.

Tips for Success

  • Test Before Full Production: Always run a test print to adjust color saturation and pressing settings before proceeding with your full production run.
  • Manage Expectations: Educate clients or end-users about the nature of sublimation on poly blends, particularly regarding the potential for a softer, more vintage look.
  • Experiment with Different Blends: Different blends can produce varying effects, so experiment to find the perfect balance for your project.


Sublimation printing on poly blends offers a unique avenue for creating custom textiles, combining the durability and vibrancy of sublimation with the comfort and appeal of natural fibers. While there are challenges to overcome, with the right preparation and understanding, it's possible to achieve beautiful, lasting results. As the technology and materials continue to evolve, so too will the opportunities for innovation in the realm of sublimation printing. Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the field, mastering sublimation on poly blends can add a valuable skill to your textile design and production repertoire.

At VS Tees, exploring sublimation printing on poly blends opens up innovative pathways for crafting bespoke textiles, merging the resilience and vividness of sublimation techniques with the natural appeal and comfort of mixed fibers. Navigating the complexities of this process demands proper preparation and knowledge, yet it paves the way for stunning and enduring creations. As advancements in technology and materials press forward, the horizon for creativity in sublimation printing continues to expand. For both experienced artisans and newcomers alike, perfecting the art of sublimation on poly blends enriches your textile crafting and design capabilities, marking a significant enhancement to your professional toolkit.