Sublimation printing is a cutting-edge print technique that improves on traditional screen printing of designs onto cloth surfaces. I’ve written several pieces about dye sublimation, with a focus on custom fabric banners, and most of them are based on frequently asked questions. Basically, this is our guide for those interested in learning more about dye sublimation printing and fabric banners.
Sublimation printing (sometimes known as all-over printing) is a printing technique that transfers ink from one sheet to another (in our case, fabric). Unlike other printing technologies, which are limited to a specific field, dye-sublimation printing may transfer a design throughout the entire garment.
The following are the three most frequent types of fabrics:
When it comes to sublimation, cotton is the most popular and best option, and many cotton shirts are printed this way. Cotton gear that has been sublimated is soft, breathable, and quite pleasant for those who choose to wear it.
This is a different type of fabric that is commonly used for dye sublimation. The polymers in this type of fabric may easily open up when subjected to heat, which is why it is so popular. Because dye is in a gaseous state, it can enter the fabric through open pores and become trapped once the fabric has cooled following the printing process. One of the most essential characteristics that distinguishes polyester as the best fabric for dye-sublimation is that it is virtually wrinkle-free even when worn for extended periods of time.
Acrylic, olefin, nylon, spandex, acetate, Kevlar, rayon, orlon, and lastex are examples of synthetic fibers. Because of their strength and durability, nylon, rayon, spandex, and acrylic have become some of the most popular textiles for dye-sublimation printers. These, however, do not provide the same level of comfort as textiles like cotton. Many of these are naturally blended with cotton to improve the wearer’s comfort.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUBLIMATING ON NYLON
While nylon can be sublimated at low temperatures, there are many different varieties of nylon and how they react to colors varies.
Some nylon fabrics are pre-treated with dye-absorption chemicals, and the most frequent ones used in textiles are nylon 6 and nylon 7. The latter, nylon 66, is more difficult to color but has a greater melting point of 265 degrees Celsius. The melting point of Nylon 6 is 215 degrees Celsius.
On the internet, there are a lot of mixed reactions. Some printers believe that nylon will produce a lighter vintage print than polyester, while others claim that it can be even more brilliant. Some people claim that dye retention is excellent after washing, while others claim that dye transfer will occur. However, the dye has a tendency to oxidize in the sun, causing it to fade with time.
So, why nylon rather than polyester? It all boils down to the purpose of the fabric. Polyester offers higher moisture wicking and pilling resistance in terms of performance (nylon absorbs more water, stays wet longer, and will impede breathability). Nylon is a wonderful silk substitute since it lasts longer (when dry) and is softer, smoother, and stretchier; it’s ideal for hosiery and knitted clothing.
If you’re still convinced that nylon is the better choice for you, the trick is to test, test, and test. Each fabric blend must be evaluated to see if it is appropriate for printing and, if so, at what temperature and for how long. So, let us assist you with your next sublimation printing project on nylon! The summer season is approaching, and nylon sublimation is ideal for swimwear!
Nylon is non-absorbent, unlike the usual cotton and cotton/polyester materials that you presumably print every day. It’s utilized in gym bags, machine components, sports gear, backpacks, and a variety of other applications because of its resilience and versatility.
Depending on the fabric’s intended application, nylon can also be treated to make it water repellent. Designers are working with bags that have been coated for water repellency so that their contents stay dry in inclement weather in some cases. It’s critical to be aware of this ahead of time.
When working with water-repellent materials, you must use ink designed for printing on nylon. (Note: You can securely print straight onto the cloth when printing on apparel such as football or hockey jerseys that include nylon but are not treated for water repellency.) A nylon catalyst must be added to enable good bonding between the ink film and the substrate surface because the bag being printed has been treated for water repellency. Failure to do so can lead to poor ink adhesion to the substrate, as well as abrasion resistance and durability.
Between the ink and the substrate, the nylon catalyst acts as a glue. Some printers recommend wiping the print area with rubbing alcohol to remove the water-repellent coating from the fabric’s surface.
IT IS DEPENDENT ON NYLON..!
You’ll have to test it first; you may need to press it for longer at a lower temperature. I dyed raincoat/windbreaker nylon, poly/nylon/lycra, and nylon for bags and other items. Some kinds will melt, while others will print perfectly.
When you test it, make sure both the upper and lower plates of your heat press are protected, and start with a lower temperature (I’d recommend 165–170 C for 80–90 seconds).
HEAT TRANSFER NYLON
Here is where we collaborated with Stahls to learn everything there is to know about heat transfer on nylon. Continue reading to discover how simple it is!
When it comes to heat transfer on nylon, the most common problem is searing and destroying the fabric’s quality. And the magic number you’ll need to remember the most is 320 degrees. You’ll want to keep your temperature below that for most nylon items. However, as John explains in the video below, the BELLA+CANVAS bomber jacket is of such high quality that it performs admirably when combined with unique products. As a result, please conduct your own testing to find the optimal temperature for your machine and application.