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Sublimation on cotton

Discussion in 'Sublimation Printing' started by reklamdizains, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. reklamdizains

    reklamdizains New Member

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    Hi,
    I' ve bought epson s22+ sublimation ciss system.
    I have heard, that sublimation is possible only on polyester, but is there possibility to sublimate on 100% cotton t-shirts?
    Are there any transfer papers?
    Sublimation paper-->heat transfer paper--> heat transfer sublimated paper on t-shirt?
    Can you suggest something?
     
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  2. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    There are transfer papers, but the reaction that sublimation ink needs to work properly can only happen with synthetic fibers, not natural. So cotton is a no go.

    In all honesty, to me the new poly shirts are really comfortable compared to cotton and sublimation is about the only decorating process that you don't have to worry about the wash unless you use bleach or Tide (been known to be harsh on decorated shirts). Unfortunately, the cost of poly shirts is more then cotton in most instances.
     
  3. reklamdizains

    reklamdizains New Member

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    Thank you for your reply :)
    And what about cotton t-shirts with, about 20% synthetic fibers like elastan? are they suitable for sublimation?

     
  4. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Not really. You'll get some image to bond, but not much. It will look really washed out. It really it needs to be 100% synthetic to get the best results.
     
  5. Carl Crabtree

    Carl Crabtree Member

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    We've had good results on 50/50
     
  6. reklamdizains

    reklamdizains New Member

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    Thank you :)

     
  7. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I've never had good results on 50/50, certainly not after the first washing as what little did bond with cotton fibers never lasted beyond that first washing.
     
  8. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    50/50 will look great when pressed. Once washed, 50% of it will go down the drain because it's not bonded.
     
  9. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    Opinions will vary widely on this....I think they look like "crap" on 50/50 shirts.....
     
  10. reklamdizains

    reklamdizains New Member

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    And what about ink activators?
    Man question is about- how to get photography on t-shirt..


     
  11. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Sublimation will work for getting pictures on the shirt.

    Now with sublimation the one thing that you have to realize is that because it's a dye process, depending on the light color of your shirt, there is a potential for blending of the colors of your picture with the color of the shirt. Not so much an issue with a pure white shirt, but if you start using other light colors, you could have that issue.

    So color management is a concern with other light colors and the color(s) of your image.
     
  12. reklamdizains

    reklamdizains New Member

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    But with jpeg pictures on cotton t-shirts? Impossible, huh..


     
  13. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Not with sublimation. If you used DTG or regular heat transfer that should get it on cotton and/or blend shirts.
     
  14. reklamdizains

    reklamdizains New Member

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    What I need, if i have regular t-shirt press to do it?

     
  15. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    A heat press will work for both processes as long as that heat press can get up to 400F for sublimation. Regular transfers won't need to get that hot, but for sublimation it will have to.
     
  16. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    I believe Hanes makes a white cotton shirt that is coated for sublimation printing/transfers.
     
  17. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    First I'm hearing of that. I will have to look into it.

    The only concern that I would right off the bat would be the coating and how consistent that it is, because that's going to be the deciding factor on how good the print comes out.

    We all know that all shirts don't turn out exactly the same from the same company even in the same lot. I would be concerned just how much the variance is in that regard toward the coating of the shirt.

    Fabric is a fickle beast.
     
  18. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    I think that's the Haynes Softlink. They are discontinuing that, I believe. It was a cotton on the inside and poly on the outside, so it was soft, but gave the poly on the outside for dye sub, so it wasn't a coating, it was actually spun into the fabric.

    I think Dye Sub is the wrong method for what you want to do. You can do it, on Vapor apparel, but they are expensive when it comes to comparing them to real shirts. In the end, you'll spend a lot of time and make no money.
     
  19. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    As far as I know, Vapor Apparel are real shirts.

    They are also one of the cheaper ones that you can get that are 100% poly based, and the quality is quite good.

    I hate regular heat transfers, I would say that dye sub would be the better method unless you go DTG, but even that has it's draw backs.

    As to how much you make off them. Debatable. I can get good profit margins off them as long as the customer is educated about the product. However, that is the key thing.
     
  20. Dakotagrafx

    Dakotagrafx Member

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    There is a transfer paper to use sublimation on cotton I checked out at the nbm show this year, it is expensive and does leave a coating on the shirt that the ink actually adheres too. it would be far cheaper to just use a proper technique like jpss with pigment ink or DTS. but if you are determined to use the sublimation ink here is the info: http://www.digitalheatfx.com/
     
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