What is ghosting when doing sublimation?

What is ghosting blog

With October being right around the corner I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about what "ghosting" is when it comes to sublimation. 

I have seen the phrase "ghosting" used for all sorts of aberations that can happen in the sublimation process. So what is it really?

Ghosting is when your transfer moves slightly while your substrate is hot and leaves a light "ghostly" print on your piece. It kind of looks like double vision. It is sometimes just a little part of the design and sometimes the whole thing. This often happens if something is not taped down well enough or when there is a lot of presure and when you release it when the timer is up, it moves your transfer. 

Here's an example:

Sublimation Ghosting Example Single Js blog

Sometimes "Fading" is called ghosting when a transfer doesn't fully sublimate onto a tumbler or other drinkware. It makes sense to call it ghosting because it leaves white where it is supposed to have printed but, it's called "fade". 

Is there anything you can do about either of these issues. Not a lot. Sometimes the ghosting is light and barely noticable and you can just "let it go". Who are we kidding. We are all perfectionists. It is hard to let it go but we need to give ourselves a break. If it is barely visible, it could still be sold as is. 

For fading, depending on the graphic, you can simply sell it as is and say it is a retro vintage look. Honestly, many customers won't even notice and will love it. 

If you have having these challenges, practice your technique on your "whoopsie" substrate and figure out what you need to do to minimize this from happening. Both ghosting and fade are a part of doing sublimation but practice makes it a lot easier to keep these to a minimum. 

Happy Subbing!