How does sublimation work?

Sublimation is the scientific method of using specialized ink and paper, heat and specific manmade materials (substrate) to transfer the ink permanently and at a molecular level to the material. 

What color substrates can I sublimate on?

White is the best as it will not change the colors from your transfer. If you press blue onto a yellow substrate, your blue will have a green tint to it. 

Why does sublimation smell?

Sublimation is a chemical reaction at the molecular level with the sublimation substrate. This chemical reaction releases fumes as the heat activates this reaction.

Some subpar inks or substrates can release a very strong smell that can cause a headache or other reaction. Be sure to research what you use for sublimation before investing to ensure the safest way to create your products

If the smell bothers you, keep a fan nearby for when you are sublimating or open a window. Do not sublimate in cold temperatures as it can affect how well your sublimation process works. 

Are all sublimation substrates created equally?

There are different qualities available out there. Oftentimes, you get what you pay for. If the price is way lower than the average price you see, it could be that the quality is less as well.

Single J’s works hard to offer their customers the highest quality tumblers, shirts, and more so that your finished products are quality you can be proud to sell.

How do I know what time and temperature to use for my sublimation substrates?

At Single J’s, we have a graphic with a basic time/temp guide. These are just a starting place for pressing your substrates. There are many factors involved in finding your perfect time and temp. 

  • Your heat press
  • Quality of your substrate (Single J’s only sells high quality products)
  • Temperature and humidity in your workroom
  • Your location (Michigan vs Arizona for example)

There is some trial and error when finding your specific time and temp. You will want to allow for a “sample” piece to try out while you experiment with the best time/temp combination.



When I pressed my transfer, the colors are not accurate. What do I do?

There are a few factors involved in getting the best color when you press. Sometimes the actual graphic is sub-par so the colors do not press properly. 

Another common reason is pressing too long or for too short of time. You can use the graphic below as a guide. 



Can I sublimate on a shirt that is not 100% polyester?

Sublimation works best on polyester and materials created specifically for sublimation. The less polyester content in a shirt, the lighter your transfer will be on the item. 


I want to print on a colored sublimation tee or a piece that already has color on it. Is it possible?

Your transfer will be added on top of the color you are pressing on, taking on the substrates color as the base. Ex: Yellow shirt with a blue transfer will take on a green tint. Check out the graph below for examples of what to expect when printing on existing colors.