Sublimation printing, a remarkable technique that transforms dyes into a gaseous state to create intricate and long-lasting prints. However, as you gear up with your sublimation printer and vibrant dyes, an equally vital component comes into play: the choices for your artistic endeavors, the t-shirts themselves. What exactly constitutes as the best T-shirt for sublimation printing? Well, this comes down to your preferences and the results you hope to achieve.
Finding sublimation-friendly t-shirts can be exciting yet challenging. What fabrics lend themselves best to this printing method? Which brands offer shirts that serve as perfect canvases for your colorful designs? If these questions have ignited your curiosity, you’re in the right place.
This comprehensive article digs into the art and science of sublimation printing on t-shirts. More than just the ink and pictures, the type of T-shirt you choose affects how everything turns out. Whether you want to start a fashion business, you like doing this as a hobby, or you’re an artist who wants to put your ideas on clothes, it’s really important to know about shirts that work well with Sublimation.
BestGildan DryBlend T-Shirt
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Unisex PickCALCA Mug Tumblers Press
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Multi-size packF2C Heat Press Combo 5 in 1
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What Materials Can You Sublimate On?
You have various options for using sublimation print transfers. These transfers work well on Polyester and other types of polymers. You can also use them on certain ceramics, PVC, and items that have a polyester or polymer coating. From t-shirts to mugs to baseball caps, you can apply sublimation transfers to a wide range of items. The key is that the item needs to have the right kind of polymer to connect with the ink.
When it comes to fabrics, sublimation printing is most effective on 100% polyester. However, it can also produce good prints on fabric blends with a high percentage of Polyester. This means you can use shirts that feel softer or more breathable than 100% polyester.
But why doesn’t sublimation printing work on cotton or other fabrics? When you use a heat press to seal a polyester t-shirt and a sublimation transfer, the press combines heat and pressure to make the dye sublimate. This heat also opens up the small polymers inside polyester fibers, allowing the dye to enter.
After removing the shirt from the press, the ink cools and becomes solid but remains within those pores. This is the basis for the unique chemical bonding process.
This process bonds the dye to the fabric at a molecular level. This is why sublimation prints are more durable than any other printing method. However, sublimation dyes don’t bond like cotton or most other fabric fibers. If you try using a heat press to put a sublimation transfer on cotton, the dye will just sit on the surface. It might look good initially, but washing will cause the colors to fade and the image to crack.
On the flip side, some artists like using shirts made from a blend of cotton and Polyester. This gives enough Polyester for the dye to bond, creating a vintage or faded look as some dye washes away from the cotton fibers.
In certain situations, you can even print on objects that aren’t made of Polyester. For example, suppose you want to transfer onto a mug or metal coffee cup. In that case, you can make it work using a special blank mug with a polyester coating.
You can find specially prepared blanks for Sublimation from various online sellers and some craft stores.
Best T-shirts for Sublimation: Gildan DryBlend T-Shirt Multipack
- Classic fit for loose comfort
- Cotton-soft moisture wicking fabric for active lifestyles
- Stay-dry comfort and coolness
- Taped neck and shoulders for comfort and durability
- Tear away label for customizable comfort
- Available in various sizes, colors, and multi-pack options
- Classic fit for loose comfort
- Taped neck and shoulders for comfort and durability
- May require pre-laundering to prevent potential shrinkage
Constructed from a balanced blend of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, this shirt offers a soft, breathable feel, ensuring optimal comfort and dryness. Its composition makes it a perfect candidate for sublimation printing, allowing you to relish the cotton’s breathability without worrying about design fading.
Thanks to the fabric’s inherent qualities, these T-shirts combine durability with easy maintenance. The cotton-polyester mix ensures longevity, serving as a dependable canvas for your sublimation creations. To ensure the best results, it’s advised to launder the shirt before printing, preventing any potential shrinkage that might distort your design post-washing.
The Gildan DryBlend T-Shirt, Style G8000, Multipack, has several features that make it a great choice for your clothes collection. It’s made from a mix of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, which feels nice. The fit is classic and suits many people. The fabric can keep you dry and cool, even when you’re active. You can put different designs on it using methods like screen printing, heat transfer, and embroidery. There are different styles of Gildan T-shirts to choose from, and they all fit well. The neck and shoulders are made well for comfort and durability. You can even remove the label for extra comfort. It comes in various sizes, so you can find the one that fits you best.
Best women’s V-neck shirts for Sublimation: Cricut V-neck T-shirt
- Paper CraftsBLANK TSHIRT SMALL
- 1 Pack
- High-quality shirt designed for sublimation printing
- Compatible with Infusible Ink transfers for vibrant and durable designs
- Limited color options (only available in sharp white)
Introducing the Cricut V-Neck T-shirt – an exquisite T-shirt designed to transform your sublimation visions into reality. Crafted to perfection, this women’s V-neck shirt is the ultimate base for your sublimation projects destined to make a lasting impression.
Engineered to complement Infusible Ink transfers, this sharp white V-neck shirt embraces your designs seamlessly, ensuring vibrant and permanent heat press transfers that withstand time. Unlike traditional methods, where artwork is layered on top of the material, Infusible Ink transfers become an integral part of the fabric, resulting in flake-proof, peel-proof, and wash-proof creations.
This isn’t just a shirt; it’s a testament to innovation. With a recommended compatibility with Cricut EasyPress™, household irons, or any heat press, you can easily explore your creativity.
The Cricut V-neck T-shirt is a high-quality option that you can customize with your own sublimation printing. It’s made from a mix of materials that work well with Infusible Ink transfers, ensuring your designs look great and last a long time.
You can use different Cricut machines and tools with this shirt to create your designs, and it works well with heat presses too. The shirt comes with instructions to help you get the best results. It’s a versatile choice that suits different Cricut machines and gives you the freedom to be creative.
Best Round-neck Shirts for Sublimation: Next Level 6200 Poly/Cotton T-Shirt
- 35% combed ring-spun cotton
- 40 singles and 125g
- Fabric laundered with a set in collar and front cover stitch
- Light weight heather jersey with satin label
- Wide color variety with 19 options
- 35% combed ring-spun cotton
- Neckline fit can be snug in larger sizes
If you’re seeking a versatile option to offer your customers, the Next Level 6200 Unisex Poly/Cotton T-Shirt deserves your attention. Designed for both men and women, this t-shirt embodies a harmonious blend of 65% Polyester and 35% combed ringspun cotton jersey, catering to those who value comfort and style in equal measure.
With a fabric weight of just 3.5 oz, the Next Level 6200 boasts a lightweight feel that is perfect for everyday wear. The pre-laundered design minimizes the risk of shrinkage, ensuring a consistent fit wash after wash. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the shirt features a soft satin label and a front cover-stitched self-fabric set-in collar, enhancing its durability and structure.
The Next Level 6200 T-Shirt offers exceptional comfort and luxury with its 40 singles for extreme softness. The side-seamed construction adds to its form-flattering fit. Available in a range of 19 classic and vibrant colors, you have the flexibility to cater to diverse preferences.
While the 35% combed ringspun cotton content may make it slightly less suitable for sublimation printing, the high polyester composition guarantees that your designs will shine brightly. Opt for the white color option for optimal results, as it provides the best backdrop for your creativity to flourish.
Customer feedback has indicated that the neckline can be a tad snug, particularly in larger sizes. A slightly larger size would provide a more comfortable fit around the neck area to address this.
Best Polyester Sublimation T-Shirt: Sublivie Unisex
- Lightweight moisture wicking fabric that helps keep you cool and dry
- Crew neck ribbed collar. Double needle sleeves and bottom hem for durability
- Side seam construction for a better fit
- SubliVie was designed for the sublimation printing process
- Sizes up to 3X. Fit: Adult Unisex – Fits True to Size. EasyTear label
- Made from 100% Polyester for enduring prints
- Double-needle sleeves and bottom hem for durability
- No specific cons
When it comes to sublimation printing, accuracy and vibrancy are paramount. The Sublivie Men’s Unisex Sublimation T-Shirt takes the lead as the ideal canvas for transferring your designs with precision, resulting in vivid, bright, and enduring sublimation creations.
Made from 100% Polyester, these T-shirts are tailored to deliver exceptional image transfers that stand the test of time. The fabric’s moisture-wicking properties ensure that you stay cool and dry, even during warm summer days, making it a perfect choice for active lifestyles.
Designed for both comfort and durability, this T-shirt features a crew neck ribbed collar that offers comfort while enhancing the shirt’s longevity. The side seam construction contributes to a better fit, ensuring you look and feel great while showcasing your designs.
Despite being synthetic, the polyester fabric retains a remarkably soft texture against the skin. This unique blend of softness and moisture-wicking ability makes the Sublivie T-Shirt a go-to option for those seeking a comfortable and airy feel throughout the day.
One of the standout features of this T-shirt is its suitability for sublimation printing. After printing, the 100% polyester fabric forms a permanent bond with the ink, resulting in long-lasting and vibrant designs. The sublimation-printed imagery remains intact after multiple washes, maintaining its original allure.
Best Multi-size T-shirt pack for Sublimation: ORJ Best Multi-Size 5 Pack
- Package includes ：Sublimation Blank T-shirt 5 pieces, color: white; Size: 1 piece each S to 2XL, US size, unisex
- Sublimation Blank T-shirt Design: quality fabric can be transferred and hot stamped, which is also a nice choice for sublimation; Blank T-shirts are more suitable for you to DIY various patterns according to your own hobbies
- Safe material: these blank white t-shirts are made of polyester, which are comfortable and breathable, light weight, good elasticity, very suitable for layering or wearing alone, our clothes can meet needs your, bring a comfortable wearing experience to your
- Pure white design: our polyester crew neck short sleeve t-shirts adopt classic color design, pure white clothes look very simple, and white tailoring is more inclined to clean lines, simple basic silhouettes can convey fresh and simple dressing ideas
- Fit for many occasions:your can wear our round neck white t-shirts to most occasions,as daily clothing，family gatherings,you can design your own clothes with patterns, words, or colors according to your own interesting, and give the clothes after heat transfer patterns to friends and family members, and they will feel your heart and love
- Multi-size pack
- Made of 100% polyester for sublimation printing
- Classic crew neck short-sleeved design
- Good value
- No specific cons
ORJ 5 Pack Polyester Adult T-Shirts is one of the best for Sublimation. Crafted from 100% polyester, these blank white t-shirts offer a canvas for your creativity to flourish. Designed for comfort and breathability, they provide a lightweight and elastic feel that’s perfect for layering or wearing on their own.
With a package containing 5 versatile pieces, ranging in size from S to 2XL, these unisex t-shirts cater to various preferences and body types. The quality fabric allows seamless transfer and hot stamping, making them an excellent choice for sublimation projects. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or simply looking to add a touch of uniqueness to your wardrobe, these blank t-shirts provide the ideal platform for your creative expression.
The pure white design of these crew neck short-sleeved t-shirts exudes simplicity and elegance. The classic color and clean lines offer a fresh and straightforward canvas to experiment with various patterns, designs, and colors. Whether you’re dressing up for a casual day out or a family gathering, these t-shirts effortlessly adapt to different occasions.
Best Materials for Sublimation Printing
The beauty of sublimation printing shines brightest on thoughtfully selected fabrics. While 100% Polyester stands out, there is much more for Sublimation in a diverse range of fabric blends.
Regarding sublimation printing, the best choice for shirts is 100% polyester. This kind of printing needs a specific chemical bond that only happens with the polymers found in polyester fibers.
Using 100% polyester shirts comes with many advantages. Firstly, Polyester costs much less than natural fabrics such as cotton or linen. Polyester is made from a substance found in petroleum and is transformed into soft threads that feel nice.
Over 60% of all clothes worldwide are made from Polyester because it’s cheaper to produce. This means you can find all sorts of polyester shirts. For example, many sports team uniforms and athletic clothing are made of 100% polyester fabric.
However, there are some drawbacks to Polyester. It might not feel as soft to the touch and can be less breathable compared to cotton. In certain situations, it could feel warm or damp. This is why some artists and business owners choose fabrics that blend other materials with Polyester.
In most cases, 100% polyester shirts work well with sublimation prints. However, special coatings or treatments on the fabric might affect the sublimation process in some situations.
Sublimating on tri-blend fabric can be successful, though it requires some experimentation. Different fabrics need specific heat press temperatures and times. Many printers offer Sublimation on tri-blend fabric, known for its incredible softness, similar to cotton.
Tri-blend fabric combines three types of fibers: cotton, Polyester, and rayon. It’s soft, flexible, and often has a thin, silky feel. Remember that tri-blend shirts can be pricier due to the extra fibers and manufacturing process.
If you love soft, comfortable shirts that drape well, consider sublimating on tri-blend fabric. However, about 25% of the fabric is cotton, which won’t hold dye. This might result in less vibrant or slightly worn-looking prints.
65% Polyester 35% Cotton
Sublimating on a 65% Polyester and 35% cotton blend generally works well. Polyblends like this combine two fiber types, in this case, polyester and cotton. Remember, the higher the polyester percentage, the more vibrant the print tends to be.
A sublimation print on 65% Polyester and 35% cotton will appear brighter and more detailed than on a 50/50 blend of Polyester and cotton. However, it won’t be as bold and colorful as a print on 100% polyester. Many artists intentionally use this blend to create a distressed or vintage style. The dye bonds with the Polyester but fades from the cotton, achieving an artsy, aged look without design effort.
Heathered 65% Polyester
Certain heathered fabrics work well for varying textures in sublimation designs, provided they contain at least 65% polyester. Heathered material mixes two fiber types or colors, creating a speckled appearance. While it complements solid or bold prints, it might interfere with delicate designs.
50/50 Polyester and Cotton
Technically, sublimating on a 50/50 polyester and cotton blend is possible. Initially, prints on this blend look bold and colorful. However, the first wash fades 50% of the dye due to the cotton fibers not retaining color. This makes it ideal for a super distressed or faded aesthetic. Vintage and distressed styles are popular, offering a market for this print effect.
Best Shirt Colors for Sublimation
When it comes to Sublimation, white or light-colored shirts work best. While you can sublimate onto dark shirts, it requires a special process involving white heat-transfer vinyl to make the image visible. Remember that sublimation printers don’t use white ink, so any white in your design comes from the fabric itself. Designs look great in light colors like yellows or pinks, but remember that empty spaces in your design will appear in that chosen color. Also, it’s important to test how brightly colored shirts handle the heat of the press, as some colors might fade or change.
As we explored a range of options to bring you the best T-shirts for sublimation printing, from various apparel collections to the Gildan DryBlend and Next Level 6200, it’s evident that choosing the right shirt is essential for the specific requirements. From 100% polyester to poly-cotton blends, each fabric offers its own advantages, ensuring your sublimated creations remain clear and comfortable.