How To Sublimate On Dark Shirts Using HTV

Are you a fan of dark-colored shirts but feel disappointed that sublimation printing is not possible on them? You’re not alone! Many people who are new to the world of dye sublimation t-shirt printing assume that it’s impossible to print on dark-colored shirts.

However, recent developments among sublimation crafters claim to have found a solution to this problem.

In this blog post, we will explore whether it is possible to do sublimation printing on dark shirts, the emerging products in the market that claim to solve this problem, and the processes that actually work. 

So, whether you’re a business owner looking to expand your product offerings or a t-shirt sublimation enthusiast who loves the look of dark-colored shirts, read on to find out how you can achieve high-quality sublimation prints on dark shirts.

What are the Materials Needed For Sublimation on Dark Shirts?

To perform sublimation on dark shirts, you will need the following materials:

  • Cricut Explore Air 2
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
  • Green Standard Grip Mat
  • Sublimation Ink (Hippo Sublimation Ink)
  • Pen Weeding Tool (if needed)
  • Sublimation Paper
  • Butcher Paper
  • Black 100% Cotton Shirt
  • 15 by 15 Clamshell Heat Press by Starcraft
  • Sublimation printer of course.

When printing on dark shirts, it’s crucial to have a white base layer between the shirt and the sublimation ink.

This can be achieved by using a white sublimation transfer paper or a white polyester under-base material that can be cut and applied to the shirt before the design is printed. This white base layer ensures that the colors are vibrant and true to the original design.

How To Sublimate on Dark Shirts

Sublimation printing on dark shirts can be quite a challenging task, but with the right products and techniques, it can be achieved.

The process involves using sublimation ink to print on dark fabrics and a specific transfer paper that can withstand high temperatures.

In this section, we will discuss the steps to sublimate on dark shirts and achieve the best results.

The method to sublimate images to dark-colors shirts is using clear HTV. In the next segment, we will be showing you how to add a butterfly image to a black 100% cotton shirt using clear sublimation HTV by HTV Run. Follow these steps:

  • Open Cricut Design Space and search for an image of a butterfly. Choose a colorful image that will look good on a black shirt.
  • Add an offset to the butterfly image. Change the offset to a basic cut, and make the color of it light gray.
  • Select the butterfly and the offset and add another offset. Keep the same size offset and change the color to white.
  • Click “Make It” and mirror the image on each of the three mats.
  • Print the image on sublimation paper using your printer’s sublimation preset.
  • Place the printed image on the heat plate and let it dry.
  • Cut out the white HTV and clear sublimation HTV layers.
  • Preheat the heat press to 375°F.
  • Place the black shirt on the heat press and press it for a few seconds to remove any moisture and wrinkles.
  • Place the clear HTV layer on top of the shirt, with the plastic side up, and cover it with butcher paper.
  • Press the clear HTV layer for 10 seconds.
  • Remove the butcher paper and let the clear HTV layer cool.
  • Remove the plastic backing from the clear HTV layer.
  • Place the white HTV layer on top of the clear HTV layer and cover it with butcher paper.
  • Press the white HTV layer for 15 seconds.
  • Remove the butcher paper and let the white HTV layer cool.
  • Peel off the excess HTV material from the design using a weeding tool.
  • Your sublimated dark shirt is now ready to wear!

Make sure to follow the steps carefully and use the recommended temperature and pressing time. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create stunning designs on dark shirts that will impress your customers and friends.

What Are The Transfer Sheets that Work for Dark Color Shirt Sublimation?

If you’re planning to do dye sublimation printing on dark shirts, it’s important to use the right products to achieve the best results. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones work well and which ones are just false advertisements. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the products that have been tested and proven to work on dark-colored fabrics.

  1. First on the list is Siser Glitter HTV. This Vinyl transfer sheet is popular for its high-pressure sensitive carrier which allows for easy weeding of the tiniest details when sublimating. It is also durable, making it a great choice for all-over dye sublimation t-shirt printing in dark colors. However, it may develop small cracks on the sublimated print after around 19-20 laundry cycles.
Siser Glitter HTV
  • Another option is B-Flex Glitter HTV, which is also known for its compatibility with dark shirts. While the print may be slightly duller than using Siser Glitter HTV, it contains 320 microns for a more definitive glitter style. It comes in 10 colors, but it’s not widely available.
  • Subli Flock is another Vinyl transfer sheet that works well on dark-colored shirts. The print turns out bright and colorful, but the downside is that the print may not be as durable as you’d expect. After around 10 laundry cycles, noticeable cracks may start to form on the print, and after around 20 cycles, there may be more pronounced cracks and dark lines across the print.
  • If you’re looking for a great sublimation sheet that prints well on dark shirts, Subli Flex may be a good option for you. The colors are shiny and fantastic, but the print is not as durable as you may expect. It may already start to crack after washing about five times, so it’s important to handle the material carefully.
  • Printworks Dark T-shirt Transfers is specifically advertised for printing on dark T-shirts. It is fade-resistant and easy to use, making it a great choice for beginners. However, you may notice small cracks forming after some time.
  • Lastly, Siser EasySubli is a clear winner when it comes to color and durability. The color turns out great, and the design still holds up after many laundry cycles without developing noticeable cracks. However, it’s important to note that it’s printer sensitive, so make sure it’s compatible with your printer before using it.

In conclusion, there are several products available that work well for dye sublimation printing on dark shirts. While some may be more durable than others, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your project and choose the product that best fits those needs. With the right product and proper care, you can achieve high-quality sublimation prints on dark shirts.

Understanding the challenges of sublimation printing on dark shirts

Sublimation printing on dark shirts is a task that comes with its fair share of challenges. While sublimation printing on light-colored garments is relatively straightforward, dark-colored garments require a bit more effort and expertise. In this section, we will discuss some of the challenges that come with sublimation printing on dark shirts.

  • The color of the fabric: The first challenge when sublimating on dark shirts is the color of the fabric itself. Dark fabrics tend to absorb more heat than lighter fabrics, which can affect the sublimation process. Also, when you sublimate on a dark-colored garment, the colors of your design will appear less vibrant, and the final print may look dull.
  • The visibility of the design: When sublimating on dark shirts, the design must be visible. If the design doesn’t show up on the shirt, then it’s not worth the effort. To make sure the design is visible, you must use high-quality sublimation ink like cosmos ink that is specifically designed for dark-colored garments.
  • The size and complexity of the design: The size and complexity of the design can also pose a challenge when sublimating on dark shirts. If the design is too intricate, then it may not transfer properly to the shirt. Similarly, if the design is too large, it may not fit on the shirt correctly.

Whether you choose to take on the challenge of sublimating on dark shirts yourself or opt for professional printing services, the key is to stay informed and educated on the latest techniques and products available. With the right approach, you can produce stunning designs that stand out and make a lasting impression.

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