What is dye sublimation?
Dye sublimation is a printing method that uses ink and heat to transfer a design onto a material or fabric. Dye-sublimation printing is a computer digital printing technique that transfers full color artwork onto polyester and polymer-coated substrates. Sometimes referred to as digital sublimation, Dye sublimation is often used for adorning clothing, banners and signs however it can also be used on non-fabric products with sublimation-friendly surfaces such as specially coated plastics, card stocks, or paper. The process of sublimation is one in which heat and pressure are applied to a solid dye, transforming it into a gas via an endothermic reaction without passing through the liquid phase of matter. Technically it is possible that a semi-liquid state can be entered by some dye sublimation techniques, which actually makes those dye-diffusion methods, however for our purposes we are only discussing true dye sublimation.
Dye sublimation can be used on a variety of fabrics such as canvas and treated cotton. However, it is most easily applied to polyester blended fabrics. When the dye is heated onto the fabric, the polymers in the polyester encourage the inks to bond, which fully embeds the graphics into the material.
What materials benefit from the most of going through the process of dye sublimation?
When applied to clothing garments, ink is embedded directly into the fibers. Making the design feel that it is part of the garment and not just on the surface. Dye sublimation allows printing multiple, full, bright colors.
SpeedPro of SF Peninsula’s wide-format printers can process dye-sublimation of both fabric and rigid materials. New polymer treated materials that have been developed specifically for dye sublimation applications that include brass, aluminum, glass, acrylic, fiberglass, hardboard sheet materials and plastic.
Products which benefit from dye sublimation techniques include:
Flags: They fly high and brand your company completely. There’s a reason that flags have been used for millennia to represent countries and factions on the battlefield. Represent your company proudly with a dye sublimated flag from SpeedPro of SF Peninsula.
Banners: Also known as tension fabric backwall displays, these are essentially fabric banners. Freestanding displays consist of custom graphics dye sublimation printed fabric and lightweight metal frames. The fabric works like a pillowcase and slips over the frame to zips at the bottom. Fit perfectly, these fabric graphics never wrinkle or sag.
Tablecloths/table throws: Unlike traditionally imprinted table throws, dye sublimated table throws have limitless color options for your logo or graphic. SpeedPro of SF Peninsula has many size options to fit 4-, 6- and 8-foot long tables as well as 30-, 48- and 60-inch diameter round tables. Printed table throw covers offer the widest range of customization.
Apparel/clothing made with dye sublimation techniques: Apparel printed in this way feels lighter and has images that last longer no matter how many times they are washed or dry cleaned.
Backlit Display Fabrics: UV-resistant, long-life inks are pressed into the fabric. However, the factor that really sets backlit graphics apart is, of course, the LED back-lighting.
Trade Show counters from SpeedPro of SF Peninsula: These feature quality countertops in your choice of finish along with eye-catching graphics. In addition, dye sublimated fabric bordered by silicone edging makes it easy and quick to assemble the counter display.
Canvas: A particularly prized material when used for creating stretched-gallery wraps, canvas already takes ink well, so with dye sublimation graphics will appear even more sharp and vivid. The printing applications are nearly endless as canvas works for both indoor and outdoor settings.
Coffee mugs: Reach for a cup of steaming Joe in a dye sublimated mug with your logo or favorite design. There’s no better way to start your day than with hot caffeine and your brand close at hand.
Ceramic Tiles: Interior designers and decorators can create customized ceramic tiles for many locations such as in home bathrooms or kitchens, at the foyers of your business, or on the go restaurants or museums.
Rigid Products: Readily available rigid blank products such as mouse pads – remain productive and efficient with a dye sublimated mouse pad, great for both work and play, key chains – never worry about losing a branded key, smartphone cases – communicate in style, light switch plates – illuminate the office with dye sublimated graphics and more. These products are easily sublimated and are fantastic additions to the range of custom branding items for your business.
Soft-Signage: Dye sublimation is ideal and fast for time-sensitive promotions so be sure to create on-demand, high-impact POP, trade-show and interior signage by partnering with SpeedPro of SF Peninsula.
Photo Printing: Dye sublimation is perfect for delivering high quality photographic images to a wide range of products for personalized gift items such as wall mounts fridge magnets, and photo-backdrops.
Stop by our San Carlos studio today to see the exciting difference that dye sublimation makes in printing. Our professional staff is ready to answer any technical questions you may have and work with you to create the perfect product for your business or personal use.
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