How Long To Press Sublimation Shirts? Tips and Designs

Ricardo Seco 22 Nov, 2023 Blog

Sublimation printing is rapidly becoming a favorite in the custom apparel and merchandise world, and it’s easy to see why! For those curious about how to successfully undertake sublimation and particularly how to sublimate a shirt, you’ve landed in the perfect spot. In this updated article, we’ll delve into why sublimation stands out compared to other printing techniques, tackle some common challenges, answer how long to press sublimation shirts, and provide you with an updated step-by-step guide on sublimating by yourself. Let’s embark on this exciting journey into the world of sublimation printing!

How long to press sublimation shirt new update

The recommended pressing time for sublimation ink transfer onto polyester shirts is 50-70 seconds at 385-415°F. This updated duration and temperature window improves dye infusion compared to previous standards for more vivid, durable prints.

Pressing times vary depending on the heat press model, shirt fabric thickness, and materials used. Automatic presses require 30-45 seconds while manual presses take 45-60 seconds. Always perform test presses first to optimize settings.

Allow an additional 1-2 minutes cooling time after pressing to stabilize prints. Proper curing cements inks into fibers for enhanced washfastness.

Follow these revised guidelines when pressing sublimation shirts:

  • 50-70 second press times
  • 385-415°F temperature range
  • Medium level pressure
  • 1-2 minute post-press cool down

Precision and consistency in technique allows creating exceptional quality sublimation shirts that truly stand out with color vibrancy and longevity.

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Why should use sublimation vs other methods?

In the dynamic world of design transfer, various techniques like screen printing, transfer types of vinyl, and direct-to-garment (DTG) printing have their places. However, sublimation printing stands out for its affordability, ease of use, and high-quality results. Here’s an updated look at why sublimation is often the preferred method:


Sublimation remains more cost-efficient than many other methods. While screen printing requires a substantial investment in equipment, space, and ventilation, and DTG demands high-priced printers and ongoing maintenance, sublimation offers a more budget-friendly startup. The initial investment for a sublimation setup (including a printer, sublimation ink, heat press, sublimation paper, and designs) typically stays well below a thousand dollars, making it accessible for beginners and small businesses.

Quality and Durability

Sublimation inks have evolved to offer even brighter, more vivid colors. The process embeds the ink directly into the fabric fibers, resulting in designs that are not only eye-catching but also resistant to fading and peeling. This quality aspect is a significant advantage over methods like screen printing, where the design can crack or fade over time.

Ease of Use and Versatility

The latest advancements in sublimation technology have made the process even more beginner-friendly. Modern sublimation printers are more user-friendly, and the process is straightforward, allowing for a smoother learning curve. Additionally, sublimation can be used on a wider range of products beyond just t-shirts, including mugs, phone cases, and more, opening up a broader range of creative possibilities.

Environmental Considerations

Sublimation printing is also becoming recognized for its relatively lower environmental impact compared to methods like screen printing, which often involves toxic chemicals and solvents. The water-based inks used in sublimation are generally more eco-friendly, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable business practices.

Personal Experience and Satisfaction

From a personal standpoint, sublimation continues to be a gratifying process. Many first-time users find success with their initial projects, as the method is forgiving yet yields professional results. This ease of entry and satisfying learning process make sublimation an appealing choice for hobbyists and entrepreneurs alike.

The quality of sublimation methods

Sublimation printing, with its advancements and capabilities, continues to offer significant quality advantages over other printing methods like screen printing and direct-to-garment (DTG) printing.

Unmatched Color Vibrancy and Complexity

Where screen printing can be restrictive in terms of color variety and design complexity, sublimation shines. It allows for the transfer of intricate, high-resolution images directly from paper to the product. This means the quality of your printed design, be it on t-shirts, mugs, or blankets, is limited only by the resolution of your original digital design. The latest sublimation printers have further improved in delivering even more vibrant and detailed prints.

Advancements in Color Spectrum

The traditional limitation of sublimation printing not being able to print white ink is now being addressed. While it’s true that most standard sublimation printers still don’t print white ink, and thus work best on white or light-colored substrates, there are new models and techniques emerging that overcome this hurdle. These specialized printers can handle white ink, expanding the possibilities of sublimation printing onto darker materials.

Quality Retention and Durability

One of the most significant advantages of sublimation printing is the longevity of its prints. Unlike screen prints which can crack and fade, sublimation ink becomes part of the substrate, ensuring that the prints are resistant to fading and peeling over time. This quality retention makes it an ideal choice for items that undergo frequent use and washing.

Environmentally Friendly Process

The sublimation process is evolving to be more eco-friendly. Modern sublimation inks are less toxic compared to the solvents used in screen printing, aligning with increasing environmental concerns and the demand for sustainable practices.

Versatility in Applications

The versatility of sublimation printing is continually expanding. With advancements in printer technology and ink formulation, sublimation is now being used on a wider variety of materials, including different types of fabrics and rigid substrates, increasing its appeal in various markets.

The latest developments in sublimation printing technology have not only retained but enhanced its position as a superior method for producing high-quality, vibrant, and durable prints. Its expanding capabilities, along with its environmental benefits, make it an increasingly popular choice for both professional and personal printing needs.

In conclusion, mastering the technique of sublimation printing, especially understanding how long to press sublimation shirts, is essential for vibrant, high-quality results. At Ricardo Seco Shop, we pride ourselves on embracing these best practices to deliver stunning, durable prints on a variety of products. We invite you to visit our website to explore our collection of beautifully sublimated T-shirts and find more useful information on this innovative printing method. Join us in experiencing the art of sublimation at its finest.