Important sublimation printing facts

What to expect and how to make most of it

All-over printing is a useful method to create striking and creative shirts. It's created by infusing a layer ink directly onto the fabric, therefore covering a bigger surface space than DTG printers. There are several nuances to take into consideration when using sublimation, so get to know what to expect and how to get the best results.

Pay attention to

Type of shirt

Printful offers two types of t-shirts and tanks that are printed with the dye sublimation technique – cut & sew shirts, and sublimation shirts. For the cut & sew shirts a design is all-over printed on the fabric, and then the fabric is cut and hand-sewn by our in-house expert teams. Sublimation shirts, however, are ready-made shirts that have the designs printed directly on them.

Placement

Due to the specifics of the printing process we cannot guarantee accurate placement for graphics on the cut & sew or sublimation t-shirts and tank tops.

Because of the variation in sleeve shapes, we cannot guarantee exact placement on sleeves; for example, we cannot do jersey style striping on the sleeves.

We cannot guarantee placement directly underneath the collar of a shirt; for instance, creating a graphic that has pearls wrapping around the collar is not doable because of the variation in placement.

If you don't use our guide to create print files, we are not liable for bad placement, blurry images, or white areas (if the graphic is not large enough).

No wrap

Graphics that wrap from front to back can't be done. For instance, we wouldn’t be able to accurately print your shirt if you wanted a dragon graphic that wraps around the torso to line up front-to-back.

White streaks

White streaks will appear only on sublimation shirts around the seams, especially around the shoulders, under the armpits, and around the collar of the shirt. Therefore, we advise using a lighter color shade in your sublimation print files to minimize the streak visibility, or order cut & sew shirts that are streak-free.

Make the most of sublimation:
- patterns,
- light colors,
- use guide for accurate placement,
Printful

Sublimation t-shirt examples

Here are some photo examples of what you might expect when you have a solid black graphic printed on a sublimation tee. It's important to note that these issues may vary in severity and are never consistent through all graphics. We will handle complaints about the following on a case by case basis, but please understand that re-shipments will not always be issued for the following.

White streaking along the shoulder seams/sides of the sublimation tees/tanks

White streaking along the shoulders near the seams of the sublimation tees

Expect to have some mild ghosting from time to time if you have a solid color shirt and a small, lighter pattern overlayed. This is as a result of some shrinking that occurs during the sublimation process, resulting in this drop shadow effect.

Expect to have lots of white streaks under the armpits of the sublimation shirts. The severity may vary as you can see by the two graphics provided here.

What to do?

Only sublimation shirts have these issues, so you can order cut & sew shirts to avoid them. There are no white streaks along the seams or under the armpits, since the fabric of the shirt is cut and hand-sewn after all-over printing.

If you have your heart set on the sublimations tees, we advise sticking to light shirts and patterns. You should also avoid printing important graphics near the edges or sleeve areas. The graphic below is a perfect example of a graphic that works well with sublimation printing.

Although there are still white streaks in the armpit areas, they are significantly less noticeable when the garments are lighter and the pattern is smaller.

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