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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm pretty new to sublimation (and the forum) and have a few questions on what's possible with sublimation or the best possible way to go about doing something with sublimation.

I want to know if sublimating on the sides of the sleeves like hoodies & T-shirts is at all possible and if so what's the best way to do it
Like this V
272035

Or if sublimating a 360 logo ring design across the chest is possible like this V
272036

I know I need to buy a special spray for sublimating on cotton but I want to know if these are possible first and what's the best way to do it.

I plan to sublimate on sleeves and the hoods of hoodies I just want to know how before I start.

EDIT: If this is not possible with sublimation, may you recommend another method that may work if you know one.
 

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Sublimation is absolutely not possible on dark garments. In fact, it's only suitable for pure white or very light materials with a high (preferably 100%) polyester content. You can't print white designs with sublimation. All of the white in your design will appear as the base colour of the substrate (t-shirt, hoodie, etc).

For dark, or cotton garments you should be looking at screen printing, plastisol transfers, direct-to-garment (DTG - expensive!), heat transfers, or heat transfer vinyl (HTV). Search the forums for a wealth of information on all of these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sublimation is absolutely not possible on dark garments. In fact, it's only suitable for pure white or very light materials with a high (preferably 100%) polyester content. You can't print white designs with sublimation. All of the white in your design will appear as the base colour of the substrate (t-shirt, hoodie, etc).

For dark, or cotton garments you should be looking at screen printing, plastisol transfers, direct-to-garment (DTG - expensive!), heat transfers, or heat transfer vinyl (HTV). Search the forums for a wealth of information on all of these.
Thank you so much for the insight, I will definitely be looking into these options.

You seem very knowledgeable about this stuff so I would definitely like to pick your brain one last time before I do another big research session.

What method would you recommend for someone trying to make the designs above at home with an $800 budget or so?
 

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What method would you recommend for someone trying to make the designs above at home with an $800 budget or so?
To do a chest wrap around with your budget will be difficult. It can be done with heat transfer vinyl. That would entail a vinyl cutter,a heat press, patience, and a little (ok, a lot of) luck.

Probably not something I would attempt just starting out. Especially if the jackets are expensive. You will make mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To do a chest wrap around with your budget will be difficult. It can be done with heat transfer vinyl. That would entail a vinyl cutter,a heat press, patience, and a little (ok, a lot of) luck.

Probably not something I would attempt just starting out. Especially if the jackets are expensive. You will make mistakes.
What's a budget you recommend for chest wraps then? I wanna do it reliably with consistency and minimal luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To do a chest wrap around with your budget will be difficult. It can be done with heat transfer vinyl. That would entail a vinyl cutter,a heat press, patience, and a little (ok, a lot of) luck.

Probably not something I would attempt just starting out. Especially if the jackets are expensive. You will make mistakes.
Do you recommend in investing in a DTG printer for that stuff down the line?
 

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What's a budget you recommend for chest wraps then? I wanna do it reliably with consistency and minimal luck
An entry level cutter starts at around $500 and the better ones are in the $1,500 range. Same pricing for a heat press.

Do you recommend in investing in a DTG printer for that stuff down the line?
DTG can't do a wrapped print.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
An entry level cutter starts at around $500 and the better ones are in the $1,500 range. Same pricing for a heat press.


DTG can't do a wrapped print.
I know your not the original person who said you can't sublimate to dark colors but apparently, you can buy dark cotton subs, do you have any experience with these or know of anybody on the forum who has used these subs here

 

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I know your not the original person who said you can't sublimate to dark colors but apparently, you can buy dark cotton subs, do you have any experience with these or know of anybody on the forum who has used these subs here
Well then let me be the next-to-original person who says you can't sublimate to darks. You can't sublimate darks and you can't sublimate cotton.The guy in the video did not sublimate to the black shirt. He sublimated a white polyester mesh transfer. There are several solutions out there to sublimate to a transfer that is then heat pressed to a shirt. That is all this is.

Give it a try and test it. Most have not fared well over time (cracking, peeling, fading). But it may suit your need. Test on throwaway t-shirts before you try it on expensive jackets.

I am not sure how vibrant his art work was, but the print did not come out very vibrant. Note too, with this method you will always have a white background showing unless you do a full bleed print like he did.

There is nothing more vibrant than direct sublimation of a 100% polyester white garment.
 

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I know your not the original person who said you can't sublimate to dark colors but apparently, you can buy dark cotton subs, do you have any experience with these or know of anybody on the forum who has used these subs here

That's not sublimation onto a shirt, that is sublimation onto a piece of plastic that is stuck on top of the shirt. Which defeats the whole point of sublimation, zero hand feel prints that last and last and last. Sublimation only works on Polyester. PERIOD. And any transfer onto a dark garment requires an opaque white under layer, which makes the transfer thicker, more hand feel, and less durable--everything the opposite of sublimation. There is a lot of YouTube hype about bogus ways of sublimating. Forget them.

As to how that garment was done. That is a major brand. They have clothing manufactured from scratch. The fabric might have been woven with that art in it. That is certainly the case for the cuffs and the wrap around the sleeves, which where separate fabric sewn into the whole.

You've got Filet Mignon tastes on a Hamburger Helper budget ;-) It's good to be inspired, but try crawling, then walking, before the Marathon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's not sublimation onto a shirt, that is sublimation onto a piece of plastic that is stuck on top of the shirt. Which defeats the whole point of sublimation, zero hand feel prints that last and last and last. Sublimation only works on Polyester. PERIOD. And any transfer onto a dark garment requires an opaque white under layer, which makes the transfer thicker, more hand feel, and less durable--everything the opposite of sublimation. There is a lot of YouTube hype about bogus ways of sublimating. Forget them.

As to how that garment was done. That is a major brand. They have clothing manufactured from scratch. The fabric might have been woven with that art in it. That is certainly the case for the cuffs and the wrap around the sleeves, which where separate fabric sewn into the whole.

You've got Filet Mignon tastes on a Hamburger Helper budget ;-) It's good to be inspired, but try crawling, then walking, before the Marathon.
Well its always good to know what direction to crawl in, of course, I'm not a pro yet, that's the whole purpose of asking questions before I spend money lol. I've seen sublimation work on cotton before it just needs spray and other things to prep it, sure it may not be the best or most convenient way to do sublimation, but it can be done.

I do agree with you on one thing though, sublimation may not be the route I wanna go for this one, at this point sewing seems slightly harder but it can deliver the desired results for much cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well then let me be the next-to-original person who says you can't sublimate to darks. You can't sublimate darks and you can't sublimate cotton.The guy in the video did not sublimate to the black shirt. He sublimated a white polyester mesh transfer. There are several solutions out there to sublimate to a transfer that is then heat pressed to a shirt. That is all this is.

Give it a try and test it. Most have not fared well over time (cracking, peeling, fading). But it may suit your need. Test on throwaway t-shirts before you try it on expensive jackets.

I am not sure how vibrant his art work was, but the print did not come out very vibrant. Note too, with this method you will always have a white background showing unless you do a full bleed print like he did.

There is nothing more vibrant than direct sublimation of a 100% polyester white garment.
Well yea it's more like sublimation onto the paper and heat transferring onto the shirt, and of course, I'm gonna do test runs before the real deal, that's why I'm asking questions right now before I even start spending money lol.

I definitely like to plan these things to get the desired results. Could you provide examples of the cracking, peeling, and fading? I'm starting to think sublimation is not the route to go down here and buying a sewing machine might be a better investment at this point 🤣.
 

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Well its always good to know what direction to crawl in, of course, I'm not a pro yet, that's the whole purpose of asking questions before I spend money lol. I've seen sublimation work on cotton before it just needs spray and other things to prep it, sure it may not be the best or most convenient way to do sublimation, but it can be done.

I do agree with you on one thing though, sublimation may not be the route I wanna go for this one, at this point sewing seems slightly harder but it can deliver the desired results for much cheaper.
That spray is NOT prep. The spray is spraying Polyester onto the shirt, and it is that layer of Polyester that will be sublimated, not the shirt. The durability is only as good as the adhesion of the spray-on Poly to the shirt.

The pores of Polyester open at high temp, and the sub ink turns to a gas at high temp. The gas goes into the open Polyester pores and stays there as the Polyester cools, which permanently locks the dye inside the now closed Polyester pores (unless one heats the Polyester to a high temp again). This is why sublimation has no hand feel and is very durable--it is NOT on the surface of the fabric, it is inside the fibers--but only Polyester behaves this way.

Note, you can sublimate on a 50/50 cotton/Poly blend shirt, and it will look pretty good ... until you wash it, at which point 50% of the image will disappear, all of the ink that was just sitting on the cotton. If one wants a "vintage" look, that actually works okay. But it still is not sublimating on cotton, as once washed, there is no ink on the cotton fibers. Be it a poly/cotton blend or "magic fairy dust/spray," results right off the press mean nothing. What's it look like after it has been washed once? There is no proof that anything has been sublimated until it passes that test. Beyond that, how durable is it over the desired life of the garment? That depends upon how well the plastic stuck on top of the cotton holds up, because it was the plastic that was sublimated, not the cotton.

Every method of garment decoration has its strengths and weaknesses. It's a matter of matching the use case with the appropriate method. There is no "unicorn" process that is cheap at small quantities, works on black/dark, works on 100% cotton, produces full color prints, has low hand/retail feel, is durable, and hands you a pony when all is said and done ;-) Which compromises you go with will depend on which goals are most important and which limitations of time/space/$ are the most restricting. Only you can work out the specific mix that best suits your circumstances.

Have fun on your adventure. Just be sure to test the hell out of any options before committing $$$. Lots of "marginal" printing processes are used for limited wear garments, like for events, memorials, etc. If it can't be washed and dried 30+ times and still look good, it is not retail brand quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That spray is NOT prep. The spray is spraying Polyester onto the shirt, and it is that layer of Polyester that will be sublimated, not the shirt. The durability is only as good as the adhesion of the spray-on Poly to the shirt.

The pores of Polyester open at high temp, and the sub ink turns to a gas at high temp. The gas goes into the open Polyester pores and stays there as the Polyester cools, which permanently locks the dye inside the now closed Polyester pores (unless one heats the Polyester to a high temp again). This is why sublimation has no hand feel and is very durable--it is NOT on the surface of the fabric, it is inside the fibers--but only Polyester behaves this way.

Note, you can sublimate on a 50/50 cotton/Poly blend shirt, and it will look pretty good ... until you wash it, at which point 50% of the image will disappear, all of the ink that was just sitting on the cotton. If one wants a "vintage" look, that actually works okay. But it still is not sublimating on cotton, as once washed, there is no ink on the cotton fibers. Be it a poly/cotton blend or "magic fairy dust/spray," results right off the press mean nothing. What's it look like after it has been washed once? There is no proof that anything has been sublimated until it passes that test. Beyond that, how durable is it over the desired life of the garment? That depends upon how well the plastic stuck on top of the cotton holds up, because it was the plastic that was sublimated, not the cotton.

Every method of garment decoration has its strengths and weaknesses. It's a matter of matching the use case with the appropriate method. There is no "unicorn" process that is cheap at small quantities, works on black/dark, works on 100% cotton, produces full color prints, has low hand/retail feel, is durable, and hands you a pony when all is said and done ;-) Which compromises you go with will depend on which goals are most important and which limitations of time/space/$ are the most restricting. Only you can work out the specific mix that best suits your circumstances.

Have fun on your adventure. Just be sure to test the hell out of any options before committing $$$. Lots of "marginal" printing processes are used for limited wear garments, like for events, memorials, etc. If it can't be washed and dried 30+ times and still look good, it is not retail brand quality.
Yea i've been doing research on and off for the past month but today I decided to ask questions and I'm glad I did.

I think I will be using a sewing machine for complex details like chest & shoulder wraps

I will be looking into a heat-press and look into sublimating on cotton because I've seen it be done and know it's possible atleast. I know the colors won't pop like poly but I'm fine with making that sacrifice. I know you do have to prep the cotton with a spray or something, I'm waiting for my friend to text me back what it's called.

I know it might not be directly on the cotton and more like sublimating the paper and heat pressing it onto the shirt or hoodie

kinda like this example here
 

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Well, there's nothing to be gained without first experimenting, but I'd be keen to see your cotton sublimation results after 20 to 30 washes.

Don't forget, rigorous wash testing is needed before selling anything to the public otherwise you may find all your time, money and reputation disappearing rapidly down the drain.

Good luck with your rather unusual choices for starting a business.
 

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even if you get something like easi-subli you will have to cut and weed, so you may as well get vinyl (unless you want multi-color)
either way you are going to have to do the heat pressing piece by piece by piece all the way around and hopefully not hit what you just pressed previously as too much heat and pressure will cause a premature failure on both methods above

the sublimation paper and easi-subli type materials will also require multiple join points to fully wrap an adult-sized garment,
and this will be difficult to line up perfectly for retail sales without alot of practice and unsellable misaligns

this is not a beginners starting point, you will waste mucho dineros and time
 

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Yea i've been doing research on and off for the past month but today I decided to ask questions and I'm glad I did.

I think I will be using a sewing machine for complex details like chest & shoulder wraps

I will be looking into a heat-press and look into sublimating on cotton because I've seen it be done and know it's possible atleast. I know the colors won't pop like poly but I'm fine with making that sacrifice. I know you do have to prep the cotton with a spray or something, I'm waiting for my friend to text me back what it's called.

I know it might not be directly on the cotton and more like sublimating the paper and heat pressing it onto the shirt or hoodie

kinda like this example here
You might also consider Embroidery. I'm no expert on that, but it might be another way to accomplish those "details" like in the hoodie photo. I'm sure someone with actual experience in that area could better advise.
 
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