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Sublimation only works on polyester fabrics and is a light garment transfer process. So if your socks are made out of polyester, you are good if the colors in the artwork are darker than the color of the socks. If the socks are black, sublimation will not work.

The best suggestions I can give you is to go to the NBM Arlington Show in a month. (Assuming based on your name that you are in TX.) Check out The NBM Show | for date / location. You will be able to see all the different decorating techniques that are out there. If you bring the socks you want to use, then you will be able to get better answers from the exhibitors.

Just so you know, you can decorate socks using dye sub, digital transfers, embroidery, dtg and screen printing depending on the fabric and color of the socks. Most socks are either embroidered or screen printed when you buy them at a large retailer. There is a post on these forums by SKDave showing sublimation on socks. Here are a couple of pics of socks on a dtg printer.

Mark
 

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Based on how easy the paper releases from the socks, I would guess that this is dye sublimation. Of course, this is based on the socks being polyester as I stated above.

This requires a dedicated printer, dye sub inks and dye sub release paper. There will be several dye sub distributors at the NBM Show that you can speak with directly. Bring a paper of socks and artwork... I bet you can get one of them printed via dye sub and compare it to what you are getting right now.

Mark
 

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That is one type of setup that you could use. There are others that cost more to buy the equipment (i.e. look at the Ricoh Gel printers as well), but have a cheaper cost per a print. The other option is to find someone to print the transfers out for you and then you do the heat pressing. There are some people on this forum that would be willing to do this outsourced printing.

Mark
 

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Yes, but wouldnt they have to ship me each print? that wouldnt be cost affective. And can I fill my printer with Subli Jet ink its an HP Office Jet
An HP Office Jet uses thermal print heads - which you don't want to use with dye sub inks. You need to use an Epson or Ricoh printer that has a piezo print head. Read the link above that refers to Sawgrass Inks' website.

Mark
 

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Jake,

Dye sub inks are encapsulated. The true colors are not seen on the paper. You have to heat press the inks to a substrate at the proper time/temperature/pressure to see the final colors. I suggest you go to a local fabric store and get some polyester fabric that is close to the socks you want to print on. (Take a pair of socks with you and ask the employee to get as close as possible.) By using the material in large sheets, you can become familiar with the dye sub process without having to do your testing on the more expensive garments. This will help you learn how to print, press and remove the garment properly.

The one thing you should know is you have to setup the graphic software program you are using correctly. You will have to assign the correct ICC profile. This will vary depending on the printer and graphic software program you are using. You should contact the distributor that you purchased the printer / inks from. They can help you out.

Best wishes,

Mark
 
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