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Hi. You can physically sublimate onto dark garments. It's just that with the ink being transparent, the design will be virtually invisible. Even mid range garments like deep blue, or red will not sublimate well, with many colours of the design being lost.

Sadly being restricted to using light colours, is the biggest downside to sublimation.
 

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maybe this will help you understand this...Sublimation is limited to 100% polyester and 'some' pastels like the vapor ware garments because of the way sublimation works.

The process of the special ink/paper/heat and polyester works like this: The heat changes the ink into a gas and the pressure forces the gas into the garment where it bonds with the polyester fiber creating the image. If you try to take a black shirt and dye it blue or yellow...you can why dye sub does not work on darks

Sublimation transfers differ from the regular transfers...sublimation becomes part of the garment where the regular transfer sit on top of the material..
 

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One of the things I've been wanting to do, but don't really have the time or material to do so, is to match up sublimation/brother DTG output with CMYK based values.

For example, this in theory should get you a close example:
You have a brown shirt, so you get a CMYK value similar to the Brown.
Next you choose the color you want to sublimate, say Blue.
Next you combine the CMYK values, wherever the CMYK values are greater for the color, you use those values.
I believe this should give you a fairly comparable result.

I've attached an example of the process in Corel. If it does prove to be similar output, I will make a custom macro to generate comps quickly for this. My main problem right now is lack of dark shirts to sacrifice heh.
 

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The work that you're doing on that looks interesting Joe.

How are you making allowances for the opacity of the inks though? Just curious on that point.

Secondhand clothes stores are a good source for getting sample fabrics real cheap. A lot of women's clothes are polyester and cheap enough to cut into sample squares.
 

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The work that you're doing on that looks interesting Joe.

How are you making allowances for the opacity of the inks though? Just curious on that point.

Secondhand clothes stores are a good source for getting sample fabrics real cheap. A lot of women's clothes are polyester and cheap enough to cut into sample squares.

I'm more or less basing the idea on the blending of colors, since there is no white ink to increase opacity per se. I started playing with the idea a long time ago when I tried to print on some red sample vinyl I had (it wasn't really designed to be solvent printable, but I slid it through anyway). I noticed that my greys came out really strange (pretty much an off-red due to the material), but the black came out fine. Anyways, I dug up some scrap that was fairly dark to play around with. It was a "Berry" colored Bella shirt that we messed up while printing. I chose what I considered to be a fairly comparable color in Corel, and chose ice blue, dark green, and sand to test with. I sent it through the Brother at default settings, put it through twice just to see if it would add anything, it did add a little bit more color.

All in all, the results were comparable in my opinion, but not an exact match.
 

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Here in Europe, I find that part of the problem is actually finding polyester tees in dark colours. Cotton is the material of choice, with polyester being seen as a lower grade product.

Black is the biggest seller for me, which all but rules out sublimation. I have printed on subl-flock which also then allows you to go to cotton, but if your going down that route, you may as well use regular inkjet transfers.
 

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One of the best ways to explain to my sales people and to customers the limitations of sublimating on dark colors is to hand them a dark piece of paper then ask them to use their inkjet printer to print a design on that piece of paper. Their first comment to me is "it won't show up on dark paper." Exactly. Sublimation onto dark fabrics is just like printing with an inkjet printer onto dark paper. The image is there ... just can't always see it. Images need a light colored background to appear on. Although, some darker colored garments, such as red and royal blue, even charcoal, can have some neat effects when sublimating designs with blacks and shades of black. Almost like tone-on-tone embroidery.
 

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Sorry to drag up this old post, but I thought it would be better than starting a new thread. I know that you can't sublimate onto a dark t-shirt or anything, but why do I see companies advertising "sublimation t-shirts in 10 colours" etc?
I mean are they just trying to trick people into buying them?
 

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Keep in mind that just because a shirt is colored does not mean it can not be sublimated. Typically the ink needs to be darker than the shirt and you will get color shifting on color shirts as well. You can get some really cool effects using colored shirts. We do a all over design using a red Vapor shirt and dark red ink and it is amazing.

You just have to experiment and print a color chart on a shirt that has color to truly understand how it will print.
 

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Yeah I understand that, but all of them that I have seen are offering black t-shirts.
That is something that I will need to do though, print colour charts on different colours.
 

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You can also start with a white polyester T-shirt and sublimate to the edge of the shirt. You can have a 11 x 17 design and use black ink for the rest of the shirt. This way there is no white on the shirt and it appear as if the shirt was black to start with.
Or could be a dyed polyester shirt with a white patch, etc.
 

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Is that something that you can buy? A dyed polyester t-shirt with a window of white where you can put the black in the actual design, like the black sublimation mugs that have the white window for the design?
i haven't seen them in all of my searches or is it something that I would need to get done by someone?
 

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I don't think you can buy anything like that - unless some new products emerged recently I haven't come across yet. Even if you could, if would be difficult to match your black to the black colour of the shirt. Even if you manage to do it perfectly, there still will be an issue of seamlesly inserting your design into that white block: if you make your print slightly bigger - overlap of 2 blacks will give you different shade/depth of black.

Can you give us a reference to black shirts you are talking about and companies advertising sublimation shirts in 10 colours?

Usually, sublimated shirts with dark/coloured background started as white fabric and the background is included as part of the design when printed.

If printing on dark and coloured shirts - only darker prints will stand out, like it was pointed out above.
 

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Just an ambiguous description. They should have specified that white and light colours are sublimatable.
Black is definitey not suitable for dye-sub; on maroon, bottle green and navy - prettly much only black prints will stand out.
 

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D.Evo,
You're right, I haven't seen shirts with patches on them. But they can probably get it custom made if need be. I have seen patches on other items. And it doesn't necessarily have to be the same black. It could very well be a circle or a heart patch, etc. and you put an image or logo that covers the entire area of the patch.

However I know that you can sublimate onto an entire white polyester shirt. And that would create the colored polyester shirts as well or a full design on a polyester shirt.
 

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D.Evo,
You're right, I haven't seen shirts with patches on them. But they can probably get it custom made if need be. I have seen patches on other items. And it doesn't necessarily have to be the same black. It could very well be a circle or a heart patch, etc. and you put an image or logo that covers the entire area of the patch.
You mean like a subliflock or Trans-Fabric Dark adheasive media? It would work quite well for smaller prints like logos.

However I know that you can sublimate onto an entire white polyester shirt. And that would create the colored polyester shirts as well or a full design on a polyester shirt.
You sure can. I have just posted this picture on a different thread, but it's just as relevant here.
There could be some colour voids and irregularities, but their appearance could be reduced by adjusting the design to look deliberatey distressed in problem areas.
 

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Hi, I have seen a person doing direct heat press on black t-shirt with a white paper and some design there which is in white and mix colored also and the final product was looking great. How is that possible? Is it any other transfer paper? Please visit Start Your Own T-shirt Business and view the VDOs there and reply
 
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