Sublimation printing is a process where the ink is transferred from a paper directly into a material. A lightweight paper is printed in reverse on one machine and then for large format sublimation that material is run through a calendar which transfers the ink onto any fabric with a polyester coating through heated rollers. Alternatively for small format sublimation – such as mugs and mousemats – the paper is taped onto the blank white product and is then put in a heatpress which transfers the ink onto the product. Both of these processes require products that have a fine polyester coating to accept the ink.
The main advantage of sublimation printing is that the ink is dyed straight into materials so the print is more long lasting than other methods of printing. The materials can also be washed without any risk of damaging the print – this is ideal for printed tablecloths as they are likely to get dirty with general usage. The process also uses water based ink so they are more eco-friendly than other print methods.