What is dye-sublimate printing?
Dye-sublimation printing is a technique that uses heat and special inks to create vibrant and crisp designs on fabric. Heat is used to transfer designs from paper to fabric - the heat changing the ink from a liquid to a gas, fusing it with the properties of the fabric - creating clean, long lasting prints. The gaseous state of the ink results in a completely washable, smooth image that’s fully embedded into the material. Plus, the quality is high resolution consisting of vivid, vibrant colours. Through this process the dye becomes part of the structure of the material, the images on the fabric don’t fade or crack - even after multiple washings.
Benefits of dye-sublimation
Dye-sublimation decorated apparel is detailed, creative and unique. There are no boundaries when it comes to patterns or designs. Dye-sublimation allows us to create any look using graphics that are printed directly onto fabric. Printing colour blocks and graphic elements onto the apparel reduces the layers of materials that are traditionally associated with assembling a cheerleading uniform. This makes our uniforms much more comfortable to wear and maximises athlete performance as it does not restrict movement.
Printing graphic elements also allows us to add fine details into our designs that cannot be achieved with traditional cut and sew methods - which also minimises uniform costs.
Some common requests of dye-sublimation printing is to create an ombre (colour gradient) effect on the panel of fabric. This effect would otherwise be impossible on cut and sew uniforms. Also, it is a common request to have lettering on the sleeves, back, front etc.. These can be added to the design without increasing the cost of your uniforms. Basically, if we can print the graphic element, it is of no extra cost to you!
What colours can we use?
With dye-sublimation, we can print virtually any colour. We use a standard set of printed colours however, if you have a specialty colour that needs to be matched, we can do that as well. We can even print neon colours!
Important facts about dye-sublimation
While there are many benefits to using dye-sublimation, it is important to note that there are also some limitations to this technology. One important limitation with dye-sublimation onto stretch fabrics is the "white" factor. The dye-sublimation process require the inks to be printed onto white fabrics, so when the fabric is stretched too far, the colour may appear to get lighter or faded. This is because, when stretched, you are able to see the white material through the knit. Unfortunately this is the nature of dye-sublimation, as the colour is transferred onto the top of - and not completely through - the fabric. This is much more noticeable when printing a dark colour onto a larger area.
Another limitation with dye-sublimation, is that it can only print flat colours. This means that any elements that need to be neon, metallic or holographic would need to be added using traditional printing methods, which could increase the over all cost of your uniforms.
Please be aware that a true black colour cannot be achieved with dye sublimation as the T-Shirts can only absorb a certain amount of ink. Therefore, black can often not be as saturated as some other colours and may appear ‘off-black’.
While you do need at least 80% polyester fabric to successfully dye sub print, it is better to use 100% polyester because you will attain a superior print if 100% of the fabric accepts the dye when it enters gas form and is inducted into the open polymer pores. Please note that hoodies and jerseys are not a traditional ‘fleece’ fabric please ask to see a sample jersey or hoodie prior to ordering.
Care Instructions for Dye-Sublimated Apparel
Machine wash inside-out with cold water and tumble dry on low heat or line dry. For best results use mild detergent and avoid the use of fabric softener and dryer sheet