What is sublimation printing

What is Sublimation Printing? Everything You Need To Know

Personalizing and customizing items of clothing and products like custom hats has become a flourishing and robust industry in recent years. Designing mugs, custom hats, and other relevant accessories items have turned into an important social signature for many people. (It’s also a way to stand out as a brand).

There are various ways to give your belongings a touch of your own personality, but in this particular article, we will introduce and discuss one of the most economical and reasonable methods for printing on custom hats or any other accessory for that matter.

For those of you not in the know, let us first talk about the nature of sublimation printing. What is this strange, peculiar and creative method of printing that you may have heard about before?

Sublimation Printing

As many of you might recall from your science class in school, sublimation is the process of matter transitioning from solid to gas while skipping through the liquid state altogether.

The so-called sublimation printing is, in fact, exercising this chemical process with specially designed inks that directly turn from solid form to gaseous state when a specific amount of heat and pressure is applied with heat pressed on a specifically made sublimation paper. The heat will initiate the process and the pressure will be the controlling factor.

Too technical? Well, don’t worry. Think about it like this.

The sublimation printing process is essentially allowing the ink to penetrate and transfer to the components of your product through sublimation paper.

Is Sublimation Printing Permanent?

Once the sublimation ink is completely transferred to the designated substrate, it will reverse back to its solid state to gift you with a permanent design on your product of choice, great for custom hats.

Now you may be wondering, how is it possible for the outline to be permanently embedded into the product? The answer is simple. With sublimation printing, the ink is not only on the surface of the material, but it’s woven into its very fabric.

Not only does it allow for durability, but the idea of “woven into its very fabric” allows for vibrancy in the color after printing. Talk about a win-win.

Sublimation Printing Custom Hats

Custom hats are specifically popular when it comes to sublimation printing, as they highlight the importance of uniqueness for their owners whenever and wherever they decide to wear them.

A lot of people worry about the fact that with other methods of making custom hats, the integrity of the design is always compromised, one way or another.

Sublimation printing has two advantages when it comes to designing custom hats.

  1. You won’t have to worry about the longevity of the design, as it is going to permanently remain on your product.
  2. You can be assured that your design will be implemented with sufficient accuracy, as opposed to other traditional methods.

Speaking of which, why should you choose this method over traditional ways of customizing personal items?

Benefits of Sublimation Printing

Here are some of the pros of sublimation printing when compared to traditional methods.

Range & Limit

The most significant difference between sublimation printing and traditional printing methods (inkjet printers or toner technologies), apart from the issue with color fading, is that they don’t enter a gaseous state and are constricted to liquid and solid forms of matter.

More importantly, in sublimation printing, the range of colors is unlimited, whereas in inkjet every drop of ink is limited to the range of colors installed in the printer. Without any limit to color variations, creating custom hats with sublimation printing, you can choose any color you can think of.

When you are utilizing the method of sublimation printing, you don’t have to worry about your print cracking and peeling. With every wash, your custom hats are sure to stay consistent from the quality of colors and durability of the print itself.


To top it all off, using a sublimation printer has a few environmental benefits too! One huge advantage is the fact that sublimation printing does not utilize water in any step of the process, so it won’t produce any waste or residue. (Which means less clean up too).

In addition to that, the dye used in sublimation is highly sustainable and safe for both the workers who are exposed to it and the environment in which it is used. The key takeaway here is that those working in factories in your company are safe from harmful effects that other methods may have.

If you or your company is eco-friendly be sure to dive into sublimation printing or have it as an option to choose from, it’s worth the research.


If you are one of those people who are particular with their needs and want everything in perfect detail, sublimation printing is going to be your best choice since there will be no resolution or color loss.

When designing custom hats, if you have a lot of detail in your design, sublimation printing might be your best bet. You won’t be able to get high amounts of detail with other methods like inkjet printers.

This merit is especially useful for business practices, as you can print your office, company, factory, and etc. logo on any object you choose for advertising and promoting your brand or business in a classy and detailed manner.

Disadvantages of Sublimation Printing

As tempting as it is to obsess over the beauty and advantages of sublimation printing, let us move on to some downsides and cons that come with it.


First of all, this method can be only applied on completely polyester made fabrics, or products that have a special coating for sublimation printing. This means you can’t choose any old mug, key chain or hat fabric you’d like from a store and put a sublimated print on it.

But that shouldn’t be a cause of concern, because thanks to the popularity and widespread usage of this printing method, there are plenty of items and products for you to choose from in stores.

Color of the Substrate

Another limitation is the transparency of the sublimation ink which means that you can’t really use it on dark-colored apparels and substrates, unless you want to sacrifice delicacy for the sake of taste and preference.

The same could be said about the color white, but in this case, there is a chance that the presence of moisture or folded fabric can lead to white creases or lack of accuracy in the printing.


Is Sublimation Printing Right for Your Custom Hats?

With the examination of such qualifications out of the way, it is safe to assume that sublimation printing is a method better suited for those who are looking for unique and seamless designs on their custom hats.

Ask yourself these questions before considering sublimation printing. Is your design to complex and detail oriented? Do you consider eco-friendly solutions for your custom hats and products? Is durability and hat fabric something you must consider?

If you’ve answered yes to those questions, it may be a good idea to consider sublimation printing for next custom hat design. If you’re considering sublimation printing for your next run of custom hats, don’t be afraid to reach out on our form here.

We know the whole process and with that, we’re able to help anyone looking for custom hats. Let us take care of you at Delusion MFG. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can read out fully in depth article about the differences between blank hats and custom hats.

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