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Dye sublimation


Direct transfer (dye sublimation) printing

Dye sublimation is the process of transferring ink from one surface to another, using heat. Dye sublimation has been in use for years, mainly for industrial textile printing, but with the introduction of  portable heat presses, it is becoming a popular way to decorate clothing (eg t-shirts), other fabrics and just about any other material that can be coated with polymer primer (eg mugs, plates, tiles, key-rings etc).


Direct transfers (sublimation) vs iron-on transfers...

Iron-on transfers can be used for similar application as dye sublimation, but the processes are quite different.

Iron-on transfers (t-shirt transfers) are special adhesive sheets which are ironed onto the blank (after printing) with heat. The transfer sheet STAYS glued to the fabric. You can use almost any printer and ink to print reasonable quality transfers, but for more permanent and professional looking prints, use an Epson printer and HT (high temperature) ink.

Note: HT ink doesn't "burn" as readily as regular inkjet ink, colours don't change when heat is applied and the print is more permanent as well.  Contact us for more info and/or to buy HT ink, transfer paper etc (not listed here yet).

Dye sublimation (direct transfer DT) images are printed onto special sublimation (or similar) paper, which is then heated and pressed against the blank for pre-set time. This causes some of the ink to vaporize, permeate the fabric and stick to it's fibres. The "thermal transfer" sheet is then DISCARDED.  Scroll down to buy dye sublimation ink. 


Equipment required for dye sublimation. You will need a printer capable of printing with dye-sub (DT) ink and a heat press. Before buying anything, work what out exactly (and how much of) you want to sublimate. There is little point in buying a wide format printer for example and 5in1 heat press, if all you want to produce is few printed coffee mugs. You may find it easier to start small and upgrade as your business grows.

Printer: Must be inkjet (eg Epson, Brother, Ricoh). Any model will do, as long as there are refill friendly cartridges available for it. If you can afford A3 Epson printer, they're generally better built and will last much much longer.

Tip: If you only need to sublimate few things every now and again, want to save few dollars and already have an Epson printer, there is no reason why you couldn't use it for regular printing as well as dye sublimation.  All you need then is a second set of refill friendly ink cartridges (& dye-sub ink set).

Heat press:
What you want to sublimate will determine what type and size press you need. Basic models start from around $200 or you can spend as much as several thousand dollars on a fully automatic high volume press. Multi function (3in1 and 5in1) units take up less space and cost less than buying individual units. Work out what you NEED !

Note: We no longer supply heat presses due to prohibitive freight costs. 

Ink: DT (direct transfer or sublimation) ink is unique and you can not use "normal" inkjet ink. It will not transfer. There can be considerable differences between sublimation inks from different sources. Some inks sublimate at higher temperatures than others, which can make them unsuitable for certain (heat sensitive) applications.  Contact us for more info or to buy Direct Transfer (DT) ink.

Paper: Good quality DT ink should transfer pretty well from plain (copy) paper and that's really all you need for many applications. If you need higher colour intensity and/or better resolution, use sublimation paper. You will also need some heat resistant tape for attaching the transfer to your blank (masking tape works ok).

Tip: High resolution paper works almost as well as sublimation paper and is cheaper. 

Other supplies:  The range of blanks available for sublimating is huge these days and includes mugs, glasses, plates, key rings, aluminium board, puzzles, mouse pads, bedding, bags, baseball caps, towels, t-shirts, tiles and many more.

Contact us for more information. 



Black & colour dye sublimation ink 1L

Premium quality "Inktec" brand dye sublimation (direct transfer) ink for Epson printers - 1000ml (1L) 

Select the colours you need from the "colour" dropdown menu then click "add to cart" to order

Note: LC and LM (light cyan & light magenta) ink for use in 6 colour photo printers only.


QTY: colour

Dye sublimation paper A4

Transfer paper for dye sublimation (DT)

100 sheets x A4

Inktec brand 


Dye sublimation paper A3

Transfer paper for dye sublimation (DT) 

100 sheets x A3

Inktec brand 




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