Dye sublimation is one of the most widely used industrial printing methods that professional printers use to get prints on apparels and non-apparel products. This form of printing is commonly used to make impressions of logos, custom patches and imageries on promo products, such as a mug, pen, or a keychain.
Just like any other form of printing, dye sublimation has its set of glitches that hamper the printing process. In this article, we are going to reveal some of the common issues printers face in dye sublimation and how they can avoid them in order to get a perfect print:
Banding occurs when a print shows blank stripes due to lack of ink. It is a common issue that happens as a result of dried ink or too little ink in the nozzle. The majority of time it is caused by a dried ink which blocks the nozzle and the print doesn’t get enough supply of ink to produce a clear print. So what you see in the final print are missing lines since there is no ink in those areas.
To avoid this issue, you should always check your ink cartridges for any deposits of dried ink and keep changing it with regular intervals. Besides, you should always replenish the old ink with new supply so that you don’t run short of ink during the printing.
Ghosting occurs when you fail to firmly put a transfer paper on a substrate. As a result, it produces a blurry image or shifts the ink outside the image area. To avoid facing such a scenario, you should firmly place a transfer paper on a substrate.
To accomplish this task, you can use a heat-resistant tape that can secure a transfer paper on a substrate so that it doesn’t move during the printing process.
However, you should avoid taping a transfer paper across a substrate or it will botch the entire print. Besides, you should use as minimum a tape as possible so that you can easily remove it immediately after finishing your job. No matter if you are printing t-shirts or custom made patches, a tape can help you fix a transfer paper to a substrate.
3.Not Using a Right Sublimation Paper or Using It Wrongly
Dye sublimation uses a special kind of sublimation paper that is coated on one or both sides. A newbie printer can get confused in buying a sublimation paper since it looks similar to a normal paper that we use in inkjet printing.
To make sure that you have purchased the right paper, you need to check the coating in one or either sides of it. A coated paper has a brighter surface than a normal non-coated A4 paper that we use in paper printing. Therefore, you should keep this difference in mind while buying a transfer paper for a dye sublimation printing job.
Besides, you need to print on the coated side of a sublimation paper to get the desired print. Using uncoated side of the paper will generate a print similar to a paper print.
4.Not Removing the Moisture
Moisture can seriously botch a print during dye sublimation printing process. In apparel printing, a little moisture doesn’t do any harm to a print as it gets absorbed by a polyester garment. But it can spoil a print when you are getting it on a ceramic or metallic product.
To keep your substrate protected from moisture, you should put it on a warm press without pressing it. Similarly, you can prepress a garment if you are using a transfer paper for printing on apparels. Don’t heat for longer time and just press it for 3-5 seconds to remove any moisture on the garment. Keep your transfer paper and apparel in a dry place where they cannot come in contact with humidity.
5.Using Wrong Heat Press Settings
Temperature, pressure and time are three important variables for getting a print on heat press. To get a quality print on a substrate, you need to set the right values of temperature, pressure and time or you will increase chances of spoiling a print.
Different substrates use different heat press settings to get a print. The majority of substrates can heat anywhere between 300°F of 400°F under medium pressure within a time lapse of 30-60 seconds. To ensure that you are using the right printing values, you should check with printing instructions provided by manufacturer of each ensemble in your consignment.
6.Not Printing Accurate Colors
It is quite possible that you get a print on a substrate in royal blue while you intended to print it with a navy blue. This variance in a color shade could happen due to various reasons. Firstly, you need to understand that there is a difference between the colors you see on a computer screen and the ones on a print. The colors on a computer screen appear in RGB format, while the colors on a print appear in CMYK format.
Apart from this difference between mediums of the colors, the discrepancy in tones also occur due to the fusion of ink of a printable color with dye of a substrate. To increase accuracy in printing colors, you should mix and match the color palettes of a print with that of the dye of substrate. This will give you a fair idea of what shades of printable color will work with dye of the substrate.
In addition, you can use color management system like PowerDriver to make your job even easier. With this tool, you can preset color palettes for future projects. After you have mixed and matched the different color palettes, you can then print those colors on a substrate that you can refer for future projects.
To make this process even more scientific, you can use Pantone Color Matching System which is a universally used application to refer specific colors. With this application, you can ask your clients the pantone number for a specific color that you can refer before you print it on a substrate. This will make sure that your client gets a print in the exact colors that he wants.
7.Not Using Polyester
Dye sublimation printing works best on polyester since it easily holds the ink during the evaporation process. Besides, a print on a polyester fabric produces brighter and more vibrant colors than on a non-polyester surface. If you are printing a t-shirt, then polyester is the best material to get a print using dye sublimation printing.
However, if you are using a non-apparel product like a pen, mug or a water bottle, then you should use a polyester fabric to cover the item in order to remove residual steam after the heat pressing.
These are some of the commonly occurred mistakes that printers face during a dye sublimation printing. To get your prints right from start to finish, you should avoid these mistakes during the production stage.