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How to sublimate linen products

by karl Brydges on June 25, 2024

Sublimation blank linen drawstring bag

Guide to Sublimating Linen Products


Sublimation printing is a popular method for transferring designs onto various substrates, including fabric. While polyester is the most common material used in sublimation, linen can also be sublimated with excellent results. This guide will walk you through the process of sublimating linen products, including the necessary materials, preparation steps, and tips for achieving the best results.

Materials Needed
1. Linen Products: Ensure the linen is prepared for sublimation (preferably a blend with a high polyester content).
2. Sublimation Printer: Equipped with sublimation ink.
3. Sublimation Paper: Specially coated for sublimation.
4. Heat Press: Preferably with adjustable pressure and temperature settings.
5. Heat-Resistant Tape: To secure the sublimation paper to the fabric.
6. Parchment Paper or Teflon Sheets: To protect the heat press and prevent ink transfer.
7. Lint Roller: To remove any debris from the linen surface.
8. Protective Gloves: To handle hot materials safely.

Step-by-Step Process

1. Design Preparation
  • Create or Select Your Design: Use graphic design software to create or choose a design that suits your linen product. Remember, sublimation works best with bright and vibrant colors.
  • Print the Design: Print your design onto sublimation paper using a sublimation printer. Ensure the design is mirrored (flipped horizontally) so that it transfers correctly.

2. Preparing the Linen
  • Clean the Fabric: Use a lint roller to remove any lint or debris from the linen. This helps to avoid imperfections in the transfer.
  • Pre-Press the Linen: Place the linen in the heat press for a few seconds to remove moisture and wrinkles, which can affect the sublimation process.

3. Aligning the Design
  • Position the Design: Place the printed sublimation paper face down onto the linen fabric. Use heat-resistant tape to secure it in place and prevent shifting.
  • Cover with Parchment Paper or Teflon Sheet: This will protect the heat press and prevent ink from transferring where it’s not wanted.

4. Heat Press Settings
  • Temperature: Set the heat press to 180-190°C). The exact temperature may vary based on the specific linen product and sublimation ink.
  • Time: Set the timer for 60-80 seconds. Adjust according to the results and specific product.
  • Pressure: Use medium pressure to ensure even transfer without damaging the fabric.

5. Transferring the Design
  • Press the Linen: Close the heat press and start the timer. Ensure even pressure is applied across the entire design.
  • Remove the Paper: Once the time is up, carefully open the heat press and remove the sublimation paper while the fabric is still hot.

6. Post-Press Care
  • Cool Down: Allow the linen to cool down completely before handling it further.
  • Inspect the Design: Check the transfer for any imperfections or areas that didn’t transfer well. If needed, repeat the process with adjustments to temperature, time, or pressure.

Tips for Best Results
  • Use High-Quality Linen: For the best results, use linen products specifically designed or treated for sublimation.
  • High Polyester Content: Linen blends with a higher polyester content (at least 50%) will yield more vibrant colours.
  • Consistent Pressure: Ensure that the heat press applies even pressure across the entire design to avoid ghosting or uneven transfers.
  • Experiment with Settings: Different linen products may require slight adjustments to the heat press settings. Keep a record of what works best for each type of product.

  • Faded Colours: Increase the temperature or time slightly.
  • Blurry Images: Ensure the sublimation paper is securely taped to prevent shifting and check the pressure.
  • Ink Spots: Use a lint roller thoroughly and cover the fabric with clean parchment paper or a Teflon sheet.

Sublimating linen products can produce beautiful, vibrant results with the right preparation and technique. By following this guide and experimenting with your specific materials, you can achieve professional-quality sublimation on linen. Happy sublimating!