Why is My Sublimation Not Transferring?

Sublimation printing is a popular method for customizing all kinds of products, from t-shirts and mugs to cell phone cases and sunglasses.

Unlike other printing techniques that use ink that adheres directly to the surface of an object, sublimation printing involves transferring dye onto the product using heat.

But sometimes, things can go wrong. In this post, we are going to discuss why is my sublimation not transferring, and how to prevent this problem in the first place.

Sublimation Process

Sublimation is a popular printing process used by business and DIYers.
The sublimation process is when a solid object such as paper is transferred onto a polyester fabric. It uses dye crystals which then allows for a more vivid and rich color.

The sublimation process causes the dye molecules to change states from a solid to a gas and then back into a solid again within the material of the object.

This results in a beautiful and vibrant print that looks like it’s part of the fabric or material itself.

Additionally, unlike most other printing methods, sublimation prints are resistant to fading and scratching, making them ideal for long-lasting everyday items like t-shirts and mugs.

So, if you are looking for a fun way to customize your accessories, a sublimation print might just be the perfect solution!

What Causes Your Sublimation Print to Not Transfer?

Sublimation printers are a fantastic alternative for individuals who want to print high-quality photos on a variety of materials.

They use unique inks that are applied to the substrate through heat and pressure, unlike other methods.

The process involves applying heat to the vinyl, causing the image to be permanently etched into the substance, resulting in a long-lasting and durable finish.

You will need some practice using this kind of sublimation printer, but the benefits are well worth it.

Read More: Sublimation Machines for Shirts. Here are the best sublimation printers!

Your Printer Is In Need of Repair, Or Your Ink Has Run Out

 Most of the time, it's a combination of the print and the sublimation transfer paper. These papers have a melting point which is different from your printer's temperature.
Most of the time, it’s a combination of the print and the sublimation transfer paper. These papers have a melting point that is different from your printer’s temperature.

If the image is partially transferring, specific portions are missing, or you notice lines throughout the print, your printer may need some regular maintenance.

A clogged print head, for example, might result from a lack of toner or damage to the printer.

It might be something as simple as needing new ink cartridges or something more serious like a blocked print head.

Regardless, there are a few things you can do before bringing your printer in for service.

The first thing you should do is run a print head cleaning cycle found in your printer’s settings menu.

If that does not improve the quality of your prints, consider running a nozzle check.

This will allow you to identify any clogged nozzles so that they can be cleaned out.

Read More: Best Sublimation Ink. We reviewed the best inks for sublimation in this guide!

The Heat Press Is Either Too Cold Or Too Hot

Another issue that you may run into, is that your sublimation design may only be transferred to half of the image.

One possibility for this problem is that your transfer paper has not been fully utilized.

If the adhesive layer is not used up completely, it will not uniformly distribute the dye and lead to patchy transfers with only parts of the picture showing up clearly.

Another cause is that you may need to change the calibration of your printer to better match the manufacturer’s ink density requirements.

Or, it could be that your photo does not have enough contrast or color saturation, thus there isn’t enough “jump” for complete sublimation transfer.

By taking these variables into account and paying close attention to the printer calibration settings, you will achieve a complete and even sublimation print.

The Colors Are Incorrect Because Of Your Color Settings

Your home printer is finally printing again after months of neglect!

However, the colors aren’t coming out quite right.

Or maybe they are, but they’re not as vibrant as you remember.

Either way, there are a few things you can do to improve your print quality.

What this video on common sublimation printing problems and how to fix them:

Steps To Ensure Your Sublimation Print Transfers Successfully

Alter Your Presses Temperature

There are other occasions when the transfer will be discolored, half-pressed, or ghosting. If this happens, it is probably because your heat presses temperature is too low.

  • If the press is not adjusted for the material you are using, it will not transfer all of the ink.
  • If the temperature isn’t suitable for the blank, the ink will fail to transfer fully.

By making sure the temperature is appropriate for your blank canvas should fix the problem.

If your heat press is too hot, it can cause the image to burn and appear faded.

As a result, you may believe that you haven’t properly transferred the picture.

Adjust the position of your photo

 You may not be happy with the placement of your sublimation print. Small changes to the positioning of the photo can make a big difference in the look of your finished product.
You may not be happy with the placement of your sublimation print. Small changes to the positioning of the photo can make a big difference in the look of your finished product.

When you are sublimating an image, make sure the paper and whatever you are transferring it to are tightly joined together.

If there is a space between the two, the image will not be transferred correctly.

To guarantee a successful transfer, the heat from the sublimation process must be evenly dispersed.

Any gaps and the heat will escape and the image will not be transferred correctly.

If you are using a reusable or non-stick piece of cling film, make sure it is on your workspace to protect it from the sublimation machine’s heat.

If you do not use something to protect your work surface, you may wind up with a catastrophe and an unsuccessful transfer.

Final Thoughts

There are a number of reasons why the printer may not be printing your sublimation design correctly, such as not transferring at all, or just partially.

Making sure you clean your sublimation printer on a regular basis and check to make sure the ink has not dried out will help.

Additionally, you can play around with the temperature of the printer, make sure the paper is correctly positioned on it, and double-check your color options.

All of these precautions help ensure that your sublimation printer is transferring properly.

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