Mastering Sublimation Transfer Paper
How to use sublimation transfer paper?

Sublimation transfer paper is a key player in the world of sublimation printing, acting as the medium that carries your vibrant designs from a digital file to a physical substrate. Whether you're customizing apparel, creating personalized mugs, or designing unique home decor, understanding how to use sublimation transfer paper effectively is crucial. This detailed guide will walk you through each step of the process, ensuring you get the most out of your sublimation projects.

What Is Sublimation Transfer Paper?

Before diving into the how-to, let's quickly define what sublimation transfer paper is. It's a specially coated paper designed to hold and release sublimation ink when heated. Unlike regular paper, sublimation transfer paper ensures that the ink transforms from a solid to a gas and embeds itself into the substrate's surface, resulting in vibrant, durable prints.

Step 1: Choose Your Design

The first step in using sublimation transfer paper is selecting or creating a design. High-resolution images work best for sublimation printing, as they ensure your final product is sharp and clear. Remember, the design you print will be mirrored onto the substrate, so if it includes text or needs to be oriented in a specific way, you'll need to mirror the image in your design software before printing.

Step 2: Print Your Design

Once your design is ready and mirrored, it's time to print it onto the sublimation transfer paper. Ensure your sublimation printer is filled with sublimation ink and load the transfer paper correctly, usually with the blank side facing down. Use the printer settings recommended for sublimation paper to achieve the best print quality.

Step 3: Prepare Your Substrate

While your design is printing, prepare your substrate for the transfer. If you're working with fabric, make sure it's made of polyester or has a high polyester content, as sublimation ink only binds to polyester fibers. For hard substrates like mugs or coasters, ensure they're coated for sublimation. Pre-pressing the substrate for a few seconds can remove moisture and wrinkles, providing a smooth surface for the transfer.

Step 4: Transfer the Design

After printing, immediately place the sublimation paper onto your substrate, with the printed side facing down. Secure the paper in place with heat-resistant tape to prevent it from moving during the transfer process. Then, place the substrate and paper into your heat press. The temperature, pressure, and time needed will vary depending on the substrate, but a general guideline is 380°F to 400°F (193°C to 204°C) for about 60 seconds under medium to high pressure.

Step 5: Peel and Reveal

Once the time is up, carefully remove the substrate from the heat press. While wearing heat-resistant gloves, peel off the sublimation paper to reveal your transferred design. The result should be a vibrant, high-quality print that's now permanently part of the substrate.

Tips for Success

Quality Matters: Use high-quality sublimation transfer paper and ink to ensure the best possible transfer.

Test and Adjust: Don't be afraid to experiment with different pressure and temperature settings to find what works best for your specific substrate.

Stay Organized: Keep your workspace clean and organized to avoid any accidental smudging or misplacement of your designs.


Using sublimation transfer paper is a straightforward process that opens up endless possibilities for customization and creativity. By following these steps and tips, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of sublimation printing. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't hesitate to experiment with different designs and substrates to see what amazing creations you can come up with.