Why does my sublimation look faded? How can I avoid it?

Do your sublimation prints look dull and faded when they come out of the sublimation printer?

There is nothing to worry about.

If the prints are coming out faded from the sublimation printer, here is the answer:

Compared to inkjet or laser printers that offer prints with full color and vibrant inks, sublimation ink will be dull on the sublimation paper. However, once the heat and pressure are applied, you will be able to see the full colors.

If your sublimated prints come out dull after completing the heat press process, you need to double-check the temperature and pressure settings. Too much heat, time, or pressure can fade the colors. You should make sure that you follow the temperature and time settings provided by the sublimation blank manufacturer.

Always check the temperature of the top platen of your heat press to make sure there is no difference between the required and applied temperatures.

Sublimation colors fade over time

How do you keep sublimation from fading?

Even though sublimation printing is one of the best ways to make prints that last and look good for a long time, these prints can fade over time.

Here is how you can keep sublimation prints from fading:

Limit the number of washes

Sublimation printing turns dyes into vapors that become part of the fabric. This means that sublimation prints fade over time, especially after being washed. Washing loosens threads and mixes sublimation dyes with water. Hence, fading the fabric.

You should wash sublimation prints less often. 

Use cold water to avoid fading. The cold water keeps the colors of the print from fading because it keeps the ink from evaporating and mixing with the water.

Avoid direct sunlight.

If your sublimation prints fade after being in the sun for a long time, you should understand why. 

Sublimation printing turns dyes into vapors, making them part of the fabric. The dyes can vaporize again in direct sunlight, intense heat, or UV rays. So, the dyes leave the threads of the fabric and spread out into the air, which makes the print fade.

Sublimation Printed shirts can be worn during the day, but avoid direct sunlight. To keep the print from fading, you shouldn’t dry printed clothes in the sun either.

Do not use low-quality materials

Sublimation prints may fade due to low-quality prints and paper. These materials may fade the print over time due to poor print transfer or durability. 

High-quality prints and paper will prolong your sublimation prints. This costs more upfront but produces longer-lasting, more vibrant prints.

Avoid Double polymer coating

Sublimation prints on non-fabric materials may fade due to multiple polymer coating layers.

If the surface already has a polymer coating and another layer is added during sublimation, the ink may fade faster.

Multiple layers of the polymer coating also increase the sublimation time.

Before sublimating, check things like wood and ceramic to see if they have a polymer coating.

How to keep sublimation from fading

FAQs

What causes blurry sublimation prints?

Low-quality transfer paper is the most common cause of blurry sublimation prints. Images may not transfer properly if the paper is the wrong type or has a low transfer rate.

Sublimation prints can also be blurry for other reasons, like improper printer settings, paper type or weight, printer calibration, and ink saturation. Transfer temperature and substrate issues can also cause it.

How to Fix Banding in Sublimation Printing?

People who need high-quality printing for business or personal projects can be frustrated by sublimation ink banding. Fortunately, this can be fixed easily.

Start by setting your print quality to “best” or “high.” Draft or high-speed settings can cause banding, so avoid them. If your print settings include “high-speed,” disable it.

If this doesn’t work, test your printer’s print quality. These tests can identify ink or printer issues and help you find the best way to fix your sublimation prints.

Why do I get little dark spots on my sublimation print after pressing?

Ink on the printer rollers causes small, dark spots on sublimation prints, especially in lines. Use a lint-free cloth lightly dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the rollers to fix this issue. This removes excess ink and improves print quality.

Why is my sublimation design blurry after pressing?

The sublimation print may have moved during the transfer, causing “ghosting.” To avoid ghosting, use heat-resistant tape on all four sides of your print to secure it.

Remove as much moisture as possible to avoid blurring, unevenness, or fading. To remove moisture, pre-heat your surface for 5–10 seconds before pressing.

Use butcher paper to protect your press and soak up moisture when you press your sublimation print. Avoid Teflon, which traps moisture.

Why does the ink on my paper look so light and dull?

It’s normal for paper ink to be dull and light. Sublimation ink looks lighter and less vibrant before it’s transferred. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer for how to press and transfer your print to see its true colors.

Why do sublimation project colors differ from computer screen colors?

Why do sublimation project colors differ from computer screen colors

Sublimation colors may differ from computer screen colors due to the following reasons:

Color calibration: Different devices may display computer screen colors differently due to color calibration.

Color profiles: Different devices use different color profiles, which affect the color display. 

Substrate: The surface that the sublimation ink is put on can also change how the final color looks. Different materials may absorb the ink differently, resulting in color variations.

Printing process: The printing process can also affect the sublimation project color. Moreover, color variations can be caused by ink and sublimation heat press quality.

How long does sublimation ink last on shirts?

Sublimation ink embeds in shirt fibers and can last up to 10 years. To preserve the ink, avoid washing the shirt too often and exposing it to direct sunlight. Printing the shirt with high-quality materials will also prolong the ink.

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