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How Do You Get Vibrant Colors When Sublimating?

Sublimation is all about bright, radiant, and vivid colors. I remember the first time I made a personalized image on a mug to give as a gift when I saw how beautiful the sublimation’s vibrant colors were. But at the same time, when someone gifted me a 20 oz sublimation tumbler with a graphic print design, the colors weren’t that bright.

Back then, I wondered ‘why?’ Wait! If you’re reading this article, you may have also wondered or experienced the same. In any case, I found out that several factors contribute to how bright and vivid the colors will be when sublimating.

I have done thorough results only to discover that any print will look dull or not-so-vivid when sublimating in a sublimation paper. Things get different and better when you transfer the print onto the substrate. How so? That’s the power of heat pressing, providing the heat and pressure.

In this article, I will help you learn how to get vivid, vibrant colors when sublimating. So, hold your horses tight, and let’s get started.

How Do You Get Vibrant Colors When Sublimating?

Achieving vibrant colors when sublimating isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But don’t worry because if there’s a will, there’s a way. All you’ll need is the right pieces of equipment and proper knowledge of how to do it (let’s say that part has been taken care of with my article).

For the equipment part, you can check GoBesin as they have a range of sublimation supplies and are among the best places to buy sublimation printers or other items.

I will teach you some basic adjustments to help you achieve brighter and more vibrant prints when sublimating. You’ll have to pay attention to every detail I mention. So, no rush; just keep following my advice, and you’ll be good to go.

Knowing All About The Time & Temperature

My years of practice in sublimating have taught me one thing clearly: Time and temperature play a key role in achieving vibrant colors. When you shift your design and use a heat press to sublimate it, make sure it’s turned on at the ideal temperature (385°F). Let it keep pressing for a time period of 60 seconds.

ATTENTION! Keep a note that temperature settings vary depending on the material you’re working on. That’s because different materials have different temperature requirements for sublimation. In other words, always perform sublimation under the ideal temperature and time to achieve the desired results.

Using The Best Sublimation Printer

The precision and clarity of colors are also influenced by the type of sublimation printer you use. Does ink run out of cartridges in your sublimation printer? Is it an old, outdated model? If so, let me tell you, my friend, you can kiss goodbye to vibrant color results.

So, I will suggest keeping track of the cartridges’ ink levels. Today, several modern, state-of-the-art sublimation printers come with a control panel that displays the ink levels when they start running out. Moreover, every best sublimation printer in the market features color adjustments and printing options.

So, ensure proper configuration of the settings as per your needs. I know budget may be the one issue standing between you and your new sublimation printer. However, you can always explore online sites like Amazon for cheaper sublimation products like printers.

Pressing The Design Craft (Pressure)

To achieve vibrant colors when sublimating, pay attention to the pressure. This is something you may already know. When you apply high pressure to press the craft, you’ll notice the design turns orangish on the material.

But what if you apply low pressure on it? It will result in the design or image’s disclosure. So, what’s the solution? You can do what I always do: apply moderate pressure on the crafts at the ideal temperature that I mentioned above.

Picking The Right Paper 

Now comes another crucial thing to consider one of the most important sublimation supplies – sublimation paper. Most importantly, don’t make the mistake I made at the beginning of my practice year: using poor-quality paper. The quality of your sublimation print will mainly depend on the type of paper you use.

In my experience, I once used transfer paper for sublimation, and the prints came out vibrant and vivid. Later, when I used substrate instead of transfer paper, the result was far better than before. So, you can try this out.

Top-Quality Sublimation Ink Makes a Big Difference!

If the sublimation ink’s quality isn’t good, you may never get the vibrant color result you want. In addition, using the wrong type of ink or poor-quality dye is a big NO if you desire something extraordinary out of your sublimation print.

What I would suggest is asking your supplier about the sublimation ink that is highly compatible with your printer. If not, the internet is always there to help you with answers. (of course, you can request another blog on this topic anytime!)

So, once you get to know your ink quality, you can shift to the next step. But above all, make sure you’re sticking with at least average or above-average quality ink.

Handling The Heat Press Settings: Navigate Pressure, Time & Temperature Settings

Every expert was once a beginner, and so was I. It’s okay if you don’t know how to properly handle or control the heat press settings. Do you face problems with orange and yellow stains?

Even I used to struggle with that on my sublimation projects at first. Furthermore, it took me several months of research to learn the right way. And I will make this easier for you to learn in the most simple and convenient way possible.

Firstly, the stains occur due to overheating and incorrect settings. Above all, different materials demand different heat press temperature settings.

For instance, the temperature settings for cotton won’t apply to polyester. Thus, ensure navigating these settings every time you work on different material. Don’t forget this thing, as failing to do so will adversely impact the vividness of your prints.

For instance, I always recommend the temperature to be set at 380°F. Meanwhile, the settings will be different for other materials or fabrics. I have prepared a heat press settings chart for your better understanding. Save this table, as it will help you with your future projects.

Substrate Pressure (psi)TimeTemperature
Metal40 medium60s – 80s375°F – 400°F
Polyester40 medium45s380°F – 400°F
Soft T-Shirts40 medium35s – 40s380°F – 400°F
UNISUB Products40 medium60s380°F – 400°F
Ceramic Mug40 medium150s – 200s370°F – 400°F
Glass / Ceramic Tile40 medium300s – 720s380°F – 400°F
Sequin Pillow Case40 medium45s – 55s380°F – 400°F
Vapor Apparel40 medium45s – 55s380°F – 390°F
FR Plastic40 medium45s – 90s380°F – 400°F

Note: It may become impossible to recover your garment or design if you mess up with these settings.


In conclusion, I hope this article will help you achieve vibrant and vivid colors when doing sublimation printing for your next projects. Keep following the advice I mentioned here, and there shouldn’t be any issues coming your way. So, all the best!

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