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Materials to Make An Sublimation Shirt

Learn how easy it is to DIY a stunning sublimation T-shirt with pretty, long-lasting results!

Are you eager to create custom T-shirts featuring designs of your own choice? This guide on sublimation T-shirts is the perfect starting point! Although I have a fondness for shirts made with layered heat transfer vinyl, there are times when I crave a distinct aesthetic and texture. Given the widespread popularity of DIY, achieving stunning outcomes becomes a breeze once you master the fundamentals of sublimation for shirts. Paying attention to certain specifics is crucial, but fear not—I’ve conducted extensive experiments so you don’t have to. By drawing on my exploratory work, you'll be equipped to craft your own exquisite sublimation transfer shirts.

Watch the full, step-by-step tutorial on How to Make a Sublimation T-Shirt:

The process of printing sublimation on T-shirts is incredibly intriguing! It might seem daunting at first, but it’s quite straightforward. Essentially, heat activates specific sublimation dyes and papers. This causes the inks to vaporize and permeate the surface in mere seconds. What's remarkable is that the printed designs integrate into the fabric of the shirt, making them indistinguishable by touch!

Even better, you can transfer any design that your printer can produce! This means you can use high-quality PNG files, whether they are your own designs, downloaded for free from Kamo website templates, or obtained through purchase from other sites.

Firstly, begin with a white T-shirt having no more than 30% cotton for your initial sublimation project. To practice, consider using scrap fabric of similar material.

You'll need a sublimation or inkjet printer loaded with sublimation ink. I personally use the Epson EcoTank L3253, filled with sublimation ink, for designing my son’s sports shirts. Make sure to use compatible sublimation ink and paper; I prefer Kamo ink and paper.

Pick your favorite design that you want to transfer onto a T-shirt. I downloaded mine from the Kamo website.

Choose "Mirror Printing" setting and print.

Place the side with the design facing the T-shirt.

Remember, sublimation involves high heat. Therefore, you cannot use a regular iron but need an EasyPress, a heat press machine, or a Cricut Autopress.

For T-shirt sublimation, the process requires activation at 400°F (200°C), and pressing for around 60 seconds with medium pressure.

Be cautious of the ink vapor—it can transfer to surrounding areas and pose a health risk if inhaled directly. Always work in a well-ventilated space, with open windows and a fan, to disperse fumes.

Congratulations! You have successfully made a T-shirt.

GARMENT WASHING TIPS

  • Wait 24 hours before washing at the first time.
  • For the best result, turn the garment inside out.
  • Wash garment separately from others (First time only).
  • Machine wash in cool water setting. Do not dry clean.
  • Try not to rub the transferred pattern with force.
  • Do not iron directly on the design.

I'm excited to see your creations using these techniques and my free designs! Embark on making your sublimation T-shirt with this guide and unlock endless creative potential. You're going to enjoy it!