Can you Sublimate on Nylon? A Comprehensive Guide to Sublimating Nylon

While sublimation is naturally a polyester-related process, nylon, being closely related, gives shocking outcomes when used for sublimation. Recently, as of the increasing fabric sublimation margins, we’ve received at least a million queries all of which were “can you sublimate on nylon”? And we guess if you’re the one asking that, you’ve ruined your press with the melted nylon or are too scared to try it out.

Can you Sublimate on Nylon

Technically, Nylon is a polyamide-based synthetic fabric, providing some unique benefits that make it ideal for sublimation projects–if you know the right process. A minor mistake–and you’ll bear the loss of your press, material, and efforts. So, cutting off the crap, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sublimating nylon, from choosing the right fabric to ensuring the best results. Starting from the root, that’s…

Can you Sublimate on Nylon?

The success of sublimation on nylon depends upon the “type of nylon and temperature.” Nylon melts easily within 5 seconds under heat transfer because it can’t withstand high temperatures. A low temperature (up to 300 F or 180 C) can ensure successful nylon sublimation. However, a special type of nylon, i.e., Nylon 6 and 7, gives accurate results that most industrial print agencies use.

Nylon has a melting point of 515.9°F, and that’s quality nylon. Low-quality nylon or beyond level 7 can’t even withstand 400 F, and the average for sublimation is 400 F. That’s the reason for most nylon sublimation failures. Now, what do industries do for nylon sublimation? They treat nylon with dye-absorbing additives. This way is free from risks and low-quality transfer.

Now with a 300 F, the quality might not be so great. However, the secret is to use the low temperature for a longer time. Also, the equipment may be different so let’s jump to the process of…

How to sublimate nylon?

In simple words, the process of sublimating nylon is

  • Treat nylon with any dye-absorption additive (optional).
  • Prepare your design. Use high-contrast colors if possible.
  • Use high-density ink and thick sublimation papers.
  • Lint-roll nylon and adhere the design upside down.
  • Preheat the heat press.
  • Place parchment paper on the top and on the press machine.
  • Heat nylon at 300 F for 10 minutes.

Let’s try the process and tell you the results:

To verify the authenticity of the method, we got from our industrial research; we hand-tested it on 3 different nylon types.

  • Nylon 7
  • Nylon 66
  • Pre-treated nylon with dye

Prepare the design:

Prepare the design

We had inks from Sawgrass Sublijet UHD and used the same brand’s papers and printer. Preparing the design was an easier task. You can make it from any design software you like–we use photoshop, though. Since we were making three samples, we printed three designs, which took us just 7 minutes.

Getting nylon ready:

We got the nylon treated from the outside; it’s practically impossible to do that at home. If you’re commercially sublimating nylon, then you should go for this. Otherwise, see the alternatives, which are nylon 7 and above that. Although here’s something tragic. Nylon 7 has a 215 C melting point, while nylon melts at a higher temperature of 265 C. Still, the former has great transfer results despite less resistance.

Assembling the design on nylon:

Assembling the design on nylon

Followed by lint rolling all three shirts, we assembled the design onto the shirts using heat-resisting tape–and it’s a must-follow step. Nylon is kind of silky, and the design will slip; otherwise makes wrinkles if you don’t use the heat-resisting tape.

Pre-heat the heat press:

Pre-heat the heat press

On one side, when we were getting the shirt ready, we kept our press on 300 F and heated it for 5 minutes. Afterward, we covered the entire area with parchment paper as a safety in case anything went wrong.

Heating:

Finally, we kept the three shirts separately. Here’s how we kept the settings.

  • 250 F for nylon 66; for 10 minutes.
  • 200 F for nylon 7; for 8 minutes
  • 400 F for treated nylon; for 5 minutes

Results:

Spoiler alert: nylon 66 melted. Maybe the temperature was too high, but we tried that again after a while at 200 F, and it still had the same results, so not recommended. Nylon 7 has vintage-touch outcomes. Felt like the color has faded away. However, the design was considered and also had great washability. Last comes the treated nylon, which turned out as expected. The colors and fabric were fine. If we ever wanted to sublimate nylon, treated nylon is where we’d go and will suggest you the same.

Wrap up:

In conclusion, yes, you can sublimate nylon! Just be sure to use a synthetic-specific transfer paper and lower your temperature slightly to prevent damage to the fabric. And don’t forget – less is more when it comes to ink! Too much ink will cause problems when sublimating onto nylon.

But we still hold a different opinion about nylon sublimating. Sublimation, no doubt, is a prior option when it comes to fabric printing. But nylon is still risky. So, it’s better to use screen printing if you’re not that professional. However, with our guide and tips, we’re sure you’ll nail your nylon with amazing results. Now get your nylon shirts or hoodies and start sublimating today!

Emily

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