How to Sublimate a T-Shirt with a Heat Press

As you begin with sublimation, there are a lot of queries that may come to your mind and I bet the first one definitely would be “can you sublimate on T-shirts”? Honestly, there are millions of things that you can sublimate and luckily shirt is one of them. So, today we are going to tell you how to sublimate a shirt with the right method and necessary tips and tricks.  

How To Sublimate T Shirts

Before we go into the method, let us mention a few factors. T-shirt sublimation is a method by which you transfer graphics and designs onto the shirt using a heat press. Now, starting from the kind of shirt you are using for sublimation that should be of polyester as sublimation cannot be absorbed in cotton apparel. Then comes the equipment that counts a printer, paper, ink, heat press, lint roll, and butcher paper. Other than that, there are various technicalities that we have explained further in detail so let’s get started.

List of equipment

Although, we have previously mentioned the equipment on how to make sublimation shirts yet here is a quick check so tick mark all the printing equipment listed below. 

  • A sublimation printer (converted or genuine) 
  • Sublimation ink and papers
  • Butcher paper/ cardboard 
  • Heat press
  • Lint roll 
  • Polyester shirts 
  • Tape

How to sublimate a T-shirt: step-by-step

After getting the equipment ready, finalize your sublimation prints for shirts and get them printed using the standard sublimation process. Make sure you are using 100% polyester shirts for sublimation and if not 100% consider at least 75% polyester since they are the best shirts for sublimation. You can also use a bleached shirt. Then, here are the steps for how to sublimate a T-shirt.  

shirt printed using the standard sublimation process
sublimate T-shirt using heatpress
  • Prepare the shirt by ironing them to eliminate all the wrinkles and with the help of a lint roller, get away with all the particles and dust from the shirt. 
  • Take 2 butcher papers or cardboard and place one on the heat press while one inside the shirt. It will help stop the ink from penetrating the backside while protecting the heat press on the other hand. 
  • Put the design on the shirt upside down and stick it with tape and then place the shirt in the pre-heated heat press for about 30 seconds at a 375-400 Fahrenheit temperature. 
  • After getting it heated, remove the sublimation paper carefully, repress the shirt to make the design permanent and you are done with sublimating a shirt!

How to wash sublimated clothing?

After getting your shirt sublimated, the usual washing methods cannot be followed so here we made a few dos and donts to follow each time you are washing your sublimated clothing to long last the design

washing sublimated T-shirts
  • Always use cold water to wash the shirt and a cool environment to get it dry 
  • Use detergents powders for cleaning. 
  • Never use a brush on the sublimated shirts.

In case of errors, check our article “How to remove Sublimation Inks from Shirts” and get back the blank shirt to sublimate again.

Commonly asked questions

The prints will be messier and don’t have a solid color in the first case. Even if you manage to get the prints on cotton fabric, the design will be fade real quick.

The rule with sublimation shirts is, the more the polyester vibrant will be the results. However, that does not restrict you from using a mixed fabric especially if you like a little faded or retro type prints, you can absolutely opt for a 50-50 shirt. However, you must be careful with the washing procedure then.

If you are using other material than polyester then your sublimation print monster likely goes away. In addition, harsh washing methods also have a bad effect on the sublimation shirts.

A shirt that you have to perform sublimation on can be called a sublimated shirt. Though, for a sublimated shirt, proper instruction must be followed for the upkeep and maintaining the quality of the design.


By the end of this article, we’re quite sure that you have got all your answers regarding “how to sublimate a shirt”. Just don’t overheat it and make sure the color you are using is white or a lighter color since sublimation differs when using dark shirts. So, collect the pretty designs and start sublimation printing on t-shirts today!


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