How to Sublimate T-Shirts: Complete Guide for Beginners {FREE DESIGN}

Everything You Need to Know to Start Sublimating T-shirts {FREE Sublimation Designs}

** Scroll Down to See the List of Equipment and Materials to Need **

Have you decided to enter into the sublimation art and would you like to start sublimating T-shirts? Do not worry! you have come to the right place. Here you will learn the STEP-by-STEP process of how to sublimate T-shirts.

You will learn from what equipment and materials you need to start sublimating t-shirts, to how to print the design and to how to press it. In addition, I will be sharing with you the Valentine’s Day design used in this tutorial.

Como Sublimar Playeras {{GUIA y COMPLETA para Principiantes}}: Equipos y Materiales para Sublimación.

Which Printer Should We Use for Sublimation?

The first thing that will be needed to start sublimating T-shirts is a printer with sublimation ink. I am using an EPSON EcoTank ET-15000 that I have converted and configured to use as a dye-sublimation printer. If you would like to learn how to convert an EPSON printer, press ACA to see the tutorial on how to do this process.

Convertir EPSON Ecotank ET-15000 a Impresora para Sublimación.

You could convert these EPSON EcoTank ET-2720, ET-2750, ET-2760, ET-2800, ET-2830, ET-2850, ET-3710, ET-3760, ET-3850, ET-4800 and ET-8500 printers for sublimation and those print 8.5 “by 11” letter size and some up to legal size.

The advantage of the EPSON EcoTank ET-8550 and ET-15000 is that they are wide format and print in letter, legal, 11 “by 17” and 13 “by 19” sizes.

Among these extensive lists, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. I have already converted three printers for sublimation. An ET-2720 printer that is the cheapest on the market for its price of $ 199.00, an ET-3760 and an ET-15000 and they have all worked perfectly for me.

Convertir EPSON Ecotank ET-15000 a Impresora para Sublimación.
Convertir EPSON Ecotank ET-15000 a Impresora para Sublimación.

What Ink Should We Use for Sublimation?

Before converting and setting up a sublimation printer, I want to emphasize something very important. The ink that comes in the box of the EPSON EcoTank printer IS NOT FOR SUBLIMATION so WE MUST NOT USE IT. You can throw it away, save it for a regular printer, or you can even sell it. But you should not use it. To sublimate we must use special ink for sublimation.

It is very important to choose high quality sublimation ink for a vivid and brilliant printings. I use Hiipoo brand sublimation ink and am very satisfied with its quality. Hiipoo brand ink comes in two types. One package that comes with bottles for filling with syringes and the other that comes with bottles for easy filling. Choose the one that best suits your needs. In addition, they offer a package with bottles in black. Since, in general, the black color is the one that wears out faster than the other colors.

Hiipoo sublimation Ink

What Paper Should We use for Sublimation?

As well as the ink, we must also use special paper for sublimation that is of very good quality. I use A-SUB brand sublimation paper and I am very happy with its quality and price. A-SUB paper does not leave wheel marks after printing, dries fast and its perfect for soft surfaces like polyester fabrics and hard surfaces like ceramic and wood.

A-SUB comes in these different sizes: 8.5 “by 11” letter, 8.5 by 14 “legal, 11” by 17 “, and 13” by 19 “

Asub sublimation ink.

T-Shirt Sublimation Blanks for Sublimation?

The shirts that we need to use for sublimation must be mostly polyester [Preferably 65% polyester onwards]. In addition, these must be in white or very light colors. To customize black and dark colors click here to see the tutorial as the process is very different.

I order these polyester shirts from Amazon, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Cricut and other sites that offer good quality polyester shirts.

¿Which Heat Presses are Needed?

The heat presses help us to transfer images through heat and pressing to the product to be sublimated. These can be t-shirts, mugs, bags, caps, on covers, etc.

If you want a heat press just to sublimate shirts, a flat heat press might work for you. Personally, I think that a heat press that is 15 ” onwards would be better to be able to press designs larger than letter size.

Now if you want to sublimate other items in addition to shirts, a 5-in-1 heat press would be a good investment. With that one You could sublimate, mugs, hats, plates, t-shirts and more.

Choose the one that best suits your needs. I use a 15 “by 15” TUSY brand heat press from Amazon and so far, it has given me good results.

List of Equipment and Materials Needed to Star Sublimating T-Shirts:

T-Shirt Blanks:

FREE Valentine’s Day Sublimation Designs CLICK the Picture or Link Below:

Video Tutorial on how to Sublimate T-Shirts: Complete Guide for Beginners

Step1: Charging the Printer with Sublimation Paper

As I mentioned at the beginning, to sublimate we must use special paper for sublimation and that it is of very good quality. I use A-SUB brand sublimation paper and I am very happy with its quality and price. A-SUB paper does not leave wheel marks after printing, dries extremely fast, has fast transfer properties, perfect for soft surfaces like polyester fabrics and hard surfaces like ceramic and wood.

A-SUB comes in these different sizes8.5 “by 11” letter, 8.5 by 14 “legal, 11” by 17 “, and 13” by 19 “

Asub sublimation ink.

If you are going to use letter-size paper, you can put it in the bottom cassette of the printer and it should go with the printable side facing down. If it is from the sub brand with the letters facing up.

For the other legal sizes of 8.5 by 14 “, 11” by 17 “and 13” by 19 “you must put them on the back of the printer and you must put it with the printable part in front. That is, with the letters facing backwards.

Step 2: Printing the Design

You can use the program you want to print your images. I like to use Inkscape’s free graphic design program. Download the program here.

STEP BY STEP tutorial of how to print from Inkscape here.

Printing Preferences

Open the program and insert the image of your choice. I am going to use one of the images that I have designed. If you would like to use it, click HERE to download it for FREE {There are several sublimation designs you may download for FREE}.

Adjust the size and print with the following printing preferences: Go to file, press print, select the sublimation printer and then click on preferences.

It will open another window.

In paper source – select the one that you are going to use the most. It can be cassette, paper tray or auto select.

In document size select the one that you will be using the most. I will leave it in letter size.

In orientation I will leave it portrait.

In paper type select premium presentation paper matte.

In quality select high.

Select print preview and then press more options.

Here it is very important to select mirror modemirror image and press ok. For sublimation we must always print in mirror mode most of all when we are printing text.

If you wish to predetermine the printing preferences so that you don’t have to do this process every time you print, I recommended that you watch my tutorial on how to do that process here.

Now press ok and print. Before printing you will see the visualization of how it will print it. Make sure this mirror mode and that the design is inside the rectangle and press print.

If the print looks a little pale or dull, don’t worry. Sublimation ink is heat activated. After pressing it you will get vivid and bright colors.

Step 3: Transferring the Design to the T-Shirt

Before applying the design, the surface of the shirt must be cleaned with a lint roller.

Next, place a piece of white packing paper inside the shirt. This is to prevent staining the back of the shirt.

Then align the design and secure it with heat-resistant tape.

The time, temperature and pressure depend on the material you are going to sublimate and also on the brand of sublimation paper you are using. On the back of the ASub sublimation paper box you can find the guide with the temperature, time and pressure that you can use depending on the product to be sublimated.

This shirt is 95% polyester and will press at 400 degrees F for 40 seconds at medium pressure.

Once the 40 seconds are up, remove the paper and tape and you’re done.

It turned out beautiful!! Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

You already have your first t-shirt printed with the sublimated technique. If you liked this design, press ACA to download this and more for FREE from my website.

I hope that with this COMPLETE GUIDE you have been able to learn the whole process of how to sublimate t-shirts. I wish you much success in your new sublimation business. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my YouTube channel so you don’t miss my new tutorials.

Explore the blog on my website. There you can find a wide variety of craft tutorials of all kinds.

Visit me on the following social network sites and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to send me a message.

¡Happy Crafting!!!

Daisy Multifacética.

About: Daisy Multifacetica


This is Daisy from Daisy Multifacética Blog and YouTube Channel. As some of you know I love crafting!  I am passionate about creating a variety of projects at home. One day I can be doing crafts, another day sewing a garment, customizing items, working with wood, painting, designing custom images or cooking for my family. 

My days are definitely not routine but I enjoy them to the fullest doing what I love the most.

It gives me joy to be able to share my knowledge with you through my tutorials and feel blessed to know that they are helpful to you.


Creativity is intelligence having fun

Albert Einstein

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