What is Dye Sublimation?
The basic dye sublimation process uses special heat-sensitive dyes to print graphics, text and virtually any image onto special transfer paper. The transfer paper is then placed on the desired product and both are placed into a heat press.
When the heating cycle is completed, the image on the paper has been transferred to the fabric and has actually bonded with the fabric at the molecular level. You may run your finger across the surface of a sublimated garment and you will feel nothing but the fabric.
Dye sublimation is always done on a polyester, polymer, or polymer-coated item. At high temperature, the solid dye vaporizes into a gas without ever becoming a liquid. The same high temperature opens the pores of the polyester fabric and allows the dye vapor to enter. When the temperature cools, the pores close and the gas reverts to a solid state trapping the dye into the fiber of the fabric. It has now become a permanent part of the fabric.
This is why dye sublimation is not used on natural materials, such as 100% cotton. Natural fibers and non-coated materials which have no "pores" to open cannot accept the gas vapor. The dye particles are designed to bond with polyester, and ignore everything else.
Dark materials cannot be used with the sublimation process so all of our dye sublimated apparel are solid white. Dye sublimation Images cannot be removed like images on shirts decorated with screen printing. Again, this is not ink that sits on top of the fabric; it is a dye that penetrates and bonds with the fiber of the fabric. This is why the images on all of our dye sublimated apparel will never fade, crack or peel.
Polyester sublimated shirts are very lightweight and breathable. We think these are the most comfortable garments you can wear in hot weather.