Sublimation or dye-sublimation uses computer generated images that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as a plastic, card, paper, or fabrics. This approach has been around for some time but with better technology and expanded use the costs have come down significantly. Additionally, lead times for delivery are now often in line with typical screen printing options. Sublimation allows for high grade and multi-color images as well as all over printing capability.
As compared to classic spot screen printing, sublimation is viewed as a more technically driven product and provides more “bang for the buck”, especially as compared to spot printing with multiple placements, logos, and things like custom names and numbers. With sublimation, there is less chance of process failures – the ink doesn’t crack or fade, numbers don’t fall off over time like heat pressed vinyl, and the process allows for a wide variety of fabrics from lightweight to fleece weighted polyester. An additional advantage is this process does allow for single piece add ons and/or replacement pieces to be ordered at a later date.
With little additional set up required these single piece add ons are often the same price as the original order or with minimal increases whereas the set up to replicate one screen printed jersey could easily cost in excess of $50 in set up costs alone. If you are looking for custom uniforms or designs with multiple colors, unique colors, or desire multiple placements, sublimation should be considered. Sublimated team gear can range from jerseys, pants, socks, fronts of hats, polos, and much, much more.
This video shows the rolls of fabric and process – the fabric would then be cut and sewn into the desired garment.
American Football Jersey Examples:
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