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Sublimation Printing on Tote Bags: How to Avoid Burning and Other Common Mistakes

April Cole |

Sublimation tote bags are a great way to express your creativity and have some fun. However, sometimes things don't go as planned and you may run into some common sublimation printing problems.

This can be frustrating and stressful, but don't worry - there are solutions to these issues. After reading this blog, even if you don’t know how to print, you will avoid all possible mistakes! So, let's get started! Sublimation is a popular printing method that allows for vibrant and long-lasting designs on a variety of materials. However, like any printing process, there are some common problems that can arise. In this blog post, we'll explore the most common sublimation problems that many people have experienced. 

What is Sublimation Printing

It is important to understand the process of avoiding mistakes. First of all, how is sublimation printing defined? Using pressure and heat (often between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit), sublimation printing tries to transfer an image from sublimation paper onto a fabric or substance. Turning the ink's solid particles into gas is a simple and inexpensive way for businesses and individuals to put their own touches on items.

Sublimation Tote Bags Tote Bag Factory

Because of the superior quality of the finished product, sublimation tote bag printing has gained in popularity in recent years. As with any kind of printing, though, learning the ins and outs of design (via videos or instructions like this one) is a prerequisite to getting your hands dirty. In case you're curious about the mechanics of sublimation printing, I've laid out the procedure step-by-step for you.

White creases or ghosting patterns might appear on designs if the technique is carried out incorrectly. Always try out a few patterns first to get a feel for the equipment and see how the designs will turn out on fabric before committing to a large order. Starting with a basic pattern is preferable to trying to cover the entire fabric at once. When you're comfortable with the basics, you can branch out into more complex works of art.

Proper Banding

Banding, or streaks of white or other colorless ink on the printed page, is the most common issue with digital inkjet printers. Clogged print head nozzles are the most common cause of this issue, which results in obvious ink-missing streaks on the printed page. Banding in prints happens as the ink dries inside the print heads.

The likelihood of encountering banding difficulties decreases the more frequently you print, even if it's just once a week. Some vendors recommend daily checks for their customers. If you want to keep the ink from drying out in the printer, you should run the machine. You can keep the printer's heads clean by using the head cleaning feature on a regular basis. This is performed mechanically by some printers. When it comes to other printers, though, you'll have to clean the print heads by hand.

Banding is an issue that could be caused by a number of factors, including but not limited to clogged print heads or a lack of ink. In that scenario, check your printer ink levels to make sure you have enough.

Paper Causing Ghosting

Tote Bag Factory Sublimation Tote Bag

Ghosting can occur if the paper moves about, is not firmly planted against the heat press, or if the inks are not dry during the pressing process. When the print comes out fuzzy and has a shadowy appearance, this is called ghosting. Any printing efforts made by manufacturers are rendered useless when ghosting occurs, and this certainly adds a burden in terms of both time and money. To avoid this to have mistakes on the polyester tote bag for sublimation, check that the ink is dry and that the transfer paper fits snugly against the substrate.

In a perfect world, the substrate would stick to transfer papers designed for large-format printing. The transfer will be carefully and rapidly brought to the surface for lifting. Transfer paper, on the other hand, is firmly adhered to the substrate and does not slide along the surface of the substrate, hence preventing ink overflow and producing superior results free of ghosting.

Drying Problems

Damage can be done if the ink doesn't dry properly. Paper that hasn't had enough time for the ink to dry before being run through a heat press runs the risk of having the ink bleed, ghost, or change colors throughout the printing process.

You should take precautions to prevent the transfer paper from absorbing any moisture in this situation. Keep your transfer paper in a cool, dry spot.  Keep transfer paper in its original packaging for maximum freshness. In this way, the paper will be safe from the elements. At least 24 hours should pass between setting the paper and using it, giving it time to adjust to the surrounding environment. Contrarily, if the humidity is too high, then you should utilize devices to maintain a steady level of moisture in your printing and storing space. Although, keep in mind that 25 C with 45% relative humidity is the optimal working conditions for sublimation printing. Your printing equipment and ink will reach a more stable, high-performance state.

Issues with the Consistency of Transfer Papers

TBF Sublimation Printing on Tote Bags

Because we regularly buy transfer papers from the market that are of low quality and have not been tested, maintaining quality consistency is a big challenge for us. The reason for this is that the quality of different sheets might vary substantially from one another. Paper mills are unable to provide quality assurance for their products due to this factor. This may damage the sublimation printing on tote bags.

When there is repetition in a piece of art, color concerns become obstacles that cannot be overcome. The best method to resolve this matter is to form a partnership with reliable paper providers. Manufacturers of transfer paper that have foresight enter into long-term partnerships with well-known brands from around the world in order to assure supplies of raw materials. Therefore, there has been no change in the overall quality. If they use only papers that are manufactured by recognized companies that are of a high quality and are also friendly to the environment, sublimation printers are able to completely sidestep the issue of consistency.

Using Incorrect Output Colors

The issue of colors that do not match up correctly is not just due to a faulty system; rather, it is caused by a combination of several other factors. The computer monitor uses the RGB color mode, but the printer uses the CMYK color mode. This is the first and most important difference. In addition, the final color can only be achieved through sublimation after a further pressing step.

Because of this, it is probably a waste of time to try to match the color. It is in everyone's best interest to make absolutely certain that the appropriate color management settings are being applied in order to guarantee that the end output will have accurate colors. Numerous RIP software packages include free color management capabilities in their own packages. You can get a RIP application, which will enable you with highly accurate capabilities for managing color and controlling production. This will allow you to perform more advanced color management.

Sublimation Printing Tote Bag Factory

Paper Curling

One of the biggest challenges facing sublimation transfer printing today is paper curling in the edges of fabric before the pressing process. This issue can be frustrating and time-consuming for those in the industry. One common mistake that people make is pressing the paper immediately after printing, which can cause some serious issues down the line. Specifically, if you press the paper too soon, the moisture from the ink won't have a chance to evaporate evenly, which can cause the paper to curl and make it difficult to press and expose properly. To avoid this problem, it's important to give your prints some time to dry before pressing them. This will help ensure that the moisture evaporates evenly and your final product turns out just the way you want it. When setting paper, it's important to note that if you don't press it down immediately, the paper will naturally release any excess moisture caused by the ink. 

Check Our Sublimation Tote Bags

Check out our exceptional collection of sublimation tote bags! Designed with style and functionality in mind, our tote bags are crafted from high-quality polyester fabric, ensuring durability and longevity. With their spacious interiors and sturdy handles, these bags are perfect for carrying your belongings with ease. 

Custom Tri-Color Deluxe Poly Zipper Beach Tote Bags

Sublimation Bag TBF

These multi-purpose totes are ideal for a range of uses, including promotions, events, freebies, school or office work, trade exhibitions, and everyday activities. These promotional tote bags are made of a strong polyester canvas-style fabric that will last a long time. Sublimation printing, screen printing, heat transfer papers, heat transfer foils, and transfer CAD-cut vinyl and foils can all be used to readily modify them. In this blog post, we will look at the technique of sublimation printing on tote bags, with a focus on avoiding burning and other frequent blunders. Whether you're new to sublimation printing or looking to improve your skills, this guide will help you achieve immaculate results and make lovely, personalized tote bags.

Custom Polyester Improved Essential Tote Bags 

Polyester Tote Bag For Sublimation TBF

Promotions, events, giveaways, classroom or office use, trade shows, and ordinary errands are just some of the many settings in which our versatile tote bags shine. These totes are constructed from a sturdy polyester canvas material. Sublimation printing, screen printing, heat transfer papers, heat transfer foils, and transfer CAD-cut vinyl and foils are all viable options for personalization. In this article, we'll examine the finer points of sublimation printing on tote bags, with an emphasis on preventing common issues like burning. If you're new to sublimation printing or just want to hone your skills, this article will provide you the information you need to make beautiful, customized tote bags every time.

Custom Polyester Daily Use Document Tote Bags

ToteBagFactory Sublimation Bag

You can sublimate, screen print, embroider, or vinyl heat transfer onto this strong polyester tote bag. It is incompatible with DTG. Although the interior vinyl may melt and clump together at high temperatures, the sublimation printing turned out well. Everyday use, work, school, the beach, supermarket shopping, screen printing, promotional use, giveaways, parties, weddings, etc. are all perfect scenarios for this sublimation tote bag.  We provide both blank organic bags and branded tote bags for your convenience. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are suitable for sublimation printing on tote bags?

Sublimation printing has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially for tote bags. This printing technique involves transferring ink onto a material using heat and pressure, resulting in a vibrant and long-lasting image. Tote bags made of polyester or a blend of polyester and other fibers are ideal for sublimation printing. 

What equipment do I need for sublimation printing on tote bags?

Sublimation printing on tote bags is a popular way to create unique and personalized designs. First, you'll need a sublimation printer and sublimation inks. These specialized inks are designed to transfer onto polyester materials, which is why high-quality polyester tote bags are a must-have. You'll also need a heat press machine to apply the design onto the tote bag. 

What are the common mistakes to avoid when sublimation printing on tote bags?

One mistake to watch out for is using improper heat and pressure settings. This can cause the design to not transfer properly or to become distorted. Another mistake is using low-quality or incorrect transfer paper, which can also lead to a poor transfer. It's also important to ensure proper alignment of the design before printing. 

Can I use sublimation printing on different types of tote bags, such as cotton or polyester?

Sublimation printing works best on polyester or poly-blend tote bags. Cotton tote bags are not suitable for sublimation as the process requires a specific type of ink and fabric composition to achieve vibrant and long-lasting prints.