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What's the difference between Dye Sublimation and Screen Printing?

When most people think of the process of putting their sports team mascot, company logo,

or any other design on a piece of clothing, they think of a process known as screen printing. Screen printing is one of the most widely known methods for transferring a graphic onto a piece of fabric, but it’s not the only method, and it’s certainly not the best. Dye sublimation is one of the most popular alternatives, and for good reason – the dye sublimation process achieves prints that don’t fade, never peel or crack, and are often more visually appealing. Discover why we believe dye sublimation is the clear winner between the two.

Most people aren’t fully aware of how their custom printed athletic gear is made, so before diving into dye sublimation vs. screen printing, we’ll be going over both processes.

The first step in the screen printing process is the creation of a stencil of the design. The stencil then gets laid on top of a special mesh screen, and a clear imprint of the design is created. The screen is then placed on top of a garment, and a thick ink is then applied on top of it, so the ink gets pressed through the screen and is applied to the fabric. The ink then sets, and the garment is set aside to dry.

Dye sublimation uses heat and pressure to dye fabric a certain color. Ink is transferred to the fibers of the fabric on a molecular level, meaning it can never crack, scratch, or peel off. The

process also achieves a more continuous tone throughout the design, and there are smoother, brighter color transitions.

Many of the advantages of dye sublimation are obvious. Because colors are transferred directly to the fiber of a material, the overall design is far more durable and won’t fade in washes. Preventing damage like this is especially important for sports considering all the collisions and general wear and tear athletic uniforms have to stand up to and the constant washing to get rid of stains. Dye sublimation can also print graphics even in the most intricate shapes, allowing for printing on the entirety of a garment and you to get as crazy as you want with your designs.

When it comes to dye sublimation versus screen printing, it’s clear that dye sublimation is the winner because it creates more durable and vibrant designs and affords you more creative opportunities. That’s why we only use dye sublimation for all our custom apparel products. Request a quote today and see how we can bring your vision to life!

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