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Inkjet vs Sublimation Printing; What You Need to Know

Posted: 5/26/2017

By: Collin Barnwell

DirecTex offers a complete line of fabrics suitable for digital inkjet and sublimation printing. This collection of fabrics consists of our 600x300 denier print cloth, 4.5oz banner fabric, Packcloth, 500D Polyester, and our various weight vinyl fabrics.

Digital Inkjet Printing vs Sublimation Printing

Not much separates the two processes when it comes to production machinery. Inkjet printers are typically anywhere from 30 inches to 16 feet wide and can double as sublimation printing with some minor “machinery fixes” and cleared ink lines.

The largest difference between the two processes are the ink styles and printing method. Digital Inkjet printers use the CMYK (short version of cyan-magenta-yellow-black) ink set and can have the fabric fed directly through the printer to be printed on.

Sublimation Printing uses the CMYO (short for cyan-magenta-yellow-overprint clear) where the dye is printed to a treated transfer paper, and in the heat transfer process (approx. 375°F or 210°C) becomes the black color. The CMYO ink set indicates that Sublimation printing is NOT Direct-to-Fabric printing and a heat press must be used to transfer the ink from the printed transfer paper to the fabric.

What Fabric Works Best?

If you have any concerns about what fabric works for your production process, give our staff a call.

Digital Inkjet Printing

Sublimation Printing

Banner Fabric

4.5-ounce polyester washable and wrinkle-free high visibility fabric used in the production of promotional and business banners

Banner Fabric

4.5-ounce polyester washable and wrinkle-free high visibility fabric used in the production of promotional and business banners

Vinyl fabric

offered in a variety of weights and colors; most popular is 13-ounce and 18-ounce

600D Print Cloth

600x300 denier polyester with UV and Fire Retardant coatings perfect for creating flags and signage

420D Packcloth

420 denier packcloth nylon fabric with a urethane coating. It is ideal for flags and banners

500D Polyester

500 Denier Polyester Fabric with a fire-resistant UV coating. It is also great for advertising applications

Caring for Your Print

Caring for your print after it goes through production is important. Be sure to follow these guidelines when caring for and storing your printed fabric.

  • Wash gently by hand in cool or warm water with a mild detergent
  • Protect from harsh weather (i.e. high winds, heavy rain, etc.)
  • Let your fabric fully dry before folding, folding when wet can result in mold and mildew growth

Our staff has hundreds of years experience in the fabric textile marketplace; let DirecTex lend a hand on your next production project! If you are still having trouble deciding on what fabric works best for your printing application, click here to email our Customer Service department and speak with one of our Fabric Experts who will help guide you along the way.

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