What is Sublimation and how sublimation printers work?

  • 3 years   ago
What is Sublimation and how sublimation printers work?

Have you ever looked a piece of custom designs on mugs, clothes, cell phone cases etc or did you ever wonder how these things are done?

In this article, we will learn about how these custom designs are printed on items like mugs, t-shirts, tiles etc. We will also learn about all the scientific ways and reasons associated with this process. We will also take a look at some of the features of the 'Olympus P-11' which is considered as the best sublimation printer for beginners, as noted on PrizedReviews.


This process of printing customized designs and shapes on things like mugs, t-shirts etc is based on a very simple scientific process called 'Sublimation'. Now, let's understand the concept of sublimation.

What is Sublimation?

In simpler terms, Sublimation is defined as the conversion of Solid state of a particle into its gaseous state. 

We know that generally, the three states of matter are namely, solid, liquid and gaseous state. 

Now, to understand sublimation better, let's discuss our everyday example. 

Suppose you have an ice cube which has been formed by freezing the water in a cubical structure. Now, leave the ice cube at the room temperature for some time. You will see that the ice cube will start melting. 

In the above example, we have seen that the solid state of matter has been converted into the liquid state. 

Now, in order to convert this liquid state into the gaseous state, we can boil the water at 100 C. When the water will start boiling, the liquid water will change into its vapor state.

In the above example, we have seen that the liquid state of matter has been converted into the gaseous or vaporous state. 

In the whole story, in order to convert the solid state of water into it's gaseous or it's the vaporous state, we have seen two phase transitions. Let these phase transitions be T1 and T2. Then, T1 is the phase transition from the solid state to the liquid state and T2 is the phase transition from the liquid state to the gaseous state. 

Now, let's talk about the 'Sublimation'. Sublimation is one of the phase transitions of different states of matter, the only difference noted here is that in the Sublimation, the solid state of matter is directly converted into the gaseous state without being going through the liquid state. 

The conversion of the solid state into a liquid state is omitted and the solid state of matter is directly converted into the gaseous state of matter in the Sublimation phase transition of liquid. 

Now, since we have understood the concept of Sublimation, we can proceed forward to discuss Sublimation Printers and how Sublimation Printers work?

What is a Sublimation Printer and how does the sublimation printing works?

Let's first discuss the Sublimation Printing. 

In simplest terms, Sublimation printing is nothing but, a form of printing that transfers an electronic or digital design into the fabric or a cloth by the use of thermal energy and heat. This process also includes prerequisites like a Sublimation printer, Sublimation ink, Sublimation blanks, Sublimation paper, and a heat press.

How Sublimation printing is done?

Firstly, a design is printed on the Sublimation paper. The ink used is then converted into the gas, when heat and pressure are applied for a limited amount of time. It is then combined with the cloth or the item on which we want to print the design, and, it is then printed on the fabric permanently. The heat applied in this process opens up the pores of the fabric and the pressure applied cools down the ink and it gets converted into the solid state. As a result, a colourful design is printed on the fabric which is hard to peel off. This is the process of Sublimation. 

This process of Sublimation printing is also called the 'all over printing'. 

Now, we have learned about the sublimation printing, we can discuss the Sublimation Printers. 

Sublimation Printers

Sublimation printers are generally considered as the standard inkjet printer. The difference between the Sublimation printer and an inkjet printer is that for printing, despite using the standard inkjet ink cartridges, sublimation ink cartridges are used. While installing a standard printer to the computer, we use standard printer manufacturer's driver software. But, while installing the Sublimation printer to the computer, we use a specially engineered software by the manufacturer of the Sublimation printer which is responsible for the excellent quality prints. 

Best Sublimation Printer for Beginners

As noted on PrizedReviews, Olympus P-11 is the best sublimation printer for the beginners. 

According to the PrizedReviews, Olympus P-11 is an ideal choice for the beginners to the Sublimation Printing process. It is because one has to just hit the power button ON and connect it to the computer to begin. One need not have to go through a complex installation process. One can easily use the Olympus P-11 by just selecting the media file or design to print and it will start printing just like a normal inkjet printer do. Olympus P-11 is an inexpensive Sublimation Printer. According to the PrizedReviews, Olympus P-11 is the best choice for a beginner when he/she doesn't have the available funds to buy an expensive one and is new to the Sublimation printing process. 

Olympus P-11 has a 310-DPI solution. It prints a little slow, but still, it's a good deal as compared to its price. It's simple, reliable and affordable. It provides the print of size 4X6 only. There's not much to expect from this printer because it is already providing a lot of features despite its affordable price. 

Overall, it is a good choice as sublimation printer for a complete beginner to the process of Sublimation printing. It has amazing features to offer at a low price. 


In this article, we have discussed the process of Sublimation printing. We learned how the process of sublimation printing works and the scientific reasoning behind the Sublimation Printing. We also looked for the best option of Sublimation printer for a beginner.