Dye Sublimation Ink: All Types You Must Know

Sublimation printing is a widely recognized and also preferred method for producing vibrantly tinted prints and also remarkable styles. It utilizes special dye sublimation ink made from colored particles.

With a lot of inks and printers available in the garment manufacturing and also apparel designing sector, it is simple to get totally lost in a lot of the terminology.

From solvent to sublimation, a lot of people are left puzzled.

What is dye ink?

Dye ink uses color compounds that have been dissolved in fluids. Water-soluble colors can be described as sugar that dissolves into water and pigments that are mixed in water.

The dye-based inks can offer more color options for vibrant prints. However, they will not hold up to water contact unless the tag is covered.

As long as the label is not rubbing against anything troubling, the print will be water-resistant.


  • Dye inks tend to have more colors and are better suited for decorative and artistic purposes. The inks adhere easily to suitable substrates, such as fabric or printing paper.
  • Dye inks can produce vibrant colors due to their small molecular size (1.5 to 4 nanometers).
  • Dye inks are that they are cheaper than pigment inks and other types of ink.


  • When dye inks are used for printing, care must ensure that the final product does not contact water. A few drops of water can cause the ink to run off the paper.
  • Dye inks are that the quality of the printed product is affected by water or excessive heat.

What is sublimation ink?

The sublimation process is the transition of a substance from a solid state to a gaseous, vaporous state under the influence of temperature.

The dye molecules in gaseous form are held by the synthetic fiber during the thermal transfer and penetrate deep into it.

Sublimation ink is water-based dye sublimation ink. Dyes are practically insoluble, which resembles pigment inks.

But sublimation ink differs fundamentally from pigment inks. However, sublimation inks must withstand high temperatures and pressures, and some materials, such as cotton, can be damaged.

Types of Dye Sublimation ink

Sublimation inks can be used with a wide variety of dyes. Water-soluble sublimation inks can be used for large layout printers and desktop computers.

Another type is solvent sublimation ink. This is used by large-head printers like Konica, Spectra, and XAAR.

Piezoelectric printers can use the former sublimation inks because of their high print rates and handling large formats.

1. Sublimation Ink

A typical ink contains water as the solvent to suspend pigments and dyes, which can be 30-95% weight of its composition.

Other solutes such as propylene glycol or glycerol usually account for 5%.

Surfactants between 0.01%-5%, depending on their type will reduce stress by emulsifying active ingredients while preserving them from degradation caused by shearing forces inside a printing machine during the production process;

This is important because it allows us all these beautiful images without worrying about fading at high volume prints.

As an added bonus biocides like Procelex GXL are used in our products too – they’re been proven safe over time accordingly.

2. Solvent Dye Sublimation Ink

Solvent-based inks can be made from a variety of different solvents, and depending on the type (and concentration) they may also include additives such as chloride vinyl acetate copolymers at 2 -6%, polymeric amides with an additional percentage below 4% for 0 – 3%; ethyl acetates up to 4%. There is another class called butanols which much like alcohols exist as both pure compounds or having other organic molecules attached.

The percentage of propylene glycol in the extract solution ranges from 0% to 22%. An additional acetate will make up 78%, with an average concentration at about 9%.

A large proportion (greater than 80%) must be included if ferulic acid is present because this enhances its solubility properties.

3. Latex Ink

Latex Inks are much better for both the driver and the setting than Eco-solvent and solvent inks.

They are likewise normally immune to the aspects, efficiently making them scratch-resistant, water-proof, as well as chemical/light/fade-resistant.

Advantages of dye-sublimation ink

• Simple printing technology without flushing.

• Increased quality of the resulting image displayed in large formats in compliance with outdoor use requirements.

• Printing of multi-color images of varying complexity at high speeds.

• High image quality and vivid, saturated colors. These image characteristics are available after thermal transfer versus direct printing.

• Improved quality of water-based paints, as well as environmentally friendly technology.

• Small initial investment.

Disadvantages of sublimation ink

• Sublimation printing is a complex process, supported by the necessary climatic conditions when using the equipment.

• To obtain a high-quality image, it is necessary to produce this technology on light-colored materials.

• The fabric to be dye-sublimated must contain 50% polyester and other materials. While such materials: metal, ceramics, glass require a pre-applied polyester coating.

• The process of transitioning a substance from a solid-state to a gaseous state is called sublimation, while the liquid phase is bypassed. The sublimation process takes place when heated.

Frequently asked questions

Q.Is dye sublimation better than an ink-jet?

A. There are many reasons why Dye Sub makes better photo printers than Inkjets. The main reasons are Superb Image Quality.

Q. How much does a dye sublimation printer cost?

A. While dye-sublimation printers are produced home along with expert usage. They can set you back around $300 for a little residence one and go up to $600 for an extra high-end product. For bigger printers for mass production, they can cost as much as $10,000.

Q. Can you use regular printer ink for sublimation?

A. Conventional ink isn’t made to be compatible with sublimation paper and will typically smear straight off the page if you print using this paper. After all, sublimation paper is mainly made use of for clothes prints, so it wouldn’t make good sense to have ink that adheres to the paper.


It is very important to understand that sublimation inks are truly clear by their all-natural structure, making them functional just for white and light things and histories. Dye- sublimation inks will certainly not move on non-coated products. I hope this article is useful as well as helpful for you.

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