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Why Does Sublimation Paper Need To Be Used With Sublimation Ink?


As a practitioner, we all know that we need to use sublimation water when using sublimation transfer technology. You may also have such doubts, why sublimation paper must be used with sublimation ink together rather than other inks, such as pigment inks.

In fact, this is determined by the principle of sublimation transfer. Sublimation ink has small molecular structure, high temperature resistance and easy sublimation, which meets the requirements of sublimation transfer.

In this article, we will talk about why sublimation paper needs to be used with sublimation ink from the perspective of ink in detail.

Why does Sublimation Paper Need to be used with sublimation ink?

The requirement of ink when sublimation transfer

Sublimation Transfer Printing is to use an inkjet printer equipped with sublimation ink to print the image on the sublimation paper in a mirror image manner. Then, it is heated to about 200 ℃ by Heat transfer equipment, so that the sublimation ink on the sublimation paper sublimates and penetrates into the blanks. Finally, the image on the paper is realistically transferred onto the product.

From the perspective of transfer printing principle, sublimation transfer printing needs to use ink that is easy to sublime, resistant to high temperature and has strong permeability.

The ink needs to be easy to sublime and have high penetration force, because the sublimation paper does not have an adhesive layer, the ink sublimates and penetrates into the blanks during the transfer process.

The ink to be able to withstand high temperatures, because this process requires a hot press, the temperature is as high as 200 degrees Celsius. That is to say, the ink can keep the color clear at high temperature without shifting.

The features of sublimation Ink

Sublimation ink is different from normal dye ink, it is a water-soluble ink that can be converted into gas and is easy to sublime. The color spectrum is complete and the color is bright. At the same time, sublimation ink is non-toxic, non-polluting and environmentally friendly.

Easy to sublime

Sublimation inks are mostly formulated from disperse dyes for textiles. It can be sublimated by heat at high temperature, and its sublimation ability is stronger than that of ordinary inkjet inks.

High temperature resistance

Disperse dyes are widely used in textile printing and dyeing due to their good weather resistance. Therefore, the sublimation ink based on disperse dyes is also resistant to high temperature, and can still maintain the color saturation at high temperature.

Strong permeability

The molecular size of sublimation ink is about 1.5-4 nanometers , so its penetration is very strong. And it can reach the interior of synthetic fibers and plastics.

Bright Color

Disperse sublimation dyes have hydrophobic and polar groups, so they have a good affinity for synthetic fibers and plastics. The colors are very bright. At the same time, the chromatography is complete.

High Durability

Because the sublimation inks can spread to the fibers and plastics inside, the color fastness is very good when they are transferred to the substrate. The color fastness and washing fastness are above 4.5.

From these characteristics of sublimation ink, it is not difficult to see that sublimation ink is born for sublimation transfer technology. It fully meets the ink requirements of thermal transfer technology. Therefore, we need to match the sublimation ink when using the sublimation paper.

Of course, it should also be noted here that there are some differences between sublimation inks from different brands. So when you buy sublimation ink, you should know the ink compatibility of the sublimation paper you use in advance.

The ink compatibility of the sublimation paper produced by our company is strong. Of course, it is better to use with the dye sublimation ink of our company.

A-sub Sublimation ink is bright in color and resistant to high temperature. The most important thing is that it has a small molecular structure, strong permeability, and is not easy to fade.

Why can’t I choose normal ink?

Now, we know that sublimation ink is perfect for sublimation paper. Can I use ordinary inkjet ink or pigment ink when sublimation transfer?

Normal dye inks will destroy the quality of prints when exposed to water or overheating.

Normal dye inks are liquid colorants mixed in solution and are often used for document printing. However, it is the least resistant to fading. 

The temperature resistance of ordinary dye inks is not good, so the ideal transfer effect may not be achieved under the high temperature of the heat press. Ordinary dye inks are not strong enough to lock the ink, and the pattern may become blurred when exposed to water.

Pigment ink molecular size is relatively large.

Pigment inks are particulate colorants suspended in solution. The molecular size of pigment ink is large, the ink can only be attached to the surface of the blanks during transfer. The penetration force is low.

However, The sublimation transfer requires the ink to penetrate into the blanks through sublimation.

Therefore, in the sublimation transfer process, it is best not to choose ordinary inkjet inks or pigment inks.


In general, sublimation inks are tailor-made for sublimation paper. Sublimation ink is easy to sublime. Meanwhile, it has strong permeability and is resistant to high temperature. It fully meets the requirements of sublimation transfer for ink.

Furthermore, the sublimation technology is favored by us for its bright colors and strong durability. These advantages are often only reflected by the selection of suitable sublimation inks.

As for other inkjet inks and pigment inks have their own characteristics, but they are not suitable for sublimation transfer printing. Because one of them is not strong in temperature resistance, and the other has a relatively large molecular size and poor permeability, it is not suitable for sublimation transfer.

I hope this article can help clear up your confusion.

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