FAQs About Dye Sublimation from Vapor Apparel

Dye Sublimated Shirts hanging on racks

Whether you’re just getting started in sublimation, or you’re a seasoned pro, you’re going to learn a thing or two from this FAQ video about Dye Sublimation. Keep reading for even more info! 

Don't have time to DIY a sublimation order?

Let us help! Email us at or fill out the Custom Printing Inquiry and we'll be in touch! We’re proud to be your one-stop shop for retail, customization, private-label, and wholesale needs.

Dye Sublimation Printing FAQs with Vapor Apparel

In this video, Jackson Burnett, founder of Vapor Apparel answers some of our FAQs about Dye Sublimation Printing. Keep reading for even more info.

What is dye sublimation? 

Technically speaking, sublimation is going from a solid to a gas without going into the liquid phase.  


To sublimate apparel, you start with a 100% polyester shirt (or other garment). We then take a graphic design that’s printed on special paper and set it face-down on the polyester shirt. We then apply pressure with 380-degree heat. The dye sites on the polyester garment open up and the ink is transferred into the fiber itself. When the heat is removed, the dye sites close. During this process, the ink sublimates, aka goes from a gas to a solid and permanently embellishes the garment.  


Polyester has a memory. It remembers the highest temperature that it sees. So, at 380 degrees, that’s hotter than any industrial laundering. That’s why the image will never fade, crack or peel.


Vapor Apparel has a large collection of colors and styles that are designed for customization. View our catalog! 


How does the shirt color impact dye sublimation? 

Sublimation inks are translucent, meaning they pick up the color of the garment when you print. So, a print on a white shirt will be slightly different from a print on a Pearl Grey shirt, which will be even more different than a print on our Salmon color. At Vapor Apparel, we’ve developed a lot of different sublimation-certified pastel colors. We’ve also found success printing Black on Navy, Royal Blue, and similar colors.


As you can see from the color wheel, when you print the color wheel on white, you will see that it’s true to the PMS color that you picked out for the colors in your graphic print. As you put it on the different shirt colors, you’ll see the colors of the color wheel adjust accordingly based on the color of the garment.  

Tell us about the quality of a sublimation print  

The above photo features Vapor Apparel shirt with dye sublimation. You can see that it's very vibrant, and it has multiple colors to a full-color process. This print will never fade, crack, or peel. It is designed to embellish the garment and let the garment do what it was designed to do, which is wick, cool, be odor-resistant, protect from the sun, and all the other properties that make this a retail ready garment. 


What fabrics can you use for dye sublimation? 

Traditionally, you only sublimate on polyester-rich fabrics. Vapor Apparel has a full line of our Solar technical garments. We also have our SpunSoft garments, which are made of a spun poly which has a little bit heavier weight. It has all the cooling, wicking, anti-odor properties to it. They all sublimate great. We also have a sweatshirt that has the same properties. And we've come out with our 200 Mile Tee which is a 50% poly tri-blend and it gives more of a vintage look with dye sublimation because the garment is not 100% poly. 


Quick Hits 

Q: How long do dye sublimation prints last?  

A: Because the ink becomes part of the fabric itself, the graphics never crack, fade, or peel. 


Q: What are the limitations of dye sublimation printing?  

A:  Light-colored inks cannot be used on dark shirts. Your ink colors need to be darker than the shirt color itself. For example, you can print dark blue or black on a white shirt, but you cannot sublimated white ink on a dark blue or black shirt. If you require a dark shirt and light ink, we recommend you screen print or use a transfer. 


Q: How durable is dye sublimation?  

A: The ink colors are embedded into the shirt fabric, which makes the graphic extremely durable. It will not crack, fade, or peel.  


Have more questions?

Feel free to reach out to and we'd be happy to help! 



Vapor Apparel: How to Print Sublimated Shirts
The 21 Best Colors for Dye Sublimation Shirt Printing