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Heat Press & Dye Sublimation Printing

The space has recently acquired a heat press & dye sublimation printer - the following instructions are for using it for Dye Sublimation however you can also use the heat press for vinyl transfer.

A heat press is a machine engineered to imprint a design or graphic on a substrate, such as a t-shirt, with the application of heat and pressure for a preset period of time. While heat presses are often used to apply designs to fabrics, specially designed presses can also be used to imprint designs on mugs, plates, jigsaw puzzles, caps, and other products.

What can you sublimate on

The list of suitable items is extensive but the most common items that you can sublimate on using the equipment we have in the space are

  • T-shirts (White or Light Colours)
  • Mugs / Coffee Mugs / Water Bottles
  • Cushion Covers
  • Aprons
  • Tote Bags
  • Backpacks
  • Hats / Caps
  • Mousemats
  • Face Masks
  • Jigsaw Puzzles

The heatpress will press approx A3 size print (you could make larger and press in sections)

What Type of Material Can You Sublimate On?


If you are using an Epson and sublimation paper, your best results will be achieved on high count polyester material. 100% white Polyester is best, but aim for at least 65% Polyester and then preferable the other 35% is cotton. If you don’t want white, you can choose light grey and light pastels but colors will be most vibrant and clear on an all white substrate.

Rayon is not fun in a heat press. Stay away from it.


Aside from fabric material, you can sublimate onto polymers and polymer coated items that are made for sublimation. Polymers include plastic bookmarks, business cards, notebooks, specially coated license plates, special MDF, etc.,

Sublimating onto Cotton or Dark Colors – Epson Users

Sublimation ink adheres to polymers and cotton is not a polymer. Therefore, in order to sublimate onto a cotton t-shirt (or dark fabric), you have to think outside the box.

Most people who want to sublimate a design onto a cotton t-shirt will sublimate their image onto what’s known as White Glitter Vinyl. The white glitter vinyl contains polymers and takes the sublimation ink just like a polyester shirt would.

After they sublimate their image onto a piece of white glitter vinyl, they cut around it and then use their heat press to press the white glitter vinyl onto the cotton shirt.

How to Print your design

Before you heatpress you need a design, the space has an iMac connected to a Epson Workforce A3 Printer which has the special dye sublimation ink fitted.

Simply place a sheet of the sublimation paper into the printer (the paper is in the unit under the heatpress - please use the closest sizes to your print to prevent wastage) when printing select the Epson Workforce Printer and make sure you mirror your image in the print settings to ensure when you press your design (and text) appears correctly.

How to use

The below is some useful links and instructions on how our heatpress works alongside general knowledge about sublimation and heat pressing

Specific Space Instructions for Usage for the Space Heatpress

In order to keep the press available and in working order alongside ensuring it doesn't get damage or cause damage to others when using the space heatpress

  • Ensure you place a cork mat on the metal railing of the stage where the heatpress can be swung onto to prevent heat transfer across the railing and risk burning someone

  • Use butcher paper to line the bottom of the heatpress and place over your sublimation paper prior to pressing to prevent the ink transferring to the heatpress itself (its recommend you place butcher paper in between any layers eg inside a t-shirt if your pressing a t-shirt to prevent the transfer)

  • Instruction Manual for the Heatpress

### General Purpose Instructions

  • Video on How to Use the Heatpress


  • Video - Introduction to Sublimation for beginners


More Youtube Tutorials

See these channels

How to Guides (

Risk Assessment

Heat Press Risk Assessment