How to Sublimate a T-Shirt

I am always looking for ways to use my sublimation printer and my latest project is this fun T-shirt. This tutorial will teach you how to sublimate a T-shirt using a fun design. Of course you can create your own design but this one was more me so I thought to share it with you. It is a fun little sublimation design but as you will see just about any design can be used for sublimation. If you would like more sublimation ideas check out my infusible ink projects here.

I used a Cricut Polyester T-Shirt for this project and an Epson printer that I turned into a sublimation printer because it was far less expensive than buying a sublimation printer. These products worked great for this project. This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I ear from qualifying purchases.

What you will Need: How to Sublimate a T-Shirt

Step 1: Prepare your Design

Before you can start you will have to download the design or create your own. The most important step in starting the sublimation process is sizing the design. I find the best place to do this is Google Docs. Google Docs is a free platform to help you to store and edit documents. Simply type in Google docs in your browser to set up account.

On the top file menu set up the page. Make the margins 0 and insert the size of the page. For me it is 8 1/2 x 11″. Add a new document and insert your image by clicking insert and browsing your computer for the Dare to Be Different design or your own. Once the design is in the document you can resize it to fit your project. To resize the image just pull on one of the corners using your mouse. Or you can right-click the image, select “Image Options,” then “size and rotation,” and change the size in the fields. 

Size the design

What I did was measure on my project the size that I wanted the design to be and translated those measurements to the size and rotation measurement guide in Google Docs. Next, I repositioned the image to the center of the page. To do this, I highlighted the image and clicked on wrap text. That allowed metro move the image around on the page. I moved it to the center. Give your project a name and Google Docs will automatically save it.

Step 2: Print Your Design

You can print directly from Google Drive Go to the file menu and select print. If you have more than one printer like I do make sure that you select the Epson printer that you have converted. I do not have a standard sublimation printer so I cannot show you the steps for that. Click the arrow beside “More Settings” and click “Print Using System Dialog.”

Click the drop down menu under Media and quality and select best and matte paper then click the layout drop down menu and toggle the flip horizontally button to mirror your image. This is very important or your design will end up backward.

Set up printing

Before printing make sure you have your paper loaded correctly. In my Epson you place the paper so that the printable side is facing up. Your printer may be different. You will notice that there is a printable side and a side that has printing on it. Check your owners manual to determine which side should be facing up for your machine.

Once all of the settings are in place and the paper is inserted properly click print to print out your design.

Print the design

Step 3: Prepare your Print

It is best to cut the design out from the rest of the paper as near as you can to prevent sharp edges showing on your shirt after you sublimate.

Cut the design

Step 4: Prepare your Easy Press

Pre-heat your easy press to 400 degrees.

Set to 400 degrees

Step 5: Prepre your T-Shirt

You will need to lint roll your shirt to remove any stray threads. You will also need to preheat your shirt to remove any moisture or other impurities. In this case we are going to fold our T-Shirt in half lengthwise before placing it on the easy press. Place the shirt on the heated easy press for 10 seconds. This will do two things. It will remove all of the moisture etc and also create a center line to make it easier to align our design. You will also want to find the center of the design. Gently curve the design in half without actually folding it. Just crease the very top and bottom of the design so that you can align it with the crease on the shirt.

Fold T-Shirt in half and press

Step 6: Prepare for Sublimation

Open the shirt and place a piece of white cardstock inside the shirt to prevent bleeding through to the other side. Place the design face down onto the shirt lining up the creases so that it is centered. Tape the design to the shirt using heat resistant tape. Place the shirt onto the heat press and then lay a piece of white butcher paper on top of everything.

Tape the design

Step 7: Press your Design

Press all of the layers using a light press for 45 – 60 seconds. Make sure that you press straight down to avoid ghosting of the design. Once you have finished pressing the design lift up the press. You can remove the butcher paper but leave the rest to cool for about 30 seconds or so. Once it has cooled you can remove the paper and tape as well as the cardstock.

Finished T-Shirt

Step 8: Take Care of your Sublimated T-Shirt

Now that your T-Shirt is complete you will want to take care of it properly. Turn the shirt inside out and wash in cold water. Remove immediately and air dry.

I hope you enjoyed this simple sublimation project. If you would like more sublimation and Cricut projects subscribe to my free newsletter and receive your free Paper daisy SVG.

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