Sublimation is the best way to decorate a T-shirt but it requires that you use a polyester base or does it? This tutorial will show you how to sublimate on cotton using a fabric sublimation coating that you just spray on your cotton fabric and sublimate as usual. I much prefer cotton to polyester and this was the solution for me to get the best of both worlds. How fun is that. If you would like more sublimation projects check out these.
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What you will Need: How Sublimate on Cotton
- 4th of July Sublimation Design or Christmas Sublimation Design
- Sublimation Coating
- Cotton T-Shirt or cotton Tea Towels
- Sublimation Printer — I converted and Epson ET 2800
- Design – – You can get loads from Creative Fabrica
- Sublimation Transfer Paper
- Cricut Easy Press
- Heat resistant tape
Step 1: Choose a Design
Choose a design by creating your own, using my free 4th of July sublimation design or Christmas Sublimation Design or head over to Creative Fabrica for hundreds of sublimation designs.
Step 2: Download the Design
Click on the link and download the design to your computer. You can print directly from Google Drive by following these instructions. I like to use Design Space to size my design.
Step 3: Upload the Design to Design Space
Using the Upload button on the left Design Space Menu upload the design. Follow the prompts to upload the design, browse your computer for your design and add it to the design Space canvas. You can follow this video if you like.
Step 4: Size the Design
Go to the templates tab in the left menu bar and choose the template for the shirt you are using. Place the design on the shirt where you want it to be and resize the design to fit. If you are using a tea towel like I am doing just measure the size of the towel and size the design to fit.
Step 5: Choose Print then Cut
Highlight the Design and go to the operations menu and choose print then cut as the operation.
Step 6: Make It
Click Make It in the top right corner of Design Space. When the design goes up choose continue. Then choose mirror and send to printer and choose the appropriate sublimation printer. Insert your sublimation paper and print out the design. I did not cut the design on my Cricut. I just hand cut around the design. Make sure you cut near the design leaving no sharp edges.
Step 7: Prepare the T-Shirt or Tea Towel
Roll the T-shirt with a lint roller to remove any stray threads. Press the shirt or towel with your easy press for abut 10 seconds. Place a piece of cardstock between the front and back layers of the shirt or under the bottom of the tea towel. Determine the area that your design will be placed. Spray the shirt or towel only in that area with the sublimation spray. Roll it with a foam roller and let dry naturally or use your hairdryer or Easy Press set at 400 degrees. Do not over soak the shirt or towel or it will become yellow, stiff and damaged.
Step 8: Prepare the Design
Determine the center of the design by gently creasing the top and the bottom of the sublimation paper without creasing the design. Find the center of the T-Shirt or towel by folding it in half lengthwise and creasing it slightly.
Step 9: Prepare for Sublimation
Lay the T-shirt or towel flat on the pressing mat with the cardboard in between. Place the design face down on the shirt or towel matching the creases so that it is centered. Use heat resistant tape to tape down the design. Lay a piece of butcher paper on top.
Step 10: Press your Design
Press the design through all layers for 35 seconds using a medium to heavy pressure. Once you have finished lift the press straight off the design. Remove the butcher paper. Let cool. Remove the design and the cardstock. You have now finished sublimation on cotton.
I hope you enjoyed this simple sublimation project. If you would like more Cricut Crafting projects subscribe to my newsletter.