What Are the Best Shirts for Sublimation?

What Are the Best Shirts for Sublimation?

Muhammad Saleem Shahzad

Sublimation printing is a cutting-edge method that enables the creation of vibrant, enduring designs on various garments. To harness its full potential, selecting the best shirts for sublimation is crucial—a suitable canvas is key. This article will guide you through the top choices for sublimation-friendly shirts, ensuring your artwork remains flawless and vivid.

What Makes a Shirt Sublimation-Friendly?

Before we delve into the top selections for the best shirts for sublimation, it's important to comprehend the characteristics that make a shirt ideal for this state-of-the-art printing technique.

1. Polyester is the King

Sublimation printing thrives on the sublimation ink's unique ability to transform into a gas under heat. 100% polyester shirts are the gold standard for sublimation because polyester, being a synthetic material, is exceptionally receptive to the ink in its gaseous state, allowing it to deeply infuse the fabric's fibers. The outcome is strikingly vivid and fade-resistant best polyester shirts for sublimation.

2. A White Canvas

For sublimation to truly excel, you should begin with a blank white shirt. Any pre-existing color or pattern can interfere with the final print's hues. White shirts serve as the perfect blank canvas, accurately conveying your design and ensuring the most faithful color representation.

3. Smooth Surface

A smooth surface is essential for high-quality sublimation printing, as it ensures that the sublimation ink is evenly applied, preventing any irregularities or flaws in the final print. Look for shirts with a tight weave and minimal texture.

Armed with the knowledge of what to look for, let's examine the leading options for the best shirts for sublimation to find the most sublimation-friendly shirts.

Gildan Performance Polyester T-Shirt

Gildan Performance Polyester T-Shirt

Material: 100% Polyester

The Gildan Performance® Polyester T-Shirt stands out as a premier choice for enthusiasts of sublimation printing. As the best polyester shirt for sublimation, it's crafted entirely from polyester, offering an impeccable surface for crafting vibrant and durable designs.

The fabric's affinity for holding ink results in a superior, long-lasting print. Moreover, the shirt's moisture-wicking capabilities make it an outstanding selection for athletic shirts, ensuring comfort during vigorous activities and a fashionable look.

Bella+ Canvas Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tee

Bella Canvas Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tee, Charity Pink, Large

Material: 100% Airlume Combed and Ring-Spun Cotton

The Bella+Canvas Unisex Jersey Tee is renowned as the best Bella Canvas shirt for sublimation, offering a cotton-like feel that is rare in sublimation-friendly shirts, which are usually polyester-based.

This top-tier shirt marries the comfort of cotton with the dynamic capabilities of sublimation printing. Made from 100% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton fabric, it provides a soft and unique canvas for those in search of the best sublimation shirts that feel like cotton, appealing to those who desire a softer touch in their custom apparel.

Vapor Apparel Men's UPF 50+ UV (Sun) Protection Long Sleeve Performance T-Shirt

Vapor Apparel Men's Outdoor UPF 50+ Long Sleeve T-Shirt, UV Sun Protection for Fishing, Running, Hiking, Swimming

Material: 100% Microfiber Polyester

For those on a quest for the best shirts for sublimation, the Vapor Apparel Men's UPF 50+ T-Shirt stands out as a superior long-sleeve option.

It not only serves as an excellent substrate for sublimation printing but also provides UPF 50+ UV protection, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts needing sun safety.

The shirt's 100% microfiber polyester material ensures a premium quality print along with comfort and durability.

Augusta Sportswear Moisture-Wicking T-Shirt

Augusta Sportswear Wicking Long Sleeve Sun Protection Athletic Shirt for Running, Hiking, Fishing, and Outdoor Activities

Material: 100% Polyester

The Augusta Sportswear's Moisture-Wicking T-Shirt is recognized as one of the best shirts for sublimation printing, providing a dependable choice for aficionados of this craft.

Its advanced moisture-wicking properties maintain the wearer's comfort during high-energy activities. The 100% polyester fabric offers an optimal canvas for sublimation designs, ensuring they stay vibrant, durable, and fade-resistant.

Premium Poly Blend Pro

Introducing the PremiumPolyBlend Pro, a product that exemplifies quality and durability with its near-complete polyester makeup. This exceptional garment is expertly crafted from a cutting-edge polyester blend, positioning it as a leader in its class.

The PremiumPolyBlend Pro, with an impressive 98% polyester composition, is a testament to its superior quality. With a luxurious GSM of 200, this shirt provides an unmatched level of comfort and durability, making it one of the best shirts for sublimation with a canvas ideal for vibrant and enduring prints.

Vivid Print Elite Series

For those who seek a harmonious blend of affordability and excellence, the VividPrint Elite Series emerges as the perfect choice, offering one of the best sublimation shirts.

With a commendable 95% polyester content and a GSM of 180, the VividPrint Elite Series ensures a delightful fusion of comfort and print vibrancy.

This series is designed to balance cost-effectiveness with superior print quality, making it an ideal choice for those seeking value without compromising on quality.

Care Tips for Sublimated Shirts

To preserve the brilliance of your sublimated creations, follow these care tips:

  • Gentle Washing: Always opt for a gentle wash cycle to prevent unnecessary wear on the fabric and prints.
  • Inside-Out Drying: Turn your sublimated shirts inside out before drying to shield the prints from direct heat.
  • Avoiding Bleach: Steer clear of bleach and harsh detergents that may compromise the vibrancy of your sublimated designs.

The Sublimation Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

The sublimation printing process, renowned for its ability to produce vibrant and long-lasting designs on fabric, can be broken down into detailed steps, ensuring the use of appropriate materials and techniques to achieve the best results. Here’s an in-depth guide, incorporating essential keywords for a comprehensive understanding:

Step 1: Design Preparation

The journey to creating a stunning sublimated garment starts with the design phase. To guarantee the clarity and vibrancy of the print, one must choose or create a design with a high resolution, ideally 300 DPI (dots per inch).

This step is crucial for both the best shirts for sublimation and the best sweatshirts for sublimation, as it ensures the final image is crisp and clear. Additionally, it’s imperative to mirror or reverse your design digitally.

This adjustment accounts for the fact that the design will be transferred in reverse during the sublimation process, ensuring the final product appears correct to the eye.

Step 2: Printing the Design

Once your design is ready and properly mirrored, the next step involves transferring it onto a suitable medium. Here, the best sublimation printer for t-shirts comes into play, using sublimation ink to print the design onto special sublimation transfer paper.

It's worth noting that the choice of sublimation paper can vary based on the fabric color; for darker shirts, selecting the best sublimation paper for dark shirts is crucial, although sublimation typically works best on light or white backgrounds due to the nature of the dyeing process.

Step 3: Transferring the Design

With the design printed on transfer paper, it's time to bring it to life on the fabric. The printed paper is positioned on the shirt, which should be made of the best material for sublimation shirts – primarily polyester or a high-polyester blend for optimal ink absorption and vibrancy.

The shirt and paper are then subjected to high heat and pressure within a heat press. This step not only transfers but also transforms the ink from solid to gas, allowing it to bond with the fabric's fibers, creating a permanent, fade-resistant image.

Step 4: Cooling and Finishing

After the heat press session, the garment is allowed to cool. This cooling phase is essential as the sublimation dye, having penetrated the fabric as a gas, solidifies, becoming one with the material. Once cooled, the transfer paper is peeled away to unveil the vivid, enduring design. This final reveal is a testament to the effectiveness of using the right sublimation supplies, including the best shirts for sublimation and bleaching, if that's part of your creative process.

Additional Considerations

  • Best Sweatshirts for Sublimation: When selecting sweatshirts for sublimation, look for those with a high polyester content. The texture and weave of the sweatshirt can affect the clarity and vibrancy of the print.
  • Best Material for Sublimation Shirts: Polyester and polyester blends offer the best results for sublimation printing, as they allow the ink to bond effectively with the fabric, ensuring the design is permanent and less prone to fading.
  • Sublimation Supplies: Investing in quality sublimation supplies, including the right type of ink, transfer paper, and a reliable sublimation printer, is key to achieving professional-grade results.

By adhering to these steps and considerations, one can master the art of sublimation printing, creating stunning, durable designs on shirts, sweatshirts, and other garments suitable for sublimation and bleaching techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions

To round up our guide, let's address some frequently asked questions regarding sublimation.

Can you sublimate 65% polyester 35% cotton?

Indeed, a fabric blend of 65% polyester is suitable for sublimation, creating what many consider the best shirt for sublimation with a distinctive look. However, the color vibrancy may be reduced compared to 100% polyester, and the cotton fibers will not hold the dye.

Can I sublimate on 50% polyester and 50% cotton?

Yes, although the best shirt material for image sublimation may appear less vibrant and possibly faded or vintage, as the fabric type dictates that only the polyester fibers will absorb the dye.

Are Gildan shirts good for sublimation?

Indeed, Gildan provides a selection of the best shirts for sublimation, including options made of polyester and polyester blends, which are highly suitable for the sublimation process.

What color t-shirts are good for sublimation?

White shirts are typically the preferred fabric for shirts to use for sublimation, allowing for a vibrant display of colors. However, with the right techniques, sublimation can also be successfully applied to dark-colored shirts.

Can you sublimate on black t-shirts?

Sublimation typically excels on lighter hues, but with a strategic approach, such as applying a white base layer or utilizing a bleach technique, you can achieve vibrant colors even on dark garments. This makes black shirts a practical choice when considering what type of shirts for sublimation to use.


When it comes to sublimation printing, selecting the best t-shirts for sublimation is key to achieving vibrant, high-quality images. Whether your preference lies with 100% polyester for the most vivid colours or a cotton-poly blend for a more comfortable touch, there's the best sublimation t-shirt that suits your needs.

Always verify the fabric composition to ensure it's suitable for sublimation ink. With the perfect shirt, your sublimation prints will be nothing less than extraordinary, affirming your selection of the best t-shirt for sublimation. So, prepare to channel your artistic flair and craft eye-catching designs with the top shirts for sublimation.

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This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.