Dye Sublimation - Transfer printing onto beautiful fabrics, flags, metals and films

By: The Colour Box  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Printers, Digital Printing, Fabrics

What is Dye-Sublimation Printing?

Dye-Sublimation is often misunderstood. A quick search on the internet using sublimation as a keyword will return 1000’s of pages which normally relate to high quality, dye sub proofing printers. These do not constitute the large format dye-sublimation printing available at Colourbox. We are not printers of mugs, t-shirts etc. We can transfer with dye-sublimation techniques onto a big range of fabrics for point-of-sale and exhibition displays, interior design, and hard surfaces for architectural purposes.

To begin to understand “dye-sublimation” we first need to understand 3 key words.

1. Dye - to impregnate colour into a material

2. Sublimation - a change directly from a solid to a Gaseous state without becoming a liquid

3. Polymer - consisting of large molecules made up of a linked series of repeated simple molecules

The term dye sublimation can be simply defined by the sentence –

solid dye particles being turned into gas using heat and pressure, which bonds with any polymers present and then changes back into a solid.

In simple terms this equates to putting sublimation ink on paper and applying heat and pressure to transfer an image onto a fabric or flat sheet of some hard material. Today you will find the dye sublimation term primarily used in the digital printing arena although historically other more traditional printing processes have been used.

Colourbox in New Zealand are offering dye sublimation technology as a process to image onto fabric, film, and metals.

This process is a true environmentally friendly solution. There are no VOC’s(volatile organic compounds) often associated with solvent printing.
The inks are waterbased, the paper is recyclable, and all metals printed on to are recyclable. 

Examples of the substrates we can print into not onto are:

Fabrics: Satins, Knits, Silks, Voile, Organza, Taslon, Sportswear

Metals: Steel, Aluminium, Stainless Steel

Films: White Gloss, Clear, Backlits, Reflective, Foils, Photo

Flooring: Floor Canvas 3mm tile, Ceramic Tiles, Glass Tiles

Polycarbonate: Clear, Velvet, White


The metals and films are outdoor solutions up to five years durability with anti-graffiti properties and do not contain any vinyl chloride or other hazardous substances.

Dye-sublimation is a sub-surface print technology so there is no chance of damaging the printed surface unlike most traditional printing methods, which require extra protection such as laminates.

The benefits of Dye-Sublimation printing are all obtainable at Colourbox.

We can offer:

- outdoor solution up to 5 years

- environmentally friendly printing solution

- anti-graffiti

- outstanding print quality(unparalleled)

- scratch and solvent resistant(metal/film)

- New Zealand made

Keywords: Digital Printing, Dye Sublimation, Dye-Sublimation Printing, Environmentally Friendly, Fabrics, Printers,

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