Interest in business and personal apparel and products is always steady. Even in a slow economy, "passive advertising" is effective in keeping their company's  logos and brands top-of-mind for old and new customers.

Heat Transfer Vinyl design on a tshirt

Graphic t-shirts are low in cost and often are impulse purchases or gift purchases. Drinkware with a company logo or name is also a great brand ambassador for businesses, and is a common gift people buy for themselves or others. 

Both wearables and drinkware (such as tumblers) can be personalized with either heat transfer vinyl or dye sublimation.Each has its benefits, so let's explore using dye sublimation vs.heat transfer vinyl. We will look at the qualities of each of these applications so you have a good idea of what process would work best for your present and future projects. 

Comparing Dye Sublimation vs Heat Transfer

Advantage: Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation has been around for many years. It is an interesting scientific process and has a long-lasting effect. Unlike vinyl, the pattern and colors are not resting on the top of the item you are decorating. Instead, the dye is embedded into the clothing, ceramic, metal, wood, or glass that has a coating to "accept" the transferred ink.

(Dye sublimation on glass looks great! The process requires a heat press to transfer the patten on the paper to the glass. Remember that if your glass blank is flat, you will need a flat heat press. For round objects like mugs or glasses, a mug press will work well.) 

 Dye sublimation can be done on a wide array of substrates

As for dye sublimation on fabric, think of the process as being a tattoo-artist, except your designs are on non-living subjects. Repeating patterns and designs, text, prints of photos -- all of these can be applied through dye sublimation.

Don't Just Look Good - Feel Good

Another benefit is feel. Think of how annoying a scratchy tag feels. Texture makes a difference. Sublimated apparel is the softest option the industry has to offer because you're not gluing anything to the fabric or object. The color and design becomes part of the shirt, jacket, hat, etc. It does not sit on top, making it possibly stiff or uncomfortable. 

Time Is Money

An advantage of dye sublimation over the heat transfer vinyl process is time. With dye sublimation, you need not worry about aligning colors on the t-shirt (or other item) before applying the design. Sublimation prints all the colors simultaneously. This gives you the freedom of design complexity without the time constraints of aligning and layering vinyl.


Dye Sublimation 

Color graphics Yes Yes
White graphics Yes No
Polyester wearables Yes Yes
Cotton wearables Yes Some*
Drink wear Yes Some
Long-lasting Good Great
Peels, cracks, tears, fades over time Yes No
Works on all fabric colors Yes Some+
Production cost Lower cost option  Higher cost option 

 * Dye sublimation only lasts on 100% polyester fabric. If you sublimate on blended-material apparel, some of the dye will wash off. This can be a good choice for some designs! Some decorators do this deliberately to achieve a "stressed" or "vintage" look. But unless that's your goal, dye sublimation on blended and cotton fabric isn't compatible.
+White or light colors are recommended 

Advantage: Heat Transfer Vinyl

But what about our old reliable heat transfer vinyl? It's also a winner! One advantage of HTV is that it can be applied to any color background and comes in white, so you can apply it to a dark background. You cannot do this with dye sublimation. Also, it can be layered over itself for more complex designs. Also unlike the dye sublimation process, it is suitable for all kinds of fabrics, including, 100% cotton, 100% polyester, cotton/polyester blends, acrylic/polyester blends, Lycra, spandex, leather, nylon, and other fabrics.

Logical Color HTV on a tshirt

Use heat transfer vinyl to create personalized designs on wearables (hats, caps, shoes, shirts, jewelry, pants, jackets, bags, totes, backpacks etc.) and other products (indoor and outdoor signage, keychains, tumblers, mugs, etc.). It is an affordable way to produce promotional products individually or en masse.

It's a Sign ...That You Should Use HTV

While most people associate heat transfer vinyl with t-shirts or jerseys, this adaptable vinyl is finding new ways to be used for home and business decor and more.

Signs like the familiar Live, Laugh, Love advice, and other interior signage, can have intricate designs which come out very well when HTV Is used. It even works on leather products!

Using Warm peel HTV is fast and easy. For example, Logical Color Warm Peel Universal HTV is not named Warm Peel Universal just to be cute. It can be universally applied to all types of fabrics (mentioned above) and also peeled warm for a quick turnaround. 

 Logical Peel Warm Peel Universal Heat Transfer vinyl


So make your choice for each of your projects. Dye sublimation vs. heat transfer vinyl - which one is right for your particular project this day? Now you can make an informed decision based on the advantages of both.

Snap, Crackle, and POP of Color

Dye sublimated HTV makes for a great graphic!

Our lead graphic may have caught your eye. It's a beautiful representation of another win for HTV ... and for dye sublimation. It is HTV that has been dye sublimated. What a marriage of design options! 

Did you know that some HTV can be sublimated to achieve special effects? Think of the possibilities opened up by that process. The opening image (seen here again) represents Siser SparklePrint  HTV that's been sublimated. 

Become an expert at sublimating glitter heat transfer vinyl by reading this informative article