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Best Sublimation Shirt Blanks: A Comprehensive Guide

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Regardless of whether or not you’re doing your first project or your 100th, finding the best sublimation shirt blanks is definitely a priority.

And getting the right blank t-shirts for sublimation printing can be make-or-break your whole project – every time.

pin image with blanks colorful shirts for the best sublimation shirt blanks

Best Sublimation Polyester T-Shirt Blanks

Almost everyone begins their sublimation journey with a shirt project. Shirts are readily available, and inexpensive, they come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and styles to choose from.

You can find them in almost every store. But when searching for shirts for your custom designs you have to make sure that, when you are doing sublimation you are using polyester blanks or at least a high count of polyester.

If you don’t know what you are looking for when searching for blanks shirts that are polyester fabric, affordable prices will be few and far between.

The best sublimation blanks have the look and feel of cotton, great quality, and the perfect fit.

Personally, I don’t like the polyester feel. I prefer soft cotton feel in my shirts but I love the look and feel of the designs on sublimation t shirts.

4 blank shirts pink, white, orange and blue

How Does Sublimation Dyeing Work?

When you sublimate a polyester t shirt, the fibers of the shirt actually open up and allow the sublimation inks to penetrate them.

The higher the count of polyester the more bright and vibrant your design will be. The quality of these shirts is unmatched because it literally looks like the design was printed on the fabric before the shirt was sewn.

So, What Are The Best Sublimation T-Shirts?

Cricut Brand is my all-time favorite. It is a great option for the most cotton-like. These shirts are 95% polyester and 5% spandex. They only come in 2 different colors. Gray and white.

Also there is not a long sleeve shirt option so these will only work for you if you want a short sleeve. But even with those few drawbacks, I believe the Cricut brand polyester t shirts are the best shirts for sublimation.

Occasionally you can find high-quality blank shirts at your big box stores and other places. These usually come with great prices and a good variety.

I wouldn’t recommend using these regularly for your small business because sometimes it is hard to be consistent when purchasing from places that don’t intend you to use them for sublimation.

The places I linked above have super fast shipping, and wholesale pricing, and most have free shipping after a certain amount.

So if you are using the shirts for your business I look for a product line that is intended for t-shirt design, they make these in bulk and you can usually get them the next business day.

pin image with different color shirts

Best Places For High-Quality Sublimation Shirt Blanks.

Can you sublimate on cotton?

Sublimation is a printing method that attaches to synthetic materials, so polyester shirts and other polyester sublimation apparel blanks are the obvious choices.

If you do want to sublimate on cotton shirts, be it 100% cotton or a cotton blend, you will need to do one of three things:

  • Place a layer of HTV between the shirt and the sublimation design. I go into detail in this discussion.
  • Treat the shirt with a sublimation spray. The special sublimation spray coats the individual fibers with a polyester resin to help deal with the shrinkage that occurs when the fiber is heated. The spray, in short, will help to keep the sublimation ink in place and prevent any ghosting issues.
  • Use special ink/paper specifically for sublimation on cotton. The special cotton sublimation transfer paper has a heat-resistant adhesive backing that will help deal with the shrinkage that occurs when the fiber is heated. The special paper, like the spray, will help to keep those inks in place and prevent any ghosting issues.
different color shirts on hangers

Tips for Finding Sublimation Apparel Blanks

Just in case you’re embarking on your first sublimation project, I really thought I’d throw in a few tips just so you know where to head from here.

Use Quality Materials

When sublimating, it is essential to use high-quality sublimation ink and paper. Not all inks and papers are created equal and using a lower quality ink or paper can result in faded or poor-looking prints. Be sure to do your research and find a reputable supplier of both before starting your project.

Follow Directions Precisely

Don’t get ahead of yourself and go heating a few degrees off or for a bit too long. Use heat-safe tape to keep your paper And whatever you do, don’t pull the design, just to take a peek, then do it again.

That’s how I’ve gotten the worst ghosting images in my time. No peeking – just follow the directions.

Mirror Your Design

I don’t care what you have to do, put a post-it note on your sublimation printer, put a reminder on your phone, or tattoo it on your hand, you have got to remember to mirror your design before you print it.

I cannot tell you how many sublimation shirt blanks I have ruined because I forgot to mirror the image. It cannot be fixed once you put that design on the shirt. So get it right the first time.

Sublimation Shirt Projects You May Like

Here are some sublimation shirt projects I did that would be wonderfully fun to give!

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