Sublimation t-shirts are a great alternative to screen printing. And it’s a lot easier in my opinion. When you use sublimation, the image comes out bright and vibrant and never fades.
I decided to design and make this Too Cool for School Back to School sublimation shirt for the kiddo this school year. It’s easy, fun, and the design really just POPs right off the shirt. I couldn’t be more tickled with the way it turned out.
You can grab the free Too Cool For School SVG below. This file can be used as a multi-color vinyl design or for sublimation.
And making sublimation t-shirts has become a new obsession of mine. I love the way they look – so professional and sharp. Definitely planning a whole line of shirts for the kids this year!
Plus if you make your shirts with sublimation, the ink actually bonds with the fabric, so your back to school t-shirt won’t fade any more so than the shirt that the design is on.
What Do you Need to Make This Back to School Sublimation T-Shirt
You’ll need these materials to make your Too Cool for School Sublimation T-Shirt:
- Sublimation T-Shirt Blank (make sure this is a sublimation-friendly material)
- Too Cool for School Sublimation Design
Then you’ll need the following tools:
- Sublimation Printer
- Heat Press
- Butcher Paper
- Heat-Safe Tape
- Heat-Safe Mat
What Sublimation Printer is the Best?
As part of my getting started with the Cricut series, I also took a minute to compare the best sublimation printers for crafters and small businesses. Frankly, the decision is still your own, because each person’s needs are going to be different. But, you can check out that full comparison and make the best decision for you.
Do You Have to Have a Special Printer for Sublimation T-Shirts?
No, it turns out that you do not need a sublimation printer to do sublimation crafts. You can order your own custom sublimation prints from people who already have the printer, ink, and paper, just like the storefront here. Because I have a printer, I haven’t actually purchased a custom print myself, but I know that there are whole t-shirt and mug businesses that are built around buying these sublimation prints to put on their blanks and sell them.
Which Heat Press is the Best to Use for Sublimation T-Shirts?
I have opinions about this – and my biggest opinion is: you’re going to have to decide for yourself. I did a big comparison post here to spill all the tea about what I think the pros and cons of each option are, but you just need to take that information, process it, and decide what’s going to be best for your crafting needs.
Tips to Make This Back to School Sublimation T-Shirt
In the event that this is the first time you’re making anything using sublimation, here are my favorite tips to help make your sublimation t-shirt a success:
- Make sure your shirt is a polyester blend, 100% polyester works best.
- Take a few minutes to iron your shirt before you make a mistake you’d rather not show the world. One little wrinkle is all it takes to leave a big hole in your design and you’re just better off taking that couple of seconds to iron the shirt.
- Do not let the heat press stay on your shirt for too long. Using butcher paper, having the design be on paper and then sticking a 400-degree device onto a pile of all that – you can easily burn the shirt. So, use a timer and pull the heat press off the shirt as soon as the timer goes off. Burn marks on sublimation t-shirts aren’t trendy.
- While the heat press is on your shirt, do not move it. Not even to shift it a little. If you do, you risk the design shifting on the shirt and causing your shirt to look fuzzy and weird. So, no moving the heat press until the timer goes off.
- Never try to sublimate on cotton shirts. I’m not kidding, you have to use polyester or a polyester blend – the more polyester the better. The ink will not bond with the cotton and the design will look faded and won’t set. Even if it looks good the moment you take the heat press off, the first time you wash the shirt, the ink will wash out.
Too Cool for School Back to School Sublimation T-Shirt
Now that you know all that I know about making sublimation t-shirts, keep scrolling to read the step-by-step tutorial to make this too cool for school t-shirt.
Grab the free SVG and use it for either sublimation or vinyl crafts!