Sublimation VS Screen printing-which is better?

Sublimation VS Screen printing-which is better?

There are two types of prints that are currently practiced in the printing business. One is the screen printing and the other is the 3D Sublimation printing. You will often come across these both types of printing especially when you are practicing printing on the fabric or ceramic. But what do these two different methods mean? Is there any substantial difference between both or are both synonymous? So let’s talk today about sublimation vs screen printing.

What is sublimation printing?

sublimation vs screen printing

As discussed in our few of the articles earlier, sublimation printing involves first digitally printing the required image onto a special paper which is heat transfer paper. Then this digitally printed image is transferred on the blanks using the heat press machine. Heat press machine involves converting the image directly into solid from gas, instead of going through the liquid state. Hence it is called sublimation printing.

What is screen printing?

sublimation vs screen printing

Screen printing is a technique of printing where in a stencil of the desired image is placed on the substrate and the ink is poured on the stencil. With the help of cotton bar this ink is spread evenly over the stencil. From the stencil, through the pours, the ink penetrates on the fabric or the ceramic. This is how screen printing works. Screen printing can also be referred to as silk screen, serigraphy or serigraph printing.

Sublimation vs screen printing pros and cons


Screen printing can only produce one color at a time and if the graphic has multiple colors, then the colors have to layered one on top of the other, which leads to a lot of mess in color handling. This situation does not happen with sublimation printing since in sublimation printing, the colors are auto filled in the images using the photo printer. Hence when one sees into quick and easy printing in sublimation vs screen printing, then sublimation printing wins it.


If the stencil in screen printing is not properly aligned, then the result can be a lot messy and imprecise. It can lead to colors going on top of one another and mixing with each other to produce a completely unwanted output. This does not happen with sublimation printing since as mentioned; colors are auto filled with the photo printer. Detailed prints with multiple color profiles are produced at their finest quality with a dye sublimation printing technique. Hence, here too, in sublimation vs screen printing, sublimation printing is clean and better and compared to later.

Too much of ink

sublimation vs screen printing

If too much ink is used in the screen print, inks can run or become splotchy. However, dye sublimated prints dry instantly due to the heat press that is used at the very end of the printing process. In a screen printing process, ink can leak from the previous print and show up on unwanted substrates. This incident is known as “ghost imaging” and can occur if the tools used aren’t properly cleaned after each use. Hence in sublimation vs screen printing debate if one talks about the amount of ink involved and the disbursement of ink, then sublimation printing proves better.

After effects on fabric

Screen printing only prints on the fabric. The color does not penetrate inside the fabric. Opposite happens with sublimation printing where the color completely penetrates into the fabric. Screen printing leads to fabric becoming cracky and bleed when washed. But in sublimation printing, this does not happen since the colors completely get into the fabric.

Seeing and discussing all the above points, we bring to a conclusion that in sublimation vs screen printing debate, sublimation printing proves to be better, clean, clear and high definition output as compared to screen printing.

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