Can You Use Sublimation Ink For Regular Printing? Short Answer No!

Sublimation Ink is versatile that can be used to customize vivid t-shirts, mugs, glasses, wood, and many more. Some new crafters don’t know and ask a frequent question: can you use sublimation ink for regular printing?

However, they want to print regular documents and photos with the sublimation ink but there are some considerations before using sublimation ink. Sublimation ink is far different from regular ink and doesn’t require a regular printer to use it. Even though the sublimation paper is way different from normal paper that works for sublimation ink.

If you don’t know the compatibility of your printer with the sublimation ink you will end up damaging your printer for regular use and messing up documents and photos so this guide will be helpful for you to clear your confusion.

can you use sublimation ink for regular printing

Can You Use Sublimation Ink For Regular Printing?

The short answer is No! Sublimation ink cannot be used for regular printing. Because sublimation ink contains a chemical composition in which the ink is heated to convert from a solid state to a gaseous state in order to bind with the substrate permanently. Even though sublimation ink requires a dedicated sublimation printer to get printed so regular printing is done with the normal printer which isn’t compatible with sublimation ink.

can you print regular documents/Paper with sublimation ink?

The answer is No! Sublimation ink cannot be used on regular documents. The reason is regular paper cannot hold the sublimation ink. Sublimation ink tends to use only on sublimation paper because sublimation paper has a coating of polymer that holds the sublimation ink. Sublimation is a chemical composition in which the printed sublimation paper is heated, thus the sublimation ink is transferred from the paper to the substrate.

In contrast, regular paper doesn’t have a coat of polymer substance that helps to retain the sublimation ink on the paper. and if you print on regular paper using sublimation ink then the paper will start becoming moistened by absorbing the ink thus it will lose stickiness. The paper won’t be able to get heat transferred. Therefore, you cannot use sublimation ink to print regular documents or papers.

How Sublimation Printing Is Different from Regular Printing

Sublimation printing is all about the process of chemical conditions. Regular printing doesn’t require any kind of polymer-coated surface to hold the ink. You can print documents, photos, and daily life projects.

In contrast, sublimation tends to become a part of the substrate. When sublimation ink is heated it completely becomes a permanent part of the t-shirt, mug, tumbler, glass, acrylic, metal, or any substrate that is coated with polymer.

This sublimation process is quite different from regular printing in daily life. The sublimation process is a simple process as it may sound complicated to new crafters. But understanding the basic terms of sublimation is essential in order not to mess with the printing.

Why Does My Regular Printer Don’t Support Sublimation Printing?

Why Does My Regular Printer Don't Support Sublimation Printing?

When doing sublimation you need to check the printer if it really supports the sublimation printing or not. Generally, there are several types of printers, and the most famous are thermal, laser, and inkjet printers. If you have got a thermal or laser printer that uses toners or heat-sensitive material to form the print then there is no chance to use them with sublimation. Laser or thermal printers use heat technology whereas sublimation is an inkjet heat-free printing process.

Further, if you have got an inkjet printer now you need to check whether your printer is compatible with sublimation ink or not. Let me clear up your confusion, even though not all inkjet printers can be utilized for sublimation.

There is a special term called “Piezo printing technology” that comes in the specific line of inkjet printers. The most famous piezo printhead printers are the Epson sublimation printers which are commonly used for sublimation. The reason is piezoelectric printheads use electric piezo crystals instead of thermal heat in the printheads to eject the ink droplet out of the nozzles.

Other than that, you must be wondering if you own canon or brother and if they can be converted into sublimation or not. Here is the answer! any other inkjet printer cannot be used for sublimation until it doesn’t have a piezo printhead and unless the manufacturers or third-party ink suppliers do provide sublimation ink for that inkjet printer.

Still, do you want to convert the Hp printer into sublimation? then check how to convert HP printer to sublimation printer.

Because they don’t have piezo printheads that apply electric pressure to vaporize the sublimation ink. You can check what type of printer you need for sublimation.

Even some Brother printers have piezo printheads but they cannot be used for sublimation because their manufacturers don’t provide any compatible sublimation inks for them.

What Happens If You Install Sublimation Printing System In A Regular Printer?

The sublimation printing system can be only installed on some specific printers. Converting a regular printer into sublimation means you’re vanishing product warranty. If a printer is not compatible with the sublimation, installing the refilling cartridges, and filling the sublimation ink, then it will result in a huge mess of bleeding ink onto the paper. 

Epson printers do have a CISS ink system via their cartridges and ink tanks can be refilled easily with sublimation ink. This process might be tricky for some of the WF line printers because of changing cartridges.

We suggest you check the brand website if your regular Epson printer has the CISS ink system and piezo printhead or not. 


We always suggest converting a brand new Epson Ecotank printer into sublimation. The reason behind this is if you convert the regular Epson printer into sublimation, the regular ink will be still there in the printhead and ink lines. Therefore, if you want to convert a regular printer into sublimation it is suggested to clean the ink lines and printhead thoroughly in order to clean the previous regular ink.

After that, install the refillable ink cartridges and fill them with the sublimation ink. In addition, print the rough sublimation paper after converting the printer before getting started with the actual one for the substrates. But Epson Ecotank sublimation printers don’t have any refillable cartridges instead they have refillable ink tanks so you can refill the sublimation ink on your own after cleaning if you’ve utilized an Ecotank printer before.


Can you print regular documents with sublimation ink?

No! Regular documents cannot hold the sublimation ink because they don’t have any kind of poly-coating that ensures the sublimation ink does not start to moisten the paper.

Can you use a sublimation printer for regular printing?

Once you convert a regular brand new sublimation printer into sublimation then it won’t be able for you to reverse the process. Because sublimation printers can be only used with sublimation ink and paper and sublimation ink cannot be used for regular printing.

Therefore, if you want to use the sublimation printer for regular printing then it is suggested to hire a printer expert to clean the sublimation ink from ink lines in order to use normal ink.

Can you print on photo paper with sublimation ink?

The short answer is no! If you print the photo paper with sublimation you will get faded results. Because sublimation ink looks faded on the paper and after heat transferring it shows its actual beautifying colors. Rather than using sublimation ink, the best practice is to use standard photo ink. Source: 


So the simple of whether can you use sublimation ink for regular printing is no. Sublimation ink performs far differently from regular ones. Therefore, it is not suggested to use sublimation ink to print regular paper with a regular printer. Sublimation ink can be only utilized with sublimation paper and a dedicated sublimation printer. Now it will be crystal clear for you to make a decision before using sublimation ink with the regular ones.


  • Jessica Warner

    A printing enthusiast is here to serve you the vision of art. I’m working as a printing artist since my childhood and running a successful business online and offline. I inspire you to create beautiful printings via my select products and How-To tutorials. Warner Jessica

Similar Posts