How To Make Sublimation Brighter On Shirts, Mugs, & Tumblers

Sublimation is a process of bright and vivid colors. Their vibrant colors always attract customers to make personalized images. Although bright sublimation printing colors depend upon many significant factors to get promising results. Every crafter wants to get shiny colors of sublimation but some beginners really don’t know how to make sublimation brighter and also the possible factors to consider.

How To Make Sublimation Brighter On Shirts

How To Make Sublimation Brighter

Sometimes a minor factor can result in a dull or banding image. So it is essential to know the all possible factors of making a sublimation printing brighter to get dazzling images. So let’s get started.

Understanding The Reason Why Sublimation Prints Look Dull


Before getting started with possible factors, you must know the reasons why your sublimation printing looks dull after printing. If you’re worried about the initial prints that come out of the printer on sublimation paper then you should know that the initial solid sublimation print on sublimation paper seems to be dull and it is completely fine. Sublimation print will become vibrant colors and bright after you transfer it onto the substrate.

Now if your sublimation printing is dull even after the heat press then you need to check the below factors:

1. Understanding CMYK and RGB Effects

The colors you design on the monitor screen use RGB mode and the sublimation printer you use is the CMYK usually. When you print the sublimation, you must determine the color formula of RGB that perfectly works with CMYK.  For the color accuracy that your eyes see, you just need to consider color management software to produce accurate prints.

Understanding CMYK and RGB Effects

2. Setup Of ICC Profiles

ICC stands for International Color Consortium which displays more accurate colors of an image for the specific printer that works with CMYK. It ensures accurate colors from the monitor or the display you’re using.

Being a crafter, I understand proper ICC profile plays an important role in making the sublimation brighter as you look at the colors on the display that come out exactly the same. Every newly purchased printer comes with the already installed ICC profiles for the inks they provide in the box.

If you’ve converted a regular Epson Ecotank printer into sublimation then you should have used Hiipoo sublimation ink and you need to create a custom ICC file for that sublimation ink, paper, and printer to get the ideal results. ICC profile not only helps you to print accurate colors but also allows you to manage the colors manually.

3. Using High-Quality Sublimation Ink

Get high-quality sublimation ink to use with the sublimation process. Always use compatible sublimation ink with your sublimation printer. Usually, third-party sublimation inks and cartridges produce low-quality prints due to non-compatibility with the printer. If the sublimation prints are dull on the sublimation paper after printing, then do not worry the solid sublimation ink always looks dull.

But when it is turned into the gaseous on the substrate, it turns out vibrant and shows its actual color.

4. High-Quality Sublimation Paper

A low-quality sublimation paper impacts the quality of the sublimation printing. Sublimation paper comes with different types of coatings. You should print on the poly-coated side of the paper in order to get the best results.

If you print on the wrong side of the sublimation paper then the prints won’t come out bright but it will also cause problems while heat transferring. Most of the brand’s best sublimation papers indicate a sign of the coating on the paper to print onto.

5. A Perfect Sublimation Printer

Choosing the right type of sublimation printer also plays an essential role in the accuracy of colors. A sublimation printer that is old with ink running out cartridges won’t provide prominent results. Always check the ink levels of your cartridges. Many printers indicate the ink levels on their control panel when they are running out of ink.

Secondly, almost all printers do have an option for printing and color adjustments make sure to configure the setting accordingly. if you’re a beginner then you should get the best sublimation printer for beginners. Also, if you’re budget is low then choose the cheapest sublimation printer.

6. Over Pressure

Putting less or overpressure will result in spoiled prints. If you put over pressure on the heat press that will result in the burning of the substrate and putting low pressure will produce fade results. Therefore, it is crucial to put normal pressure to get perfect results.

If you’re a beginner and don’t know how to use a Cricut easy press on which you put the manual pressure then we suggest using an automated heat press machine for garments because an automatic heat press puts the pressure according to the substrate.

7. Understand the DPI Resolution

DPI stands for Dots Per Inch the more dense images the more vibrant images. Set the DPI resolution to at least 300 for photos and designs. Some Epson Ecotank printers out there are marvelous; they produce 40 million dots per inch of dense images.

Along with DPI, the brightness level of the display and printer also play an important role to get the desired prints. You can set up the brightness level to normal, low, and high according to the design. Simply go to the printer drivers and set up the color adjustment manually.

8. Heat Press Time & Temperature

Heat press time and temperature vary from substrate to substrate. Usually, the ideal heat press time for garments is 60 seconds. Additionally, the ideal temperature is 385F. But you should keep an eye on the time because too much pressure time will fade the prints.

Heat press time also increases when you decide to sublimate multiple substrates simultaneously. You need to set the time for more than 60 seconds for multiple substrates. For ceramic mugs, the ideal temperature is between 240 to 300F and the time is between 150 to 200 seconds.

9. Cleaning The Printhead

If you’re using an old printer or haven’t used the printer for a long time then the ink in the cartridges starts to dry up thus creating clogs in the printhead. Clogs cause image fading or banding issues commonly. It is suggested to clean the printhead thoroughly in order to get clean printouts.

10. Replacing Cartridges

When you don’t measure the ink level from the cartridges, the ink runs out and the printer prints fade and dull images. To keep the quality of the printing, you just need to keep an eye on the ink levels. Or if you want to save time, do use the printer that utilizes the free cartridge system. The ink levels won’t run out easily because of the large capacity of ink tanks.

Common Sublimation Problems

  • Image ghosting
  • Image banding
  • Ink smearing
  • Incorrect colors 
  • Incorrect transfer lines


How To Make Sublimation Brighter After Heat Press?

If you have printed apparel and you feel it is dull or faded then this trick may help you. You can try it but I don’t recommend it at all to newbies. The process is quite simple just double the heat transfer.

Check the best sublimation printers for t-shirts

That means If the print is faded then place the clean parchment paper over the top of the already printed t-shirt. Re-heat the t-shirt at the temperature of 330F for 25 seconds. You’ll see the faded prints will come out more vibrant and crystal clear. You can watch the below video:

How To Make Sublimation Brighter On Mugs & Tumblers?

To make the sublimation brighter on the mugs, you just need to check the quality of the ink, the quality of the sublimation paper along with the printing on the right side. In addition, poly-coating on the sublimation mug also plays a crucial role in making the sublimation brighter. Always double-check the quality of poly-coating while buying the substrates. Check sublimation mugs vs regular mugs.

For more accuracy, you can use the best sublimation printer for mugs, tumblers, and phone case

One more important thing is for the ICC profiles to show more accurate colors with the specific ink you’re using to sublimate mugs and tumblers. Also, check how to remove sublimation ink


Among the all prominent methods mentioned above the most crucial factor is to consider the ICC profiles for sublimation equipment. Sublimation will become printing at your fingertips, once you understand color management and DPI resolution with qualitative accessories.

And if you worry about the print after the heat press then you just need to follow the answer to our FAQ. The steps I have mentioned above will ensure you produce quality prints for your business which will bring your business to the next level.

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