Can You Sublimate On Modal Fabric (Yes, But )

Can You Sublimate On Modal Fabric? (Yes, But..)

Have you ever heard of modal fabric?

It’s a super soft and breathable material made from beech tree fibers. Modal is becoming more and more popular for clothing and home textiles because it feels so comfortable against your skin.

But what if you want to put a cool design or pattern on modal fabric? Can you use sublimation printing, which uses heat to transfer designs?

That’s exactly what this article is all about!

We’re going to explore ‘Can you sublimate on modal fabric’. You’ll also learn the pros and cons of trying this technique on modal fabric.

The article will guide you through all the important things to think about and watch out for if you want to sublimate modal.

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Can You Sublimate on Modal Fabric?

Modal is a semi-synthetic fabric made from cellulose fibers derived from beech trees. It’s soft, breathable, and has a nice drape, making it popular for clothing and home textiles.

Can You Sublimate On Modal Fabric

But can it handle the heat and pressure of sublimation printing?

The short answer is yes, you can sublimate on modal fabric, but with a few important considerations.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of sublimating on modal fabric:

As you can see, modal fabric has its advantages and limitations when it comes to sublimation printing.

But don’t worry, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure a successful and vibrant project.

Considerations Before Sublimating on Modal Fabric

Before you dive into sublimating on modal fabric, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Fabric Composition: For the best results, your modal fabric should have a significant polyester content, ideally at least 50%. Pure modal may not provide enough dye receptivity for vibrant and long-lasting prints.
  • Color Choice: Sublimation works by replacing the dye molecules in the fabric. This means lighter colors, especially white, will yield the most vibrant and vibrant results.
  • Design Complexity: While sublimation can create intricate and detailed designs, it may not be the best choice for designs with very fine lines or small text. The sublimation process can cause these elements to become blurred or distorted.
  • Pre-treatment: Some users recommend pre-treating modal fabrics with a light starch solution before sublimation. This can help improve ink adhesion and prevent color bleeding.

How to Sublimate on Modal Fabric

Now that you understand the important considerations, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of sublimating on modal fabric:

1. Prepare Your Fabric

Start by ensuring your modal fabric is clean, wrinkle-free, and properly pre-treated (if required).

This will help ensure accurate printing and optimal ink adhesion. Gently wash and iron or steam your fabric to remove any dirt, oils, or creases that could interfere with the sublimation process.

wash shirts

If you’ve decided to pre-treat your fabric, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and allow the fabric to fully dry before proceeding to the next step.

2. Set Up Your Printer

Make sure you have a compatible sublimation printer and high-quality sublimation inks specifically formulated for textile printing.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up your printer, loading the inks, and calibrating the settings for optimal performance.


3. Create Your Design

Use specialized design software or graphics programs to create your design for sublimation printing.

Ensure that your design is sized appropriately for your project, and adjust the resolution and color settings as needed.

If you’re working with intricate designs or fine details, consider slightly increasing the line weight or font size to ensure clarity during the printing process.

4. Print Your Design

Once your design is ready, print it onto specialized sublimation transfer paper using your sublimation printer.

Follow the printer’s instructions carefully, and ensure that the transfer paper is loaded correctly for optimal ink transfer.

  • Pro Tip: Always do a test print on a scrap piece of transfer paper before printing your final design. This will allow you to check for any issues or imperfections and make necessary adjustments.

5. Heat Press Application

Place your printed transfer paper face-down on the modal fabric, ensuring that the design is properly aligned and positioned.

Then, carefully place the fabric and transfer paper on the heat press, following the manufacturer’s instructions for positioning and alignment.

Image Credit: JustmightDIY

Adjust the temperature and pressure settings on your heat-press according to the specific recommendations for your modal fabric type and the sublimation ink you’re using.

  • Pro Tip: Always test your temperature and pressure settings on a scrap piece of modal fabric first to ensure you get the desired results without scorching or damaging the fabric.

6. Heat Press Cycle

Once your fabric and transfer paper is properly positioned on the heat press, initiate the heat press cycle for the recommended time, applying even pressure throughout the process.

This will transfer the sublimated design from the transfer paper onto your modal fabric.

Heat Pressing T Shirt

It’s important to follow the recommended time and pressure guidelines closely, as insufficient heat or pressure can result in poor ink transfer, while excessive heat or pressure can damage the fabric.

7. Cooling and Finishing

After the heat press cycle is complete, carefully remove the fabric from the heat press and allow it to cool completely.

See also  Can You Sublimate On Plastic? (Explained!)

Once cooled, you may need to gently peel off the transfer paper, revealing your sublimated design on the modal fabric.

Handle the fabric carefully during this step, as the sublimated dyes may still be setting and could potentially smear or transfer if mishandled.

8. Post-Treatment (Optional):

Depending on the specific modal fabric you’re working with, as well as the desired level of durability and fade resistance, you may want to consider post-treatments like heat setting or washing to help set the dye.

Heat setting involves exposing the printed fabric to high heat (usually around 350°F/175°C) for a short period, allowing the dyes to further bond with the fibers.

.Washing the printed fabric after sublimation can also help set the dyes and remove any excess ink or residue.

  • Pro Tip: it’s important to follow the care instructions for your specific modal fabric and avoid using harsh detergents or bleaching agents, which could potentially damage or fade the sublimated design.

And that’s it! With these detailed steps and considerations, you can create beautiful, vibrant designs on modal fabric using the sublimation printing technique.

Frequently asked questions

Below are a few frequently asked questions:

What fabric can you not sublimate on?

Sublimation printing works best on fabrics with a high polyester content.
Natural fibers like cotton, linen, and silk are generally not suitable for sublimation, as the dye does not bond well with these fibers.

What type of clothing can you sublimate on?

You can sublimate on a wide range of clothing items made from polyester or polyester-blend fabrics, such as t-shirts, hoodies, sportswear, and activewear.
Modal clothing items can also be sublimated if they meet the polyester content requirements.

Can I sublimate on viscose?

Viscose, also known as rayon, is a semi-synthetic fabric made from cellulose fibers, similar to modal.
While it is possible to sublimate on viscose, the results may not be as vibrant or long-lasting as on polyester fabrics. It’s best to test on a scrap piece first and adjust your settings accordingly.

Wrapping Up

Sublimation printing on modal fabric is possible, but it requires some extra attention and consideration.

By following the steps outlined above and keeping the fabric composition, color choices, and design complexity in mind, you can create stunning, personalized designs on modal fabric.

Remember, the key to successful sublimation on modal is ensuring a high polyester content, using light colors, and experimenting with pre-treatment and heat press settings.

With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll be able to unleash your creativity and create unique, vibrant pieces that showcase the softness and comfort of modal fabric.

Bella Williams

I'm Bella, a mom of 3 cuties. With 7 years of sublimation experience, my blog focuses on all things sublimation and printing. Join me for tips, tutorials, and inspiration to enhance your sublimation journey. Let's create and thrive together!
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