Sublimation Protective Paper

Sublimation Protective Paper: Which One To Use?

Choosing the right sublimation protective paper can make all the difference in your sublimation projects.

From heat resistance to ink absorption, these papers are designed with specific features that influence their performance.

In this article, we will see different types of sublimation protective papers available and analyze their pros and cons.

Ready for a deep dive into what works best for your needs?

Key Takeaways

  • Sublimation protective paper is a crucial component in the sublimation printing process, acting as a barrier between the sublimation ink and the heat press to prevent unwanted ink transfer.
  • The three main types of sublimation protective papers are butcher paper, parchment paper, and Teflon sheets, each with its own benefits and limitations.
  • Parchment paper stands out as the top choice for sublimation projects due to its excellent heat resistance, non-stick properties, and ability to achieve clean and precise transfers.
  • When choosing the best sublimation protective paper, factors such as heat resistance, non-stick properties, size/thickness, and pricing should be considered.

What is sublimation protective paper?

Sublimation protective paper is an essential supply for any sublimation project. When you print sublimation ink onto transfer paper and heat press it, there’s a risk of some ink “blowing out” around the edges. T

The protective paper catches any stray ink during the sublimation process. It helps:

  • Prevent excess ink from getting onto your heating press or other surfaces
  • Absorb extra moisture released when the ink sublimates

You’ll put a sheet below and above your print when heat-pressing fabrics. For mugs or other hard items, use protective paper underneath to catch drips. The top layer keeps your print safe from distortion too. Read on to learn exactly when and how to use this handy paper!

Also Read: Is Sublimation Ink Toxic? (No It’s Not But..)

Importance of using protective paper in sublimation

In the sublimation process, using protective paper plays an important role. This specialized paper offers a barrier between the sublimation press and transfer material, crucially preventing unwanted ink transfer to your press.

See also  Sublimation vs Infusible Ink: What's the Difference?

It’s specifically crafted to resist high temperatures without compromising its integrity or causing color shifts in prints.

The use of protective papers such as parchment paper, silicone-coated variants, kraft paper or Teflon sheets ensures precise image transfer and prevents smudging or bleeding of sublimation ink – a critical feature for optimal print quality.

This non-stick property also makes removal post-pressing easy and mess-free.

Hence, investing in good quality protective paper is pivotal in achieving professional-grade results in all your sublimation projects.

Best Sublimation Protective Paper

There are several types of sublimation protective paper available, including butcher paper, parchment paper, and Teflon sheets.

1. Artesprix Protective Paper

My top recommendation is Artesprix Protective Paper, designed specifically for sublimation use. This specialization makes it ideal for these projects, as the paper is engineered to excel in moisture absorption and release.

Protective Paper Roll – Artesprix
Protective Paper Roll – Artesprix

The proprietary coating and composition prevent scorching at high heat.

One advantage is that the sheets can be reused if no inks get on its surface and they are clean enough.

Sometimes after pressing designs, there is no release of excess ink and the protective paper comes out clean, In that case, you can just save these clean sheets and use them for your future prints.

Even if some ink blows out, you can simply cut away those stained spots and reuse unaffected areas as long as sufficient paper remains to cover your design.

This reusability makes Artesprix a higher-value product, saving money over constantly purchasing new sheets.

The combination of flawless performance and reuse potential makes Artesprix my number-one choice.

Also Read: Sublimation Ink Vs Regular Ink (Here’s The Truth…)

2. Uncoated Butcher paper

Butcher paper has become increasingly popular in the sublimation process due to its thickness and durability. Known for its robustness, it is ideal for heavier materials or fabrics that are heavily saturated with ink.

See also  What Is Sublimation Ink (Easy & Quick Explanation)

Please go with uncoated butcher paper only as we want it to absorb excess moisture during the sublimation process.

Its superior heat resistance provides a safeguard against tearing or color shifting at high temperatures. This makes butcher paper an advantageous choice for those seeking consistent results in their sublimation projects.

However, while it’s thicker than parchment paper, it lacks some of the non-stick properties found in other options such as Teflon sheets, potentially making cleanup more demanding.

It is much less expensive if you compare it with parchment paper but it does not provide as much protection as parchment paper does.

3. Plain Copy Paper

If you ever find yourself in a pinch without any other options, regular old copy paper can work in a crisis.

It’s far from ideal – the thinness and porousness allow moisture and ink to leak through easily, that’s why to make up for the thinness, use multiple sheets stacked for adequate thickness and density which may get costlier.

But the benefits are that it get the job done very well and it’s probably already in your home office so you don’t have to buy anything separately.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Sublimation Protective Paper

Consider the heat resistance, non-stick properties, size/thickness, and compatibility with sublimation ink when choosing the best protective paper for your sublimation projects.

1. Heat resistance

Sublimation protective paper that offers high heat resistance is crucial for achieving the best results in sublimation printing.

The paper needs to withstand the high temperatures generated by the heat press without warping, melting, or causing any smudging or bleeding of the ink.

This ensures that your designs transfer smoothly and accurately onto various substrates such as fabrics, ceramics, and metals.

Choosing a sublimation protective paper with excellent heat resistance guarantees a successful and professional-looking end result.

2. Moisture Absorption Property

Moisture absorption is critical for sublimation protective papers for proper ink transfer and dissipation. As the ink converts from solid to gas during pressing, it releases moisture.

Absorbent paper pulls this moisture away, preventing blurred or bleeding images from excess wetness against the transfer surface. Trapped moisture can also cause steam scorching issues.

See also  7 Best Sublimation Software for Beginners

Quality sublimation paper absorbs the released moisture into the sheet, facilitating complete dissipation of the ink and avoiding ghosting from moisture returning after pressing.

Coated papers usually do not have higher absorption property that’s why it’s always recommended to get yourself uncoated sublimation protective papers for better moisture absorption.

3. Size and thickness

Size and thickness are important factors to consider when choosing the best sublimation protective paper. The size of the protective paper should match the size of your substrate or transfer to ensure proper coverage during the heat press process.

It’s crucial to measure your substrates accurately and choose a protective paper that is slightly larger than the surface area to prevent any ink from leaking onto your heat press.

The thickness of the protective paper affects its durability and effectiveness in preventing color shifting or bleeding. Thicker papers provide better protection against heat and can withstand multiple uses without tearing or warping.

However, overly thick papers may not allow for proper ink penetration, resulting in lower image quality.

What NOT to Use as Sublimation Paper

It may seem like there are many paper options that should work for sublimation. But steer clear of these materials:

❌ Parchment Paper

This has a non-stick silicone coating that resists moisture absorption. The coating also limits ink transfer. It’s really only suitable for baking projects, not pressing.

❌ Teflon Sheets

While Teflon is awesome for applying HTV vinyl, it can’t withstand the 400°F+ heat needed for sublimation transfers. The high temps will destroy the material.

❌ Wax Paper or Freezer Paper

Again these seem like reasonable cover sheet options. But wax paper won’t absorb moisture well. Freezer paper has a coating that limits absorption. Both also risk melting at high temperatures.

❌ Newspaper or Wrapping Paper

Papers like these are too thin and porous. Any moisture or ink will leak right through which ruins the print. They also can scorch at high heat.

❌ Cardstock

While thick, most cardstock has a coating applied during production. This makes it less absorbent and more prone to scorching.

Stick with the recommended paper supplies for the best results.

Wrapping Up

When selecting supplies for sublimation projects, don’t overlook the importance of quality protective paper.

Be sure to use recommended papers like Artesprix brand or uncoated options that will properly absorb moisture and facilitate ink dissipation without scorching at high temperatures.

Avoid parchment paper, Teflon sheets, or other coated papers that resist moisture absorption.

The correct paper protects your prints, equipment, and workspaces while enabling stunning image transfers every time.

With the right protective paper in your sublimation arsenal, you can take on any customization project with confidence and consistently flawless results.

Bella Williams

I'm Bella, a mom of 3 cuties. With 7 years of sublimation experience, my blog dyethrive.com 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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