Why is Black Sublimation Turning Green
Why is Black Sublimation Turning Green

Why is Black Sublimation Turning Green? (Explained)

Oh no, another batch of mugs with black turned green!

I feel your frustration.

You’re creating these awesome designs with rich black imagery, only to pull your mugs out of the heat press to find black turned olive green or even brown.

Not exactly the stunning finished product you envisioned.

But don’t despair!

Black Sublimation Tunring Green
Black Sublimation Tunring Green

With a few tweaks to your sublimation process, materials, and settings, you can get beautiful true blacks on mugs time after time.

In this quick guide, I’ll answer your query on “Why is my black sublimation turning green” and the common culprits behind that, and simple tips to avoid it.

Let’s fix this so you can get back to creating!

Common Causes of Black Sublimation Turning Green

Before we dig into solutions, it helps to understand why your black sublimation results turn green in the first place. Here are the most common offenders:

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1. Issues with Ink Quality and Age

The ink in your printer plays a crucial role. As ink cartridges start to run low or the ink degrades:

Issues with Ink Quality and Age
  • Using old or off-brand inks can cause pigment changes not ideal for sublimation.
  • Ink expiration and degradation over time reduces vividness.

So if you haven’t replaced cartridges in awhile or notice other colors looking faded, your ink may not be producing true deep blacks.

2. Inaccurate Time and Temperature Settings

Even with high quality ink, you need sufficient heat and dwell time to properly vaporize and bond black dye to your mugs.

  • Undercooking due to too little heat or pressing time leads to incomplete sublimation.
  • Without enough heat and dwell time, you’ll likely end up with greenish blacks indicating the sublimation process isn’t finishing.

3. Incorrect Printer Color Profiles and Image Settings

Your printer and image color settings can also impact black ink output:

  • Are you using the incorrect color space like CMYK instead of richer RGB?
  • Do you have color correction enabled in your print driver interface?

Incorrect color handling can prevent true blacks from ending up in your final sublimation prints.

Incorrect Printer Color Profiles
Incorrect Printer Color Profiles

Here is an easy test to try:

  1. Convert your image to greyscale mode. This makes it use only black ink to print.
  2. Print the greyscale image and do the sublimation process.

If the black still looks green, then the issue is likely with the black ink or your heat press time/temperature settings.

Try pressing another greyscale print for more or less time. See if longer fixes it. Black turning green usually means not enough heat or time.

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If the greyscale image prints black properly, then the issue is with your computer printer color profiles instead.

Testing with greyscale prints helps narrow down if the issue is the black ink and heat press or your print setup.

4. Low Quality and Improper Sublimation Materials

And finally, the substrates themselves make a difference!

Low Quality and Improper Sublimation Materials
Low Quality and Improper Sublimation Materials
  • Good quality substrates with property polymer coating can hold black ink properly as compared to poor and unbranded substrates.
  • Non-sublimation-ready substrates or low-quality blanks can undermine results.

Now that you know the likely suspects behind black sublimation turning green, let’s get your true blacks back!

Troubleshooting Black Turning Green

With so many potential causes, systematically ruling out the root issue is key. Here are tips on troubleshooting and dialing in true black sublimation results:

1. Carefully Examine Materials and Process

Start by inspecting your materials and current sublimation process:

Measure temperature
Measure temperature
  • Use an infrared thermometer to verify your heat press temperature reaches the desired settings.
  • Test different substrates from different brands

This helps identify if problems stem from inaccurate heat or sub-optimal mug blanks.

2. Adjust Time and Temp Settings

Next, tweak your time and temp settings in small increments:

  • Try longer dwell times first in 10-15 second increments.
  • Slightly increase heat by 5°C increments.

Slowly dialing in additional heat and dwell time often helps complete sublimation, avoiding under-processed greens.

3. Ensure Optimal Printer Settings

Double-check your printer and image editing software as well:

  • Enable color correction and black enhancement options in printer driver settings.
  • Use RGB color space for richest true blacks instead of CMYK.
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Optimizing printer and software profiles brings out vivid blacks before sublimating.

4. Swap or Refresh Inks and ICC Profiles

Finally, give your printer ink and setup an overhaul:

  • Install fresh inks from reputable brands with confirmed expiration dates.
  • Generate an updated ICC color profile tuned for sublimation with your printer.

Fresh ink and calibrated print profiles help achieve deep true blacks.

With a few systematic tweaks to heat press settings, materials, image editing, and inks, you should start seeing gorgeous true blacks instead of frustrating green or brown shifts.

Pay special attention to dialing in additional time and temperature first. Then address printer settings and ink quality if needed.

Let that stunning black dog photo or bold black text come out just the way you envisioned!

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some lingering questions about preventing black sublimation from turning green? Here are answers to some common FAQs:

Why does black sublimation turn green on mugs but not other items?

The curved ceramic surface of mugs makes even heat distribution and ink bonding more difficult than flat surfaces like shirts. Minor heat or dwell time deficiencies show as color shifts like green or brown.
Use a good quality mug press and cook your prints properly.

What’s the ideal time and temp for sublimating black on mugs?

Every sublimation setup is slightly different, but a general guideline is 200°C for 60 seconds. Add more time if you see color shifts. Higher initial temps help mugs reach optimal heat quickly.

Could poor ink cause black sublimation turning green over time?

Definitely – degraded ink pigments and settled carbon particles reduce vivid blacks over the life of a cartridge. Always print with high quality inks before expiration.

Is CMYK or RGB color mode better to prevent greenish blacks?

RGB provides the widest range of deep blacks suited for sublimation. CMYK narrows the color spectrum, more likely clipping some dark shades.
Hopefully this gives you some clarity and confidence in solving black sublimation turning green issues.
Now you’re ready to achieve gorgeous true blacks on all your custom mugs and other sublimation projects!

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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