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Why Is My Sublimation Ink Dull? Faded Sublimation Ink Mystery Solved!

Every Sublimation printer beginner wonders at some point "why is my sublimation ink dull and faded?" 

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If you're concerned about your sublimation print being faded, this tutorial will explain why you should (probably) not worry! 

Sublimation creates bold, vibrant prints so it can be concerning when the sublimation paper comes out of the sublimation printer looking faded and dull. 

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The good news is, there's no need to troubleshoot your Sawgrass sublimation printer if you're getting faded prints. (Note the color of the printed sheet on the left.)

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Unlike an inkjet or laser printer that print out with full color ink, sublimation ink will be dull on the sublimation paper but will come to full color until heat and pressure are applied.  

It's absolutely normal for sublimation ink to look dull when it's first printed. Once the print is sublimated onto the substrate with high heat and pressure, the ink converts to a gas and infuses into the polyester material and the colors will become bold, bright, and vibrant. 

Sawgrass, Silhouette and Sublimation, Sublimation Printing, sublimation, sg1000

If you are having other color printing issues with your Sawgrass SG500 or SG100 Sublimation printer it could be that you are not printing through the Sawgrass Print Manager.  That can cause lines in sublimation prints and colors to be "off" (as seen in the overly dark prints here).  To troubleshoot those sublimation printer issues check out this tutorial.

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  1. I use SS to design then send to my Sawgrass SG500 - I have been having issues with faded colors AFTER printing on my koozies. I know there are some programs that need to have their color settings adjusted for the Print manager - does SS? I follow all the manufactures recommendations on the heat settings and timings....

    1. Hey there! Check out this blog post:


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