Ruth A B Clegg | The Dye Sublimation Process

The Dye Sublimation Process

May 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


In January 2015 I had a show at the Providence Art Club of Dye Sublimation photographs on metal printed by Blazing Editions and hand-colored polymer intaglio prints. The subject matter was underwater plant life found in an Adirondack pond. I would like to focus on the description of the Dye Sublimation  process which is a relatively new and very exciting process. 


In order to transfer the image from the paper to the substrate, it requires a heat press process that is a combination of time, temperate and pressure. The heat press applies this special combination, which can change depending on the substrate, to “transfer” the sublimation dyes at the molecular level into the substrate. The most common dyes used for sublimation activate at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a range of 380 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit is normally recommended for optimal color.


The end result of the sublimation process is a nearly permanent, high resolution, full color print. Because the dyes are infused into the substrate at the molecular level, rather than applied at a topical level (such as with screen printing and direct to garment printing), the prints will not crack, fade or peel from the substrate under normal conditions.