Sublimation is used to print full colour into polyester or onto other synthetic surfaces. The images are printed on coated transfer paper as a reverse image of the final design, which is then transferred into polyester fabric in a heat press. The product is permanently dyed so it can be washed without damaging the quality of the image.
An alternative to screen printing, heat transfers are like screen printing two or more colours at one time or in the same process. Image is screened on a transfer substrate which is then laid directly on the material to be imprinted. The image is then transferred from the substrate to the material through the use of heat and pressure. Works best on cotton and cotton blends.
Screen printing involves the passing of ink through a screen that has been stretched on a frame, to which a stencil has been applied. The stencil openings determine the image that will be imprinted. Ink is liberally applied to the top of the screen, then pressed through with a squeegee. The ink then must be dried by heat application.
Embroidery is the stitching of a design into the fabric through the use of a high-speed, computer controlled sewing machine. Embroidery is most often recommended for caps, clothing, towels and bags. There is a large range of thread colour options for embroidery, including some Pantone colours, metallics and fluoro colours.