What Is the Best Transfer Paper for Sublimation Printing?

What Is the Best Transfer Paper for Sublimation Printing?

You may have often worked with heat transfer vinyl or paper if you are using a heat press for a home-based or commercial custom printing business. So, what are the differences between vinyl and heat transfer paper? Heat transfer paper can print full-multicolor images on a single sheet of paper.

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Which is the Best Transfer Paper for Sublimation Printing?

The best transfer paper for sublimation printing depends on the substrate, whether it is a light-colored or dark-colored garment/t-shirt.

There are two types of heat transfer paper. They are:

  • Light Heat Transfer Paper
  • Dark Heat Transfer Paper

The light heat transfer paper is used for printing white/light-colored garments, whereas the dark heat transfer paper is suitable to print on black/dark-colored clothes.

So, is that paper specifically for inkjet or laser printer? Thus, we will discuss what transfer paper will be the best option for your printing needs.

Heat transfer paper is used on garments or other substrates. They may be 100% cotton, cotton-blend fabrics, or synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and lycra.

Transfer paper can permanently transfer onto these substrates. The paper is coated with a polymer film that bonds the ink and the fabrics together.

Transfer papers are available in two standard sizes as the letter size is 8.5″ x 12″ and the tabloid-size is 11″ x17″.

Using heat transfer paper can bring full-color graphics or multiple layers down to a single sheet. Thus, it makes the process of pressing detailed images much easier and efficient.

While some papers can transfer with no visible background or white space, it is recommended to either cut paper transfers by hand or use the contour cutting feature of the vinyl cuter. It is also known as a printing cut.

Light Vs. Dark Heat Transfer Paper | Best Transfer Paper:

  • Light heat transfer paper is designed for pressing on white or light-colored fabrics. In comparison, the dark heat transfer paper is for pressing onto black or dark-colored fabrics.
  • Considering that printers do not need white inks for a print job, light heat transfer papers use the white or light color of the fabrics as a substitute. While the dark color transfer paper prints like normal paper using the white of the paper itself. Hence some are named opaque.
  • When sublimation printing using the light transfer paper, the images must always be mirrored before printing them. But this won’t be necessary for dark transfer paper prints.
  • Whether you are transferring on the light or dark garments or using the inkjet or laser printer, always have the proper heat transfer paper ready for your garments and press your transfers firmly.

Inkjet Transfer Paper Vs. Laser Transfer Paper | Best Sublimation Paper:

  • Inkjet transfer paper is best for any inkjet printer at home or work. Similarly, laser transfer papers are for laser printers.
  • These papers are specific to their printers. As inkjet transfer paper is designed to hold wet ink while laser transfer paper can only hold toner.
  • With inkjet heat transfer paper being as simple as light transfer paper, laser transfer paper is further divided into single/full-color and white toner papers. Single color laser transfer paper is compatible with both light and dark garments. The full-color paper has separate light and dark offerings.
  • White toner laser transfer papers are unique and are made explicitly for white toner laser printers. They are typically printing transfers in one or multiple colors alongside having the ability to self-weed the background or blank space of the printed image.

Essential Tips for Sublimation Transfer Paper:

  • For both inkjet and laser transfer paper, using the best available quality setting for printing is recommended. But keep in mind that over-saturating the ink will cause it to bleed upon washing. And wait after a day before washing any garment. Just press with either transfer paper and do not dry clean the garment.
  • Lastly, right after pressing any inkjet and single or full-color laser transfer, it is recommended to lightly stretching the transfer on garments to build up its softness and durability.


So, we have covered what heat transfer paper is available for inkjet and laser printers. But do you know that sublimation printers are specifically for sublimation printers? That is to say; we have specific sublimation transfer paper for Ricoh or Epson sublimation printer. That is due to the unique sublimation ink used in different printers.

Sublimation printing is defined as the print in the solid form of the image which can then transfer onto the bright substrate through a gaseous state when you heat press. With this in mind, it is suitable to use any sublimation paper on a basic inkjet or laser printer.

Related Questions:

How long can you keep your sublimation prints without heat press?

You can keep your sublimation prints without heat press for days or weeks. Most importantly, please put them in a plastic sleeve or paper packaging to protect them from getting exposed to dust, humidity, and air.

How to remove the white background of the image?

The effective way to remove the white background from the printed image is to cut the printed transfer with a contour cutter, cutting off the excess from the transfer. The other way is to create your design by setting the background transparent in the software.

Why can’t I print a dark t-shirt with dark transfer paper?

If you can’t print a dark t-shirt with dark transfer paper, you probably need to change your transfer papers. It is better to use Easy subli or glitter vinyl.

How can you mirror the image to print it without using the design space app?

You can mirror the image to printing it without using the design space app by converting the image file to .jpg.

How can you put a picture in number without Photoshop?

You can use Canva to put a picture in number without using Photoshop. Canva has photo frames that you can use letters and numbers.

How to get rid of color lines on the edges of printed paper?

You can get rid of color lines on the edges of the printed paper by clean your rollers. When you print on high quality, sometimes it throws heavy ink down, and it gets on other parts inside the printer. You will also find it helpful to turn high speed off and reduce your print density. That helps not to over saturate the paper, which will reduce the color front getting everywhere.

Written by Davis Brown

Hi! I'm Davis Brown, Head of Editorial Team of HowNest. We are team of researchers, writers and veterans. We publish articles, whitepapers, journals and blogs with full-proof research and proper analysis. We focus on various areas such as eCommerce, industrial operations, corporate management, technologies, and DIY solutions.

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