How To Sublimate On Dark Shirts/Black Fabric Color (With Pictures)

Are you wondering how to sublimate on a dark shirt? Well, it is the most common question asked by many sublimation artists when they step into sublimation printing procedures. There is always a question mark in their mind because sublimation prints are not easy to make on dark shirts. Still many of the artists have claimed to print on dark shirts with the use of white under the base.

Now, many other ways are getting popular in the markets, allowing you to sublimate on a dark shirt directly, easily, and quickly, without the white under base. In this article, I will let you know certain important things related to sublimation in dark colors including dark shirts. So, make sure you are not skipping any step as all of the details mentioned below will be helpful for you in your sublimation printing works.

How To Sublimate On Dark T-Shirts Or Black Color?

Let me tell you there are two ways to sublimate the dark colors. The first one my brother will apply is by bleaching the specific part of the dark color and the second I’m gonna apply is to use Siser EasySubli HTV (heat transfer vinyl). Both procedures I’ve mentioned in this post with pictures.

The first way by bleaching a t-shirt is a cheap choice but a bit of a hassle. On the other side, the Siser EasySubli HTV process is expensive but flawless. You can choose the way you like the most. Firstly, I am gonna start with the first process which is sublimating a dark T-shirt.

Materials you will need:

  • The best sublimation printer
  • A heat press machine
  • Some dark-colored bleached t-shirt substrates (52% cotton and 48% polyester will also work)
  • Sublimation ink
  • Sublimation paper
  • Vinyl cutter (for print then cut)
  • Cricut mat
  • Vinyl sheet
  • High heat tape
  • Parchment paper or Teflon sheet

Step 1: Prepare the design in photoshop or any other online software. Some printers have their own design software as Epson sublimation printers have. You can use WF 7750 printer. Print the sublimation paper using sublimation ink. Make sure to mirror the image.

Step 2: Stick the sublimation paper on the vinyl mat and load it into the Cricut machine and cut the image. And weed the image from peeling off the vinyl matte.

Step 3: Apply the already cut adhesive vinyl sheet onto the t-shirt which you cut with the design on the sublimation paper. Make sure to apply it in the center of the t-shirt.


Step 4: Bleach that specific part of the t-shirt. If you don’t know how to bleach a shirt for sublimation you can read our guide here. After bleaching, remove the parchment paper and adhesive vinyl you’ll see the clear white part of the t-shirt.

After bleach

Step 5: Now, apply the printed sublimation paper onto the bleached design area and tape it with heat-resistant tape. Make sure to place the printed design carefully.

Step 6: Place the parchment paper over the top of the design and apply the heat press at 385 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 seconds. I used Cricut EasyPress.

Step 7: Remove the sublimation paper after 5 seconds and here you go!

Ready to use

How To Sublimate On Dark Shirts Without Bleach?

Materials you will need

  • Gitter HTV vinyl (Siser EasySubli)
  • Sublimation printer
  • Lint roller
  • Vinyl cutter
  • Parchment Paper
  • Heat press
  • Dark t-shirt or cloth (you can use 100% cotton in this process)

Step 1: The first step for sublimation is to design the images. You can do this with the use of illustrator or any other designing software. Always remember to set the print settings too high quality. Moreover, you should go with a borderless printer, if you have a larger image. Keep in mind not to mirror your image this time if you are printing on EasySubli paper.

Step 2: There are two sheets in the pack of the EasySubli one is a mask sheet and another one is the printable HTV sheet. Make sure you know the accurate procedure of placing vinyl into the printer before printing the design.

Make sure to print on the dark matte side of the HTV paper because this side can hold the colors. Otherwise, if you print on the shiny side, this side will not hold the ink, instead will disperse it. The second sheet is the actual vinyl sheet which is the transparent sheet we’ll use as the mask.

Step 3: Using print then cut the feature of the Cricut, first print the paper and place it on the vinyl mat, and cut the design using Cricut or Sillihoute. After cutting, weed the design and through the excessive paper away.

weeding the design

Step 4: Peel off the backing of the other sheet which we mentioned above as a mask. Through away the white side and use the transparent sheet which is actually vinyl. The translucent shiny vinyl will be adhesive so you can place the adhesive backing on the design to transfer the design to the vinyl sheet.

Step 5: Again peel off the backing of the shiny side of this vinyl paper like a sticker. It is a kind of lamination process you can know more about here.

Step 6: Take the t-shirt and fold it from the center and press the heat press for 5 seconds in order to make a center. Now with the help of a lint roller, ensure the shirt or the cloth you’re going to print on, is smooth and plain.

Step 7: Place the laminated vinyl paper onto the t-shirt and place the parchment paper above it. Press with the heat press (Cricut EasyPress) to the temperature of 315 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. After that, remove the parchment paper.

place the HTV printed vinyl

Note: HTV paper will be hot it is suggested not to remove it immediately and wait for 1 minute to get cooled. Remove the adhesive paper.

remove the HTV paper

here you go!

Ready to use

What Colors Can You Sublimate?

Multiple colors allow you to sublimate easily and quickly. Whereas, white is the best color that is the most suitable one for sublimation processes. Light colors such as skin, light pink, and light blue are considered the most perfect apparel colors for sublimation. Alternatively, on the other hand, dark colors are not ideal and are not good for sublimation.


Can you sublimate on a black polyester shirt?

Yes, you can sublimate on a black polyester shirt but make sure the results will not be the same as that of white color. You can sublimate black polyester or any dark color by simply bleaching them.

can you print white sublimation on a black t-shirt?

You can print white on the black t-shirt using white glitter HTV. because white glitter HTV has the polyester. But you need to use a sawgrass printer to make it possible because it is a dedicated sublimation printer. You can also use the best sublimation printer for t-shirts.

Final Thoughts

The details written in the above-mentioned article tell you a step-by-step guide on how to sublimate dark shirts. Although the sublimation on dark shirts is not visible, still, we cannot say that sublimation does not occur on dark shirts. Also, you can watch the video here.

Before practically performing sublimation on dark shirts, make sure you read this article with thorough attention. It will help you in understanding the proper procedure of sublimation and what are the steps that are important to be taken care of.


  • Olivia Hanson

    Hello, Beautiful People. I'm Olivia and I'll be guiding you on how-to tutorials and guides. I am a mommy of two little angles. My kids are also interested in DIY, Arts & Crafts. So I'm here to serve you some of my previous experience.