If you visit the EnMart website or read anything that we write about our sublimation and ChromaBlast products, you’ll probably notice almost immediately that we’re very scrupulous about using both words, sublimation and ChromaBlast. This tends to confuse some people. I have even had colleagues point out to me that I have made an error when I refer to both names in my writing. The conversation usually goes like this:
Colleague (looking over my shoulder at my computer screen): “You made a mistake there. That should just say sublimation”
Me: “Nope, it’s right the way it is.”
Colleague: “But aren’t ChromaBlast and Sublimation the same thing?”
Me: “They aren’t the same thing. Hmm, I guess I should write a blog post and explain exactly how they’re different.”
Then, of course, I write a post like this explaining that there are significant differences between the two processes. While both can be used to decorate garments, they don’t work the same way or on the same types of fabric.
Sublimation is the process by which a solid converts to a gas without first going through a liquid state. The example of sublimation that most people would be familiar with would be dry ice. Sublimation as a printing method can be used only on polyester and polymer coated items. When sublimation inks are heated to 400 degrees F they turn to gas and form a permanent bond with the polyester fibers. The garment or item is actually dyed and the color will not peel, crack or wash away.
By contrast, ChromaBlast is used on cotton garments and items. It uses a chemical reaction between the ink and the cotton substrate to create a nearly permanent bond. Unlike sublimation ink, ChromaBlast ink does not pass directly from a solid to a gaseous state. Heat and pressure are used to transfer the ink from the printed transfer to the cotton item to be imprinted. ChromaBlast can be used on any cotton item that can withstand the heat of a heat press.
Where both Sublimation and ChromaBlast are alike is in the fact that both are great ways to expand your business and offer more decorated products and garments to your customers. There are relatively low start-up costs, few barriers to entry, and it is generally easy to set up and run a sublimation or ChromaBlast system.
If you are thinking of purchasing a ChromaBlast or Sublimation system, EnMart will be happy to advise you on your purchase. We also offer a complete line of Sublimation and Chromablast supplies and inks.