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Sublimation printing is a popular method for transferring high-resolution images and designs onto a variety of items, from t-shirts and mugs to phone cases and mousepads. While sublimation can produce stunning, long-lasting results, it's not without its challenges. To help you achieve the best possible outcomes, we've compiled a list of common mistakes to avoid when doing sublimation printing.

1. Using the Wrong Materials: Sublimation works best on specific materials, such as polyester or materials with a high polyester content. Attempting to sublimate on 100% cotton or non-coated surfaces will yield poor results.

2. Low-Quality Images: Sublimation is all about high-resolution images. Using low-quality graphics or images can result in fuzzy or pixelated prints. Always use high-resolution images for the best results.

3. Incorrect Heat Press Settings: Precise time, temperature, and pressure settings are critical for successful sublimation. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific heat press and substrates, and ensure your settings are accurate.

4. Insufficient Pressure: If your heat press doesn't apply enough pressure, the sublimation ink may not transfer completely. Make sure your press is properly adjusted to provide even pressure.

5. Inconsistent Heat Distribution: Some heat presses may have uneven heat distribution, resulting in uneven prints. Use a heat press with a consistent heat pattern to ensure uniform results.

6. Skipping Pre-Pressing: Pre-pressing your substrate helps remove moisture and wrinkles, ensuring a smooth surface for sublimation. Skipping this step can lead to inconsistent prints.

7. Not Using Protective Paper: Place a sheet of protective paper between your transfer and the heat platen to prevent ink bleed-through and contamination of the heat press.

8. Wrong Side of the Transfer: Ensure you're placing the correct side of the transfer paper face down on your substrate. The ink should come into direct contact with the material.

9. Over-Pressing: Applying too much pressure or heat for too long can result in over-saturation and color distortion. Follow the recommended settings to avoid this issue.

10. Neglecting Cooling Time: Allow your sublimated items to cool completely before handling them. Rushing this step can smudge or damage the print.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following best practices, you can achieve stunning sublimation prints with vibrant colors and long-lasting durability. Sublimation printing offers endless creative possibilities, and with the right techniques, you can produce professional-quality items that stand out.