How to Decorate Sublimated Polyester Garments

Many sports uniforms, such as baseball, soccer, hockey, and football jerseys use sublimated polyester fabrics. These materials allow decoration of every inch of the garment with a full palette of bright, bold, vibrant colors. Scorch marks and dye migration are two common occurrences when heat printing onto sublimated polyester.

Dye Migration

Sublimated polyester is dyed using a process which uses heat to convert dyes from a solid into a gas, allowing them to sublimate into the substrate. Dye sublimation can increase the likelihood of dyes bleeding through heat applied material.This is referred to as dye migration.

How to Avoid Dye Migration

Choosing the right material is crucial in avoiding dye migration. There are several heat transfer materials which have been designed to help colors stay true.


Synthetic materials like polyester can scorch or melt when exposed to high temperatures. It’s important to apply materials to these fabrics at a lower temperature.

How to Avoid Scorching

  • Use low-temperature materials – CAD-CUT® Premium Plus™, for example, applies at a low temperature range, reducing the risk of leaving scorch marks. Stahls' TEK™ line of printable heat transfer materials are engineered for application at a low temperature.
  • Heat printing accessories – Flexible Application Pad is a silicone rubber pad which protects heat-sensitive materials. Because it absorbs a significant amount of heat from the upper platen, it protects the garment from burn marks, but requires adjustments to application time.
  • The Silicone Upper Platen Cover attaches to the upper platen and provides similar protection to heat-sensitive garments.
Polyester Uniform

Stahls' CAD-CUT® Thermo-FILM®:

  • Tested extensively and been proven to inhibit dye migration.
  • Special low-bleed formula and high opacity.
  • Perfect for decorating sports uniforms like Football, Lacrosse, Baseball.
Polyester Uniform

CAD-COLOR® SuperTEK™ Sublistop™:

  • The charcoal-based adhesive, ONYX STiX2 inhibits dye migration.
  • The low application temperature for heat-sensitive fabrics.
  • Perfect for performance materials, Lycra®/spandex, and nylon.

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