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How to Sublimate on Hats? | Techniques and Ideas - Complete Guide

Sublimation on Hats

Wearing hats is as old as the world itself!

It has become an essential part of an everyday outfit. A general survey said that almost 11% of people who participated in the activity wear hats daily. 17% of them wear hats on some days of the week. And 5% of people wear them once a month.

Hats are trendy among people of every age. Therefore, customizing your hats into a unique and appealing style could be incredible. It will describe your personality aspects, what you like, and what you want to show and tell the world. And Sublimation Printing on Hats is the answer to everything related to customization.

Therefore, in the following guide, we have given a detailed introduction to everything related to that Sublimation on Hats.

Read the full guide to learn incredible sublimation ideas and procedures for How to Sublimate on Hats.

Define sublimation and its application on hats

Sublimation Printing is the process of converting a solid material into gas or vapors. You can use direct or indirect heat methods to vaporize the material. After vaporization, condense the gas to convert it into solid material again.

There are two methods to do the process:

1. Direct Heat Method

You can use direct heat at high temperatures. However, it creates So2 gas, which is highly toxic.

2. Indirect Heat Method

You can use air pressure to create vapors. Therefore, there is no use for high temperatures.

Sublimation on Hats

Identify the Potential Customer Interest in Sublimation Hat

The size of the headwear market lies at almost USD 26496.37 million in 2022. The market captures a huge place in the business sector. It means sublimating these headwear and hats holds intensive customer potential. Moreover, the report says that the market is expected to grow from 2022 to 2030 at an annual growth of 6.5%.

Benefits of Hat Sublimation

Sublimation methods allow you to match your personality with your clothes.

1. Wear Personalized and Customized Hats

Everyone wants to wear something that matches their personality or outfit style. With sublimation hats, it is not a myth anymore. You can design hats according to your requirements, styles, colors, and shades. To make it more personalized, you can use logos and the names of your team as identification marks. Provides High-Quality and Durability

Sublimation provides a high-quality material or fabric. The vibrant heat in sublimation gives your hat a long-lasting and adorable look. It means you can wear in any circumstances without worrying about the damage.

2. Good-Quality Fabric

The fabric used for sublimation consists of 85% polyester and 15 % elastane. This combination makes it the perfect piece of cloth for every season. Moreover, it's a high-quality material for your use.

3. Cost-Effective Way of Styling

It is a cost-effective method to give your personality a new look. It provides the ability to design unlimited ideas on the fabric at a reasonable cost. This, further, lasts longer than traditional dying or embroidery.

Sublimation on Hats

Discuss the Essential Tools and Materials needed for Hat Sublimation

Tools for Hat Sublimation

1. Heat Press Machine

It is a fantastic tool for applying designs to different substrates. The presser applies pressure at a high temperature for a pre-set amount of time. They are imprinted designs on hats, shirts, mugs, and device covers.

Commonly, there are two types of heat presses available in the market. Manual and automatic heat press. However, a semi-automatic presses is also hitting the market recently. You can choose them according to your requirements. In advanced and automated pressers, machines can automatically control heat, pressure, and time while working.

2. Sublimation Paper

The paper is a coated paper that holds and spreads sublimation ink on fabric. This means it does not absorb the ink that holds it and then releases it on the surface. It can withstand the high temperature of a presser or printer. So, they create vibrant designs and spread beautiful colors on your hat.

Furthermore, the paper does not work as the regular inkjet printer.

Firstly, you need a sublimation paper and an inkjet printer with sublimation ink for Sublimation Printing. It also does not work with regular dye ink because the paper cannot hold regular ink.

The process is simple: the paper holds the design with sublimation ink. Then, you will press the paper on your hat’s fabric with a heat presser. Consequently, the material will absorb the ink, and you can see a sublimated hat with a simple formula.

3. Sublimation Ink

Sublimation inks are different from regular dye inks in nature, as it is in solid form. There are two categories of sublimation inks. One is aqueous-based ink, and the other is solvent-based sublimation ink. The ingredients of one ink are suspendable in water and the other in oil, respectively.

Usually, the sublimation inks come in dye-based material. It is easy to transfer the ink into the object or item without cracks and streaks. Ultimately, The ink becomes part of the fabric. This high level of accuracy to imprint a design on an item without mess makes it more reliable.

Moreover, the ink does not fade or show cracks and wash off over time. Imprint incredible designs of your choice with sublimation ink without any worry.

4. Heat-Resistant Tape

It is a film tape made of polyester material. The tape has a solid ability to of heat resistance. Moreover, they are beneficial for applications involving high temperatures and pressure. Its ability to bear temperature is way ahead of regular adhesive tapes. Therefore, it applies to various projects and tasks, especially dying and sublimation.

Moreover, along with being heat resistant, it is also a solid electrical insulator. This means it is safer to use this material for your work.

5. Protective Paper

Protective paper or blowout paper is a type of protective sheet you use on the top of the sublimation print. You can put it underneath the fabric or item you want to design.

Ultimately, the primary purpose of blowout paper is to catch unwanted or extra ink. Once the ink gets heated, the presser might catch it and damage the fabric or design. However, the paper catches and holds the ink to protect the presser.

There must be the following characteristics in your sublimation paper:

  • The color should be white

  • An uncoated paper is better for sublimation

  • It must not hold the moisture and release it properly

6. Heat-Resistant Gloves

You will need heat-resistant gloves for putting pressure on the presser. This pressure is essential to imprint the design. However, you know the presser gets heated at high temperatures, so it could be dangerous to touch it without gloves.

Different glove materials, such as knitted cotton, nylon, and latex coating, are available. You can choose according to your requirements.

7. Lint Roller

It is a roll with a cardboard or plastic barrel attached to a central spindle. The cardboard is covered with a one-sided adhesive paper mounted on the spindle.

After the sublimation, the roller effectively removes lint or other unwanted or tiny fibers from the fabric or item.

8. Teflon Sheet

The sheet is made of fluorocarbons, including fluorine and carbon. There is a strong attraction of force between fluorine and carbon. Therefore, they make a strong bond and become inert. Moreover, the material is beneficial for making pipes and containers.

In sublimation, it helps to reduce scorch transfer and provides a barrier between the heat presser and the heated element. This barrier prevents the fabric or presser from sticking.


You need a list of specific materials to start the sublimation process. In the following section, we will guide you about everything related to fabric and material.

1. Polyester Hats

It is the best choice if you use 100% polyester for the sublimation. It provides a bright and clear design transformation. The color texture will be highly vivid on your fabric. It is one of the most popular materials for hats. Plus, a good choice for Sublimation on Hats. The material is light and has an excellent ability of moisture-wicking.

Moreover, the material also provides water resistance. This means you can bear light drizzling if you wear a polyester hat.

2. Sublimation Blanks

The sheets on which you can easily create designs by using sublimation ink. The sheets vary in thickness, size, texture, and color. You can use them according to your needs. The available customized sizes in the market are “5*6”, “5*7” and “8*10”.

3. Cleaning Solution

Several cleaning solutions are available in the market to clean the sublimated item once the process is done. You can use them according to your material requirements.

However, according to recommendations, clean or wash your fabric after 24 hours of dying. Clean it with some detergent and put it into cool water. Then, let it dry at an average temperature. Do not use any bleaching and cleaning material with chlorine or fabric softener. Just let it dry by itself in low and dry air.

4. Lint-Free Cloth

You need a cleaner usually made of polyamide fiber and polyester material. This cloth does not leave any stain on the presser. It cleans everything properly. It is a perfect observation to clean any spill and stain after the sublimation process.

5. Scissors

You need got-to-cutting scissors that we usually use in everyday tasks. This paper-cutting tool is perfect for cutting sublimation paper or any other task related to cutting. However, there is a difference between paper-cutting scissors and fabric-cutting scissors.

So if you are cutting digital transfer masking and transfer paper release, use paper scissors. However, for fabric, use fabric scissors.

Guide on choosing the right type of Hats for Sublimation

The most crucial step in hat sublimation is to select the right hat for your sublimation process. You must remember several aspects before choosing the hat, such as material, shape, color, and texture. You must ensure that your design looks good on this hat design.

1. Polyester Hats

Sublimation Printing on Hats

Polyester is a trendy material for hats. It is famous among hat lovers. The material is light in weight and provides a high-quality fabric. Furthermore, it is long-lasting and does not get damaged easily. Polyester is a recommended material for sublimation as it can easily hold the sublimation ink and go for a longer time.

Another interesting fact about polyester hats is that they will keep you safe from light drizzling. They wick the sweat and keep you dry and fresh. Sounds like a great deal of hat to me!

2. White or Light-Colored Hats

Sublimation Printing on Hats

Your goal should be to imprint the design accurately with bright and vibrant colors. The colors would appear more beautiful and prominent if you use white or light-colored hats. However, it is up to you what design you want for your hat.

3. Smooth and Even Fabric

Sublimation Printing on Hats

Your fabric must be smooth so it will hold the ink more readily. Moreover, if the texture is, smooth and even, the sublimation ink may reach the fabric surface unevenly. As a result, the ink will appear bright in some areas and faded or missing in others.

4. Structured Hats

Sublimation Printing on Hats

Pressing a structure's hat to its stitching texture and design is complicated. Putting the hat on the presser creates shallow space between the fabric and the beneath the surface. Therefore, you need a vapor form to put beneath the hat fabric.

The process is easy in vapor form. You need to take a sheet of vapor form and cut it into 3 to 4 small pieces with the size of the presser. Then cut a slightly bigger sheet and put it on the top of all sheets. Bind them with tape according to the size of the hat and presser. Then put the hat on those layers of vapor form. This time there will be no hollow place there. Your hat is ready to sublimate.

5. Mesh Back Hats

Sublimation Printing on Hats

These hats have net-type material on the back and sides of the hat. The only area that is available for sublimation is the front side. Therefore you have to be careful about the size design. These hast are suitable for logos and small textures.

Furthermore, to start the process carefully cut the spare area around the design from the sublimation paper as the only designed area left there. Then put the hat on a pedestal and adjust the paper on it carefully. Your mesh back hat is ready for sublimation.

6. Pre-Treated Hats

Sublimation Printing on Hats

There is no need to buy a new hat for sublimation. You can use already available hats, even if you have washed them, or use them several times. Just make sure the fabric is not damaged or too thin due to washing, as there is the chance that it will get damaged after some time due to its already low life.

Sublimation on Hats

Explain different Printing Methods for Hat Sublimation

There are different Sublimation on Hats methods that you can use according to design requirements. We have discussed those methods in the next section.

All-Over Sublimation

In all-over sublimation, the designer takes a transfer paper and prints the design on it. Then, they place the transfer paper on the garment and fix its actual position. The presser turns the ink into vapors. These vapors penetrate the fabric and create a beautiful design with vibrant colors. After that, leave the garment to get cooled. Your ink will be permanently embedded in the fabric.

Panel Sublimation

The process is simple and the same as all-over sublimation. However, in panel sublimation, you only design the panels of the hats. You can choose the panel you design, such as some people want to design the front panel of the hat, and others may want to design the side panels. So, this method helps you sublimate your hat more effectively.

Visor Sublimation

Have seen the elegant crownless hat, which looks like a helmet or visor. In this hat, the visor is attached to a buckle or strap that encircles the head and keeps you from sunlight. The hat protects your face, not the head because the top remains uncovered.

In this type of hat, you can design the strap or front area by using the sublimation method.

Layered Sublimation

If you want to imprint layers of design one above another, the layered sublimation method will be helpful for you. There are several ways to do the layered sublimation. You can press both designs simultaneously or press them one after another, one layer at a time.

Consequently, if you choose the layer method, place the design on fabric that will go underneath and press it. Let the fabric cool down and dry. Then, place the upper layer of the design and press it again. This method is time-consuming and usually less common among designers.

However, if you go with both layers simultaneously, take a paper tape and bound transfer paper of both designs at the right place. Then press the paper to imprint the design on the fabric. It is an easy-to-do and less time-consuming task.

Tonal and Textured Sublimation

You can give your hat different color tones and textures to give it an elegant look. Use vibrant color shades and create random textures by using those colors. It will be better if you use a color combination of light and dark colors. As in this combination, each color will appear prominent and unique at the end. Moreover, there will be fewer chances of messing the colors up.

Spot Sublimation

If you want to apply a small spot of design by using so many colors, spot sublimation is here for your assistance. It is pretty famous because of its ability to imprint as many colors as you want in a small piece of design or logo.

However, you have to keep the size of the design in your mind. The size of the logo must be within 12 to 16 inches for spot sublimation. Moreover, you can also create several small spot designs to create a complete image or picture.

Full-Color Sublimation

You use this method to sublimate the whole fabric, not just a tiny portion. In full-color sublimation, the colors spread all over the hat's fabric and are colored with vibrant shades. In this type of sublimation, the presser infuses the design directly into the fabric.

Inspiring Design Ideas for Customized Hats

If you are a person with taste, you must already have ideas about what type of design you need on your hat. However, if you are confused, like the rest of us, we have given some incredible sublimation on hat ideas you can use to design the hat.

1. Logo and Branding

Sublimation on Hats

If you are working in a marketing firm, wearing a hat with the name of your product will help you to attract customers. This will increase the brand awareness. Moreover, you can also use logos of companies and brands to customize your hat.

2. Sports Team Spirit

Sublimation on Hats

Customized hats are a great choice for baseball players or other sports teams. The similarity increases the team spirit and enhances teamwork among the group members. Furthermore, it becomes your identity, as people can recognize you and your team members. So, team logos and names are another interesting idea to design the hat.

3. Seasonal Themes

Sublimation on Hats

If you like autumn just like I do, you can design dry autumn leaves in vibrant and catchy colors on your hat. Seasonal themes allow you the opportunity to match your personality with your favorite season or current surrounding weather. Most probably, it will give your personality an appealing and unique look.

4. Geometric and Abstract Patterns

Sublimation on Hats

Furthermore, you can use different geometric shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, etc. You can create different shapes and designs by using one or more than one shape from the geometry list.

Instead of shapes, abstract patterns also allow you to create catchy random designs and shapes. It further allows you to use different combinations of shades and colors, or you can use almost all the shades in the color palate. An open-hand method to design new sublimation ideas for hats.

5. Graffiti and Street Art

Sublimation on Hats

If you are a street art lover, you must know Banksy’s famous street art of the little girl and a balloon that says, “There is always hope.”

You can design any famous street art on your hats to show the world your taste in graffiti. You can use world-famous street artists' ideas to design your hat.

6. Paw Prints and Pet Love

How to Sublimate on Hats

If you have a pet, you can put a picture of it or just write your pet's name on the hat. Moreover, you can design a similar hat for your pet, too. So design the hat and do twinning with your pet during evening walks!

7. Zodiac Signs

How to Sublimate on Hats

Do you believe in zodiac signs?

If yes, find your zodiac month and design a beautiful logo along with the name and sign of it. It is also an incredible idea to personalize yourself from the rest of the group. This is the specialty of sublimated hats; it allows you to customize your item according to your taste.

8. Cartoons & Anime

How to Sublimate on Hats

If you are an anime lover, designing new ideas is not a problem for you. Right now, you are thinking about several anime characters and quotes that have the potential to be imprinted on the hat.

Applying anime characters is excellent for you. Moreover, you can create a pack or group along with your friends who also watch anime. Each of you can wear a hat with your favorite character. So, design your hat and become a famous high school anime club!

9. Typography and Quotes

How to Sublimate on Hats

Moreover, there is a range of illustration ideas, typography designs, and infographics that you can use for customizing the hat. However, keep the size of the hat in your mind. If you use a design that needs a bigger surface area, it probably does not appear clear and easily understandable for everyone.

Break down the Sublimation Process into Clear, Easy-to-follow steps

For your further guidance, we are providing the complete method of the sublimation process in the following section:

1. Design Preparation

Prepare the design by using different ideas given in the above section. Moreover, if you have other interesting ideas, use them for hats. You need some graphic designing software for them such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, or whatever is available.

2. Hat Preparation

Prepare your that by putting a protective layer on it and placing it on the pedestal of the presser. However, ensure the fabric is clean and contains no stain on it.

3. Heat Press Setup

Now set up the heat presser with the required temperature and pressure. If your hat is in meshed fabric, do not forget to use vapor form to cover the gap between the presser and the hat.

4. Sublimation Process

Now place the transfer paper on the hat and put a protective sheet between the hat and the presser. Press the presser and leave it for the estimated time.

5. Cooling and Cleaning

Leave the hat to get cold for 24 hours at normal temperature in dry air. Then clean it with some detergent; however, do not use bleach or chlorine detergents.

Common Issues and their Solutions during Sublimation



​Color Fading or Mismatch

Put the transfer paper in the right place; otherwise, it will create a mismatch and collision of colors in the design.

​Blurred or Smudged Images

Use vibrant colors, high-quality ink, and smooth fabric to avoid blurred or smudged images.

Incomplete Transfer

Put accurate pressure on the paper with the exact required temperature. Moreover, your time for the sublimation process must also be exact. You may see an incomplete transfer if you stop the presser before the same time.

Ghosting or Double-printing

Clean your presser every time after work and check it. Sometimes the machine imprints the previously pressed design and the new design, damaging your fabric.

Ink Bleeding

Sometimes, the ink bleeds from the paper and spreads over the fabric. To avoid this, use high-quality material of ink and paper.

Peeling or Cracking Designs

​Do not use chlorine detergents and softening fabric to clean your hat after sublimation.


In this guide, we have provided the whole information about How to Sublimate on Hats by using incredible new ideas and designs. You can choose the designs according to your requirements. However, there are some precautions that you need to take before starting the sublimation process. Keep everything related to fabric type, sublimation paper quality, and specifications of sublimating ink in mind before planning the process.

Moreover, for further guidance, you can contact our consultant here at “Express It for a better understanding of the process and Printing Services in Las Vegas. We are providing a great deal of services to our customers related to customers related to sublimation process and customized outfit ideas.

Furthermore, you can visit our online store “Eclipse Custom Design” to see new and incredible design ideas. To give your appearance a new look by using the sublimation technology, we are always here for you.

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