Preparing garments for the sublimation process is time-consuming and, at times, challenging, especially when dealing with dark clothes.
Pretreating T-shirts, especially those of black color, can be very tricky, and bleaching shirts is an even bigger task, especially for beginners in this field.
If you want to learn how to bleach a black shirt for sublimation, you are in the right place because we will take you through the process.
How To Bleach Black Garments For Sublimation?
The bleaching process is a must when you are preparing colored garments for sublimation, especially when you are dealing with dark garments like black or gray ones.
A bleached canvas is what you need to make your sublimation print stand out and become the star of the T-shirt, so it is one of the crucial techniques for all of you interested in sublimation printing.
Depending on the success of the bleaching process, your sublimation printer will be able to provide you with excellent or average results, so it is very important to pay attention and learn how to do it right.
If you are looking for a guide to help you learn how to bleach your black T-shirts and prepare them for sublimation, then read ours carefully!
This is the easiest way to bleach all of your black garments and prepare them for sublimation printing.
Prepare Your Sublimation Printer And Heat Press
Most people believe that bleaching shirts should come after the sublimation process because that’s when they can see how much bleach they need to use and where the process should start.
There is also an option to bleach shirts before the sublimation, but we will cover that topic later.
To get the best results, make sure you heat up your heat press to the highest temperature and put in the right sublimation ink in the printer.
After you have prepared your sublimation printer and found the right sublimation paper, check whether everything is in its place before you start sublimation printing.
Pre-Heat Your T-Shirt
If you want the sublimation design and the bleached part of the shirt to look perfect, always pre-heat your T-shirts at the beginning of the process.
It will help the sublimation print to adhere to the garment quicker, and it will prepare the garment for bleach, allowing the changes in color to look natural.
Make sure to clean up your T-shirt and remove any threads or particles that could cause problems during sublimation or bleaching.
Tape Down Your T-Shirt
To make sure your sublimation printing and bleaching process will go perfectly, the best thing you can do is tape down your T-shirt to the table.
When dealing with shirts for sublimation, they may move around inside the printer, so the best thing you can do is tape them with heat-resistant tape.
You should also use this tape to cover all the parts of the T-shirt you don’t want to bleach later, so you don’t have to worry about making a mistake and bleaching the wrong part of the T-shirt.
Sublimate your T-shirt
Now that you have prepared all the devices and shirts for sublimation and bleaching, you can turn on your sublimation printer and start the process.
Press the shirt for around 60 seconds to transfer the sublimation design and let the garment cool down before you move it.
If your sublimation transfers look the way you want and you have got the perfect sublimation design, you are ready for the next step.
Heat press the design in the end, to ensure it will last and adhere to the garment perfectly.
Protect Your T-Shirt
To prepare your sublimation shirts for the bleaching process, you will first need to protect them well so your garment doesn’t fall apart during the process or you don’t bleach the wrong part.
The best way to protect your shirts is to keep the heat tape on the parts of the garment you don’t want to treat with a bleaching spray, but if you don’t want the bleach to leak on the back of the shirt, you will need some other tools.
If you want to make sure bleach won’t come onto the other side of the garment either, it is best to put a piece of a cardboard box inside the T-shirt to stop the bleach from bleeding onto the other side.
You can also use a garbage bag for this, but the cardboard box will soak in all the bleach without transferring it to another side of the garment.
Outline Your Design
To start the bleaching process, you will first need to outline your design with bleach so you know what places you should bleach entirely.
Be very careful and precise during this process because you want to define the bleached area and avoid any problems or bleach leakages.
I would recommend using a paint brush that isn’t too wide so that you can get the correct outline without too much struggle.
Make sure to dip the brush into the bleach mix, and in case you don’t seem to be getting the desired results, add some more bleach for the best result.
Bleach The Rest Of Your Design
After you have outlined the design on your shirt, it is time to make it into a bleached shirt completely, so choose the technique that seems to work the best for you.
While some people will prefer bleaching the rest of the sublimation design with the brush, some will also enjoy using a spray bottle with their bleach emulsion.
Both of these options are great, but a bleach spray bottle seems to be a bit easier because you will be able to spray a large amount of bleach onto a specific part of the shirt quickly.
If you have protected the rest of your garment, then you can spray the shirt without too much thinking and get your perfect bleached shirt.
Get a good quality spray bottle that won’t push out too much product because it is very important to only spray within the bleached area.
This tool won’t cost you too much, but it will improve the look of your design significantly, so always test spray bottles out and get the one that disperses bleach the best.
Bleach the shirt as long as you don’t remove the black color from your T-shirt and get the perfect bleached design.
Dry The Bleached Shirt
After you have finished the process and bleached shirts the way you want, it is time to let them dry for a while.
Make sure your shirts have dried completely before you try to do anything else with them, and I would recommend keeping them with cardboard because some of the bleach may leak even after the process is finished.
Wash Your Bleached Shirt
The final step is to wash your bleach shirts in cold water before you wear them.
You can wash the shirt with your other clothes in the washing machine, and you don’t need any special settings or protectants.
After you have washed your bleached shirts, you are ready to go, and you can wear your shirts however you want!
As you can see, bleaching shirts aren’t too complicated, and all you need is a bit of time to get the perfect results.
You don’t need too many trials for it except for regular sublimation supplies and whatever type of bleach you want.
Can I Bleach Shirts Before Sublimation?
Although or how to guide has taught you how to bleach shirts after the sublimation printing process has been finished, and you can perform this action before too.
When you decide to bleach spray shirts, it doesn’t matter when the action will take place, and you can perform the whole bleaching process before you put the shirt in a sublimation printer.
However, most people prefer bleaching shirts after the sublimation process has been done because they see where the sublimation design is, and it is easier for them to bleach everything precisely.
If you don’t know how big your sublimation design will end up being and where exactly you will put it, it is best to wait and bleach the shirt after this process has been finished.
Also, if you are putting a sublimation design on a bleached shirt, you may have some problems with the print transfer because the bleach will already stress out the garment.
In some cases, your bleach may be too strong, so the design won’t be able to adhere well to the garment; so if you use spray bleach, I would recommend doing it after sublimation printing is over.
You will also need to go over the design with a heat press after you put it out of the sublimation printer, and if your garment is already soaked in bleach, this may not end well.
For that reason, I would always recommend bleaching after the sublimation ink has settled in and the printing process is finished, but if you believe the other way would work better, then do it!
Can You Sublimate Dark Garments?
Dark garments can be very challenging to work with, but with a bit of practice, you will be able to perform the sublimation process without problems on them too.
Most people think that because the color is so strong, sublimation ink won’t do much on dark garments, but you will be able to print on them without any problems.
However, that’s where the bleaching process comes in because none of your sublimation designs would look so good if they weren’t bleached just a little bit.
You can bleach all types of dark garments without any problems, and you can bleach sublimation shirts without fading or ruining the design.
While you will need a bit more time and skills to sublimate and bleach spray shirt of a darker color, there won’t be any differences in the quality of the design or print, so you don’t have to eliminate dark garments from your sublimation DIY projects.
Make sure you get a good bleach, sublimate only prints of high quality, and always choose garments with many polyesters, or at least with a polyester count higher than that of cotton or other materials.
You may not see the sublimated design immediately, but once the garment goes through a bleaching process, you will see the results.
People mostly bleach shirts for sublimation when they are dealing with darker garments, and this step will provide you with amazing designs similar to those you would find in stores, so don’t miss out on it!
Is Bleaching Needed For Sublimation Printing?
The bleaching process is not a must when dealing with garments of white or lighter colors, and the sublimation process can be performed on those without too many obstacles.
However, when your shirts for sublimation are dark or of any darker and more vibrant color, you will need to bleach spray them if you want to get a good sublimation print and create a cool clothing piece.
Sublimation designs can’t stand out on dark garments by themselves, so you will need to have bleached shirts to get the design you want.
Dark garments will do well with sublimation designs of a white or light color, but if you are trying to transfer a design in a color similar to it, you will need to spray bleach shirts a lot before you get the desired result.
This is also very important when you have a shirt that is not made out of polyester or doesn’t have a high polyester count because other materials are not able to soak in ink and the design that well.
If you want your design to adhere perfectly and to get the sublimated shirts that look and feel amazing, then you need to create bleached T-shirts.
Will you be bleaching the T-shirt before the sublimation or after is something that depends on you, and I would leave that decision to your personal preference.
However, if you want to create and wear clothes of black or any darker color, designed with sublimation prints, then the bleaching process is something you will need to do.
Can I Bleach Mixed Garments?
How much bleach you will need depends on the type of garment you are dealing with and its color, so you need to check out a few pieces of information before you start the process.
Plenty of shirts are made from mixed fabrics, so if you are looking to sublimate and bleach a shirt made from a mix of cotton, polyester, and acrylic, you will need to do it more carefully.
While it is safe to bleach garments made from a mix of cotton and polyester, you will need to spray bleach it slowly and carefully so you can see how well the process is going and stop if it seems like too much bleach.
Garments made from cotton and polyester tend to be a bit harder to sublimate and bleach on, especially if there is a higher percentage of cotton.
For that reason, if you want to sublimate and you know you will need to have bleached shirts for that process, it is a lot better to pay attention to the fabric and choose the ones with a higher polyester percentage,
However, the best options for the sublimation and bleaching process are shirts made solely from cotton because cotton alone tends to react a lot better with bleach and will provide excellent results.
All types and blends of garments can be sublimated and bleached, but depending on the percentage of certain fabrics, you will need to be more careful and use different techniques or amounts of bleach.