Sublimation Ink Smearing – Everything Unveiled

Sublimation ink smearing is the leaking of sublimation ink onto your substrate from its place. Therefore, this thing can create drastic changes to your original designs. Smearing on paper makes your designs look bad, unpleasant, and not up to the mark. You need some changes to your printing process to avoid this mess.

Sublimation ink smearing is one of the common mistakes in printing. Sublimation is a very tricky process in which you must take every step carefully. Otherwise, your outcome will not be perfect and desirable. There are many reasons that your prints show smudging, smearing, unwanted shadows, and odd blotches.

Sublimation Ink Smearing Everything Unveiled By InkGuiding

Reasons for Sublimation Ink Smearing

How Does Ink Smear on Paper

There are many reasons for sublimation ink not bonding with the paper and bleeding from its actual place. These reasons can be:

  • Incompatible Substrate. 
  • Wrong Printing Setup.
  • Ghosting.
  • Extra ink in a printer.
  • The wrong type of sublimation ink.
  • Less Heating.
  • Not using protectant spray.
  • Wrong printing Equipment.

If you use one of these techniques in your printing process, then you will get unwanted results. However, avoiding these methods will give you perfect results.

How Does Ink Smear on Paper

How Does Ink Smear on Paper

The smearing of ink on the paper depends on many factors. Thus, when unsuitable conditions meet with the process of printing then, it will cause smearing. For example, using sublimation ink on the wrong substrate will cause smearing. Sublimation inks are more compatible with polyester material.

However, using cotton material paper or simple paper can cause bleeding of ink. Polyester material bonds with sublimation ink perfectly. Thus, when it diffuses with the substrate, it coats perfectly. On the other hand, using ordinary paper will not create a strong bond. Sublimation ink floats on the surface of the substrate resulting in smearing.

How to Prevent Sublimation Ink Smearing


We must follow some essential rules and techniques to prevent smearing on the substrate. 

Choosing The Substrate:

Choosing printing paper is a crucial step in printing. Thus, you must be very careful while selecting the substrate. The substrate may not be able to absorb the ink properly. Also, make sure your paper is compatible with the ink.

Use Heat Protectant Spray:

Heat protectant spray also plays an essential role in sublimation printing. Whenever you use heat protectant spray after printing, it will seal and dry out the ink of your print. This results in great bonding. However, it will lead to sublimation ink smearing if you don’t use heat spray immediately after removing the adhesive print paper from the substrate.

Extra Ink In The Printer:

Sometimes, some patches of ink are left when you print your wanted designs on adhesive paper. Thus, you must be careful of that patches and blotches, even if they are small. However, you can protect it with heat-resistant paper. In this case, patches will not transfer to the fabric. Otherwise, you will see unwanted lines and blotches on your shirt.


Ghosting is dispersing of sublimation ink while pressing through heat, which causes two copies of pattern and smearing. Thus, it will not look appealing. To prevent this, you need to use adhesive sprays before heating. Adhesive sprays help to stick your desirable print in one place. The prime enemy of sublimation printing is movement. If your designs move while transferring the designs, then you will face many unwanted outcomes.

Wrapping Up!


After reading about sublimation ink smearing, we got some information and ideas and obtained some results. Thus, smearing can cause severe and unwanted damage during sublimation printing. However, if you focus on the safety measures, you will get the best outcomes.