Looking for more than just cotton or polyester? You’ll often find nylon in items like underwear and swimwear, thanks to its silky smooth feel. But here’s a burning question: Can you actually sublimate on nylon? Let’s dive in and find out!
You can sublimate on nylon, although the process is a bit trickier compared to polyester and other fabrics. Since nylon is heat-sensitive and comes in various types, it is always recommended to first test a piece of nylon before doing a full sublimation project.
This article discusses whether you can sublimate on nylon and when you should try it. We also discuss some other questions on nylon, such as the types of nylon and which other printing methods work for nylon. So read on to explore more!
What Is Nylon Fabric?
Nylon is a synthetic polymer, usually derived from petroleum, that can be processed into fabric. People like nylon fabric for its lightness, elasticity, and natural sheen, similar to silk. Clothing suppliers often use nylon fabric in sportswear and underwear.
Nylon is a silk-like synthetic polymer derived from petroleum. Manufacturers process nylon into multiple forms, such as fibers, films, or shapes. This is why you may see things such as gears, piping, nuts, and bolts made from nylon. Nylon fabrics are entirely synthetic and similar to polyester.
Users appreciate nylon fabrics for many unique features like lightness, stretchability, and a natural sheen similar to silk. As a result, you may see manufacturers use nylon fabric in clothing that requires a high degree of lightness and elasticity, such as swimwear and yoga pants.
As a matter of fact, nylon underwear feels light and luxurious like silk. Sometimes, suppliers mix nylon with other fabrics like polyester or spandex for undergarments.
Nylon use has been on a downtrend recently due to the emergence of newer, softer elastic fabrics such as Spandex. On top of that, because nylon doesn’t break down over time, people avoid using it for the sake of the environment.
As of 2008, 12% of the world’s synthetic fabric production is nylon, with polyester being the most popular.
Is Sublimation On Nylon Possible?
You can do sublimation printing on some nylon because it does have some polymeric materials that can hold onto sublimation ink. However, before you proceed to sublimate on nylon, you want to understand several facts about nylon fabric itself.
Nylon comes in many types and configurations, each with a higher or lower temperature threshold.
Nylon can also come treated or untreated, with the treated ones being able to hold on to sublimation ink better. These differences may cause problems, and you may need to spend a lot of time experimenting and dialing your settings to get an excellent print result.
For example, you will need to determine the right temperature on your heat press and determine the amount of sublimation ink uptake for each fabric, etc.
If you’re new to sublimation, you might be wondering about the types of ink you should use for different materials.
And before diving deep into sublimating on nylon, it’s good to understand the basics of sublimation ink itself. Check out this guide on sublimation ink for sublimation paper to learn more.
How Many Types Of Nylon Fabrics Are There?
Nylon fabrics come in different types, such as Nylon 6,6, Nylon 6, Nylon 1,6, and Nylon 510. Aside from textiles, companies use nylons to create other industrial products that may require strings of filaments. Some examples include fishing lines, carpets, and toothbrushes.
Nylon, an entirely synthetic material, uses chains of carbon-based molecules called monomers. As a result, multiple types of nylon can be produced by changing the formulation and the length of the chain.
For nylon fabric, the most popular types include Nylon 6,6, Nylon 6, Nylon 1,6, and Nylon 510.
Nylon 6,6: One of the most original forms of nylon fabric and remains the most commonly seen. Aside from textiles, nylon 6,6 can also be stringed into thicker filaments and used to make things such as racket strings, tire cords, conveyor belts, or carpets.
Nylon 6: Nylon 6 may occasionally be made into fabrics, usually mixed with other materials to create fabric, such as organza or chiffon. This type can also create filaments turned into carpets, toothbrushes, seatbelts, and upholstery.
Nylon 46: The more common name you may hear for Nylon 46 is Stanyl. You may also occasionally encounter Nylon 46 fabric, but you primarily see it in engine components such as transmissions and brakes.
Nylon 510: Originally developed by DuPont as an alternative to Nylon 6,6. Producing Nylon 510 costs too much, however, so it failed to replace Nylon 6,6. These days, you may see Nylon 510 in industrial applications, such as in hot melt adhesives.
Wondering if your regular printer can handle sublimation ink? Well, there are some things you should consider. Take a quick look at our guide on using any printer for sublimation to learn more
Should I Sublimate On Nylon?
You can sublimate on nylon, but that doesn’t mean you should. You may want to stay away from sublimation printing on nylon because too many factors may affect your sublimation results. This means you must spend time investigating and adjusting accordingly to get the best result.
Not sure what printer to use for your sublimation projects? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a comprehensive review of the best dye sublimation printers.
How To Sublimate On Nylon?
Due to the issues with nylon sublimation, many printers use other printing methods, such as silkscreen printing or heat vinyl transfer. If you intend to sublimate on nylon, you need to do a lot of testing to dial in the right temperature and timing for the best result.
Due to the difficulties when sublimating on nylon, many printers usually avoid sublimating directly on nylon.
Instead, they turn to different printing methods that do not require heat, such as silk screen printing. Some also use heat transfer vinyl, which minimizes the print quality issue.
However, it does not mean you cannot sublimate directly to nylon fabrics.
To succeed, you must first know what type of nylon you have. Ask the fabric manufacturer what type of nylon they used to make the fabric.
Also, see if the surface was treated in any way. Knowing the details can help you to adjust the sublimation process for the fabric.
For example, if you know the fabric is Nylon 6, you want to keep your heat press well under 428°F (220 °C). Suppose the material comes with water-repellent treatment.
In that case, you may try to rub it off with some isopropyl alcohol before attempting to sublimate designs on the fabric.
The key is to spend time testing and refining your process and procedures with the fabric until you are sure of the results. Once you have confirmed everything, then you may proceed and sublimate away.
By the way, did you know you can also sublimate on other materials? Yep, like the White HTV, for example. It might just be the alternative you’re looking for!
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