Sublimation vs Screen Printing: Difference and Comparison

A couple of tools or things are needed when one is doing any type of artwork, depending on the piece. Sublimation and Screen Printing are those tools, a couple of methods really, that one would use while doing the printing on materials like ceramic and fabrics. They are quite distinctive from each other.


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Sublimation and Screen Printing are types of prints that are used for printing graphics. Before using them in the printing process, one should know their features and their advantages and disadvantages as well. Sublimation is rather new in comparison to Screen Printing but is more popular nowadays.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sublimation is a process of printing designs onto a material using heat, while screen printing involves using a stencil to transfer ink onto the material.
  2. Sublimation can only be used on materials with a high polyester content, while screen printing can be used on a wider range of materials.
  3. Sublimation produces a more durable and long-lasting print, while screen printing allows for a wider range of colors and designs.

Sublimation vs Screen Printing

The difference between Sublimation and Screen Printing is that they have different techniques that are used to print things on materials. Sublimation is more digital than Screen Printing. Also, while Printing, Screen Printing takes more time than the Sublimation process.

Sublimation vs Screen Printing

Sublimation is a process that involves digitally printing an image onto something, for example, printed images on clocks, mugs, T-shirts, etc. The process doesn’t require much effort as the image is printed from a computer to a special paper and then just transferred to the particular material.

Screen Printing is an old technique that is used to mark up graphics on fabrics and ceramics. The process is rather complex than other printing methods, but the printed image has shown results lasting longer than the other processes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSublimationScreen Printing
Another name Sublimation PrintingSilk Screen Printing or serigraph Printing.
DefinitionSublimation is a printing process used on fabrics and ceramics to print things.Screen Printing is a method used to print on things with the help of a screen, stencil, and ink.
Items required Computer, Heat press, Sublimation Printer, Sublimation paper.Screen Printing ink, a Screen, squeegee, stencil(s) depending on the image and masking tape.
AdvantagesSaving of time, easier method, varieties of colors and designs can be used, etc.Screen Printing can be used on more types of fabrics, requires less amount in production.
DisadvantagesSublimation has very high costs in comparison to Screen Printing.Takes high time to complete the process, the ink used can be messy and bring error on the object, etc.

What is Sublimation?

Sublimation is a method to print things on fabrics and ceramics. The process is quite easier than other printing methods providing the user with a high-quality image and various colors that don’t get affected by the normal weather and last for a longer period of time.

The name is taken from the Sublimation process, which states when a solid material turns into a gas without going through a liquid process. The setup is expensive, but it is a popular option for a longer run of a business.

The process needs source printing paper that has the printed image on it. Then a heat press is needed as it is used to transfer the image on the paper to the object.

The setup for the process is quite lengthy, but once a person gets the hang of it, it is cheaper, and the print also lasts longer than other printing methods.

sublimation 1

What is Screen Painting?

Screen Printing is a printing method that has been around for decades. It is also called Silkscreen Printing because earlier, fabric of silk was used in the process, but now, synthetic threads are used instead of silk to complete the process.

The first evident use of the method traces back to China and then moved to other countries of the world, with them changing the method in their own ways. It has a couple of things that are needed for the process, mainly a squeegee, colors, stencil, and a screen with the choice of colors depending on the image.

The Screen used in the process is generally made of two things, a frame covering a mesh. The most common sizes of the mesh are 110 and 156. It is a very important step to choose the right size of the mesh as it could really make a difference in speeding up the production time.

screen printing

Main Differences Between Sublimation and Screen Printing

  1. The process of both printing methods is totally different. In Sublimation, an image is first printed on paper and then attached to a particular object. And in Screen Printing, a Screen, colors, stencil, squeegee, and ink are used to make the required print on an object.
  2. Screen Printing can be and still is used for mass production of products, for example, shirts. Sublimation is not used as the preferred method for printing items in mass production.
  3. In the Sublimation method, only one color can be used in printing at a time. But in the process of Screen Printing, the colors that are required by the image can all be done once.
  4. In Sublimation, a large variety of designs can be printed since it’s all automatic. In comparison with it, Screen Printing can only handle a couple of designs for printing since It all has to be done by the hands of people.
  5. Sublimation takes less time for the whole process to be completed. On the other hand, In Screen Printing, when a couple of colors have to be used, it takes more time in production. One has to wait in Screen Printing to use another color as the first one dries.
Difference Between Sublimation and Screen Printing

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