Description of Digital Printing Methods

From dye sublimation transfers to direct inkjet fabric printing, fabric-friendly clients now have choices. New advances in fabric printing give providing original one of a kind digital backdrops and murals at affordable prices.

There are two common methods used to transfer a digital image onto fabric:

Direct to fabric printing

The introduction of direct inkjet fabric printers that can image directly onto fabric and other media without a transfer process has created one of the fastest growing segments in the digital printing market.

The ink used by inkjet printers cannot change color, and it is opaque. This means that inkjet printers simulate a range of colors by varying the size and/or number of colored dots against the background of the print media (much like your home computer inkjet printer!). Since the inks are opaque, dots cannot be laid over each other, and so dithering must be used to create the illusion of solid colors. Direct to fabric printing tends to produce a slightly “muddier” image than its counterpart “Dye-Sublimation Printing” (see below)

We offer direct print to the following fabrics / substrates:


Artist Lite

Front Lit Vinyl

Heavy Knit

Sharkstooth Scrim

Standard Vinyl Mesh (aka Wide Mouth Mesh)

Supreme Vinyl Mesh (aka Speaker Mesh)

Dye-sublimation fabric printing (also known as indirect printing)

The sublimation process involves using specific sublimation inks that once heat activated, will "flash" into a gaseous state, penetrating and dyeing the substrate or fabric. The ink is first applied to a donor material, a special type of paper. The image on the paper is a reverse image of the final design, so that when it is dry it can be placed onto the fabric and heated, transferring the completed image onto the material via the dye-sublimation process. The sublimation process is permanent because the image actually becomes part of the material. The result is a "tattoo-like" transfer that will not peel, crack, or fade(*1) and lasts for many years.

(*1 )What should I know about UV stability when ordering digitally printed backdrops?
Over long periods of time, direct print and sublimation inks and toners have limited color-fastness when exposed to direct sunlight. However, there are many factors that can affect the lifetime of your sublimated product: climate, season, geography, transfer time, temperature and pressure, the substrate and image density.

We offer dye-sublimation to the following fabric / substrates:

Poly Silk

Do you offer Screen Printing?

There is a great amount of traditionalism that exists in the banner and sign marketplace, and silk screening is still favored by many. Despite our decision not to offer Silk Screening services for our clients, it is a valuable method that produces a lasting product.

What will my finished project look like? Click here.

Contact us to guide you through the process. File preparation guidelines are available. Prices available on request.

Whether it’s a stage drape or fashion show backdrop you need, Sew What? Inc. offers all clients the same professional event and drapery products, excellent customer service and reasonable prices. To see what others have to say about the services that we’ve provided read our client testimonials. We welcome any questions about digital printing fabrics, digital printing for stage backdrops, or special event and trade show needs – just email us or call us at the number below!