can you sublimate on rayon?

Can You Sublimate on Rayon? In-Depth Guide

The straightforward answer to the question can you sublimate on rayon would be that we can’t sublimate on 100% rayon.

95% rayon 5% spandex fabric blend doesn’t work either.

One clear answer for why we cannot consider 100% rayon as good for sublimation is that this is not a synthetic fiber, like polyester is.

On the other hand, we could say that it’s not a natural fiber like cotton either.

We could say that rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber. Semi-synthetic fibers are those made from natural raw materials and are modified or partially degraded by chemical processes.

Rayon is usually made from wood pulp. Most semi-synthetic fibers are cellulose regenerated fibers.

Thus, one clear reason for not wanting to heat press a design made with sublimation inks on 100% rayon is because it’s not a totally synthetic fiber like polyester.

Frankly, rayon is not an easy to handle fabric. We will talk about its properties because those will interest us in our quest to know if we can sublimate on rayon. It’s certainly not an easy to answer question.

The truth remains that polyester is the best fabric to sublimate on. Check out my reviews for the best sublimation printer for t-shirts if you want to discover some amazing printers for all budgets.

Some people will mention that a 50% polyester content is enough to consider that sublimation will be a success and the design will maintain its durability and vivid colors after many washing cycles.

On the other hand, there are those that consider that a 65-70% polyester content would be a much better choice.

While we can say that we cannot sublimate on rayon, we can actually sublimate on polyester rayon blends with at least 65-70% polyester content.

Can You Sublimate on Rayon? Only on Polyester-Rayon Blend

According to this website, rayon does not melt, they don’t mention any melting point.

However, as a cellulosic fiber, rayon is not resilient and it will wrinkle. That’s where the problem lies.

Most of the time, we are advised to hand wash rayon garments because they can be damaged in the washing machine. Rayon garments shouldn’t be tumble dried either, unless stated otherwise.

The fiber becomes weak when heated above 150 degrees C (302 degrees F).

Considering that we heat press at 380-400 degrees F for about 40-60 seconds, we will damage 100% rayon fibers if we place the material in the heat press to transfer our design from the sublimation paper. Not even butcher paper will protect them from that.

It also suffers from shrinkage at 177 degrees C (350 degrees F).

And that’s why it’s not a strong material.

And why the answer to the question can you sublimate on rayon is that we cannot on 100% rayon.

But there’s a chance to sublimate on a polyester rayon blend that has a sufficient polyester percentage, usually at least 50%-65%.

A 70% polyester 30% rayon fabric blend would be amazing for a successful sublimation without causing any wrinkles or shrinkage.

If you’re interested in a much more interesting guide, check out my article answering the question: can you sublimate on acrylic?

Can we use sublimation coating on rayon?

One of the first things we think of when we have materials that are not exactly perfect for sublimation for one reason or another is if we can use a sublimation coating to prepare them for our craft.

Thus, if you are working with 100% rayon should you consider spraying a sublimation coating to prepare it for the heat press?

Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it.

There are plenty of sublimation sprays for cotton shirts. And there are also those that can be used on wood, glass, metal, leather, tumbler, phone cases, carton, canvas, tote bags, etc.

However, there’s no mention of rayon among all these different materials that can be sprayed for sublimation. And I personally haven’t come across crafters who use a sublimation coating for rayon.

I just want to mention once again that a polyester rayon blend is best.

At least 65% polyester, is a superior choice to using a sublimation coating.

The advantage we get with a polyester rayon blend is substantial: the design will remain intact with its vivid colors even after multiple washes.

Using Cricut infusible ink on rayon

Just like it’s the case with sublimation, Cricut infusible inks work best on polyester or on fabrics with a high polyester count.

There is a solution to using infusible inks even on materials like wood, metal, cotton, and lower-polyester blended fabrics.

You can find a pretty useful guide on this website.

It involves pre-treating the surface with polycrylic, which acts as a polymer. Polymers, both natural and synthetic, are wonderful materials for sublimation. Just like polyester is.

The process is quite simple.

You need to buy a squirt bottle, fill it with 40oz water and 10 ml of polycrylic. Shake it well to create a homogenous mix.

If you want to spray a t-shirt to prepare it for the infusible ink, add a sheet of butcher paper or parchment paper between the layers and spray the side that you want to prepare for your design.

Let it dry for 24 hours and it’s ready for your design.

All in all, the answer to the question can you sublimate on rayon is that we cannot do it on 100% rayon or even 95% rayon 5% spandex fabric blend but we can sublimate on polyester-rayon blend with at least 65% polyester content.