Can You Sublimate on Modal Fabric?


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If you want to transform your plain modal fabrics into something more unique and customized, sublimation printing could be the answer. But can you sublimate on modal fabric? Modal fabric, known for its softness, silkiness, and rapidly growing popularity in the clothing industry, is an excellent choice for sublimation to produce vivid and lively designs.

However, the sublimation process involves high heat and pressure, which may raise concerns about the compatibility of modal fabric with such intensity. This is exactly what we are going to explore in this article, which is all about sublimation on modal fabric. So, keep reading to find out all the details.

can you sublimate on modal fabric
Source: Pixabay


Is It Possible to Sublimate on Modal Fabric?

Can you sublimate on modal fabric? This is the hot question that occupies the mind of those looking to enhance and customize their modal clothes and fabrics.

Yes, you can sublimate on modal fabric as it is a durable material with great strength and resistance. However, you may face a few challenges using Modal as your sublimation canvas. So, it is essential to take note of these challenges to handle them efficiently.

Modal is a synthetic fabric that is made from the cellulose of a beech tree, so it is more likely to show signs of dye migration than some other fabrics. Dye migration happens when colored molecules from the fabric seep into the sublimation ink, creating distorted ink colors. To prevent this, using only premium-quality modal fabric for sublimation is recommended.

Properties of Modal Fabric

Now that you have the answer to your question – can you sublimate on modal fabric – let’s look at what characteristics make modal a great choice as a sublimation fabric.

CharacteristicsHow do they help with sublimation?
Soft and smooth textureSoft and smooth surfaces are ideal for sublimation as they prevent cracked designs due to rough surfaces.
High absorbencyThis allows the dye to penetrate and bond with the molecules easily so the print transfers to the fabric. .
High color retentionIt will ensure the print remains vibrant and bright even after repeated washing.
DurabilityThis will keep your designs intact without peeling or cracking in the middle.
BreathableDue to this, the fabric remains comfortable to wear even after a heavy print has been sublimated on it.
Sustainable and Eco-friendlyA great choice of fabric for environment-conscious individuals as it is made from a natural material.

Factors to Consider Before Sublimating on Modal Fabric

Before you begin sublimating on modal fabric, you must consider a few points.


An essential aspect to consider is that modal fabric is available in various compositions, and it is crucial to select the appropriate one for successful sublimation. The sublimation ink will adhere to the fabric effectively only if it contains a high proportion of polyester.

If your blend does not meet these criteria, achieving optimal results may prove challenging. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for a blend consisting of 50% polyester and 50% modal fabric.


When sublimating on Modal, it is always best to go for white or light-colored fabrics. This is because sublimation on modal fabric works by replacing the dye molecules and doing it on dark fabrics can ruin the prints. So, choose a white or pastel base for the best results.

Printer Ink

As the dye from the Modal can mess with the sublimation ink’s color, you must always use high-quality ink only. Doing this will ensure that the result is top-notch and stays on the fabric for a long time. In this way, your designs will also be protected from scratches and cracked lines.  


Typically, all fabrics have an ideal temperature for sublimation. For modal fabric, the ideal temperature is around 350 to 360 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing for vibrant, crisp designs. The exact temperature can vary depending on the blend you are using, so make sure to check the instructions on the package before proceeding.

High-Quality Fabric

Another important factor is to always choose a high-quality fabric. Sublimation printing can go horribly wrong if the fabric’s texture is not right or is generally made of poor-quality blends. So, it is recommended to do your research about the vendor you are buying from to save both your time and money.

How Can You Sublimate on Modal Fabric?

Sublimating on Modal is not a very complicated process, especially once you master it. However, you need to follow some steps carefully to ensure the results come out perfectly. So, here’s how you proceed with sublimation.

Required Materials

Here are some materials that you will need to sublimate on Modal:

  • Heat press
  • Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation paper
  • Modal fabric to work on, ideally blended with polyester
  • Butcher paper

Steps to Sublimate on Modal Fabric

Follow the steps below to begin sublimating on Modal:

Step 1: Prepare the Fabric

The first step is to prepare the fabric by washing it thoroughly with water. This step ensures that all the dirt, dust, and impurities are cleared off from the fabric to give you the best quality designs without compromise. Also, let it dry properly afterward before using.

Step 2: Choose a Design and Get it Ready

Next, you must choose the design you want to transfer to the fabric. You can print it directly on the transfer paper if it is a simple black-and-white design. But if you are going for a colored design, you have to print on the sublimation paper using a sublimation printer and then transfer it to the fabric using a heat press.   

Step 3: Cut your Fabric

Cut your fabric in whatever size you want to print on, but if you are using a ready-made garment such as a shirt or a trouser, make sure to remove any tags or labels from it.  

Step 5: Put the Printed Design on the Fabric

Now, place the transfer paper with the printed design on the fabric. Make sure the design is properly centered on the fabric. Moreover, you can use butcher paper to ensure the heat and pressure are evenly distributed over the fabric.

Step 6: Heat the press

Prepare your heat press by preheating it to the ideal temperature for modal fabric. The recommended temperature for Modal is usually around 350 to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 7: Put the Fabric in the Heat Press

Put your fabric in the heat press with the sublimation paper facing downwards and close the machine. Now press on the fabric with a firm hand and apply the pressure for about 30 to 40 seconds.

Step 8: Remove the Paper

Open the heat press and slowly remove the sublimation paper from the fabric. You will now see your design transferred to the modal fabric. Let it cool for a few minutes before moving. Finally, your fabric is ready to rock.

Bonus Tip: As some modal fabric blends might not be suitable for sublimation, you must test on a small piece of fabric before proceeding on the main canvas to ensure the best results.

Summing Up

So, can you sublimate on modal fabric? Yes, it is possible to sublimate on modal fabric, but you must carefully consider the above-mentioned factors before proceeding. Modal fabric is certainly an attractive choice for sublimation with its durability and other high-end properties, but you must ensure the blend is suitable for sublimation printing.

Besides that, if you take proper care during the printing process, the modal fabric can be a great canvas for some striking designs.


Is Modal Heat Sensitive?

Depending on the blend, modal fabric might be able to resist high temperatures. However, pure Modal is heat sensitive and can get discolored if you go beyond a certain point. With most blends, you can go up to 360 degrees F but not more.

How Can I Prevent Dye Migration When Sublimating Modal Fabric?

You can heat-press the fabric at a lower temperature before the sublimation process. Pre-pressing will ensure that all the moisture is sucked out of the fabric, which causes the dye to migrate. Moreover, you must always use high-quality inks to sublimate on all fabrics.

Is Sublimation on Modal Fabric Expensive?

Sublimation printing on modal fabrics can be slightly more expensive than printing on other popular fabrics like polyester or nylon. However, it costs slightly less than other fabrics, such as silk. So, if you are switching to Modal from polyester or rayon, the overall cost might go slightly upwards.

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