Put Your First Foot Forward

And learn how to sublimate on socks.

By Staff Writer

Sublimation on socks is a popular crafting technique that allows you to transfer colourful and intricate designs onto socks using heat and special sublimation ink. Here’s how a crafter can sublimate on socks:

Materials You’ll Need:

1. Sublimation Socks: Choose blank socks made of polyester or a polyester blend. Sublimation works best on synthetic fibres like polyester.

2. Sublimation Ink and Printer: You’ll need sublimation-specific ink and a sublimation printer. Regular inkjet printers won’t work for sublimation.

3. Sublimation Paper: Use sublimation paper designed for use with sublimation ink. This paper will hold the ink until you transfer it to the socks.

4. Heat Press: A heat press is essential for sublimation. It provides the heat and pressure required to transfer the ink onto the socks.

5. Design Software: Create or import your designs using graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW. Ensure your designs are the correct size for the socks.

6. Protective Paper: Use heat-resistant protective paper to prevent ink from sticking to your heat press.

Steps to Sublimate Socks:

Design Your Image:

Create or import your design into your chosen graphic design software. Size it according to the area of the socks you want to cover.

Print Your Design:

Use the sublimation printer and sublimation paper to print your design. Make sure you’re printing in reverse (mirror image) to ensure the final image appears correctly on the socks.

Prepare Your Socks:

Ensure the socks are clean and free from any lint or debris that could interfere with the sublimation process.


Preheat your heat press to the recommended temperature (usually around 385°F or 196°C).

Position the Socks:

Slip the socks onto the heat press platen, ensuring that the area you want to sublimate is flat and centred.

Place the Design:

Lay your printed sublimation paper face down onto the socks. Position it precisely where you want the design to appear.


Close the heat press and apply the recommended amount of pressure. The sublimation process requires both heat and pressure to work effectively.


The exact time needed will depend on your specific heat press, but it typically ranges from 20 to 40 seconds.

Cool Down:

After the pressing time has elapsed, release the pressure, open the heat press, and carefully remove the sublimation paper. Allow the socks to cool down.

Peel and Inspect:

Gently peel off the sublimation paper to reveal the transferred design. The colours should be vibrant and permanently embedded into the fabric.

Finished Socks:

Once the socks have cooled completely, they are ready to wear or give as gifts. The sublimated design should be washable and durable.

Sublimation on socks allows for endless design possibilities, from personalized gifts to custom fashion statements. Be sure to follow the specific instructions provided with your sublimation ink, paper, and heat press for the best results.

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