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Are you aiming to convert your Epson printer into a sublimation one? This no-nonsense guide clearly explains how to convert Epson printer to sublimation. By following these steps, you can quickly begin producing vibrant, lasting images on a variety of materials. We cover model considerations, ink system preparation, and essential settings adjustments, so you’re prepared for a hassle-free conversion. Look no further as you have arrived at the right place! Join us as we embark on this amazing journey of sublimation together!

Key Takeaways

  • Epson EcoTank printers, particularly the Eco Tank 2800 and 4800 models, can be effectively converted into sublimation printers, offering a low-cost entry into sublimation printing with their Piezo technology and refillable ink tanks. We have detailed reviews on sublimation printers of the Epson brand.
  • Proper preparation of your Epson printer for sublimation is key, including draining existing ink, cleaning the printer head, filling with sublimation ink, and adjusting printer settings for optimal output using high-quality consumables.
  • Regular maintenance of your converted sublimation printer is crucial for its longevity and to prevent common issues like clogged print heads or print quality degradation, ensuring consistent high-quality sublimation prints.

Unveiling the Sublimation Printing Method

Sublimation printing is an incredible method of printing that transfers a design into a material or fabric using ink and heat. It’s a technique cherished by DIY enthusiasts and professional printers alike, offering advantages like an easy learning process, low initial investment, and the ability to produce continuous tone prints. Polyester is the most commonly used material for sublimation printing, with 100% polyester being ideal. However, materials with a minimum of 65% polyester content can still yield decent results.

Heat and pressure contribute significantly to the exciting process of sublimation printing. The heat transforms the ink from a solid directly to a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid phase. This gas then permeates the material and solidifies to form a full image within the fabric. Epson EcoTank printers excel in this process due to their convenient ink tanks and compatibility with sublimation ink.

The Epson EcoTank Advantage for Sublimation

The use of Piezo technology and refillable ink tanks in Epson EcoTank printers, such as the Epson EcoTank printer models, make them ideal for sublimation printing as they are compatible with sublimation inks. These printers offer an affordable entry point, with models starting as low as $199, making them a cost-effective solution compared to other sublimation printers in the market.

One of the exciting aspects of using Epson EcoTank printers for sublimation is the opportunity to regularly engage in printing, which helps prevent ink from blocking the tubes or expiring. However, before you start your sublimation printing journey, it’s crucial to replace the regular Epson brand ink with sublimation ink. There are large format options available such as the ET-15000. We talk about the features of the ET-15000 in detail in this article.

Preparing Your Epson Printer for Sublimation

A sign on a highway saying ‘are you ready’

Prior to beginning the printing process, preparing your Epson printer for sublimation is a necessary step. This process involves selecting the right Epson model, draining the existing ink, and cleaning the printer head.

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Let’s explore each step in detail.

Selecting the Right Epson Model

Selecting the right model is the first step in your sublimation journey. The Eco Tank 2800 and the Eco Tank 4800 are fantastic options for sublimation printing, providing a cost-effective solution for those looking to start sublimation printing at home or searching for a cheap sublimation printer.

The convenience of their tanks allows these printers to utilize sublimation ink effortlessly, making for a seamless printing experience.

Draining Existing Ink

In preparation for sublimation printing, it is of utmost importance to drain the existing ink from your printer. It prevents potential clogs and damage to your printer. You can efficiently drain the existing ink from your Epson printer by following these steps:

  1. Prepare the printer.
  2. Open the Ecotank refill caps.
  3. Drain the existing ink.
  4. Refill the Ecotanks.
  5. Purge the printer.

Remember to handle the ink cartridges or tanks carefully to avoid any spills, and dispose of them responsibly according to local regulations.

Cleaning the Printer Head

To guarantee smooth and optimal printing results, it is recommended to clean the printhead of your Epson printer. You can do this by using distilled water or a printhead cleaner.

After letting it sit for a few minutes, gently dry the printhead with a microfiber cloth. This helps to prevent potential clogs and enhance the overall performance of your printer.

Gathering Necessary Sublimation Supplies

Printer and supplies on a lush green mountain top

With your printer prepared, the next step is to assemble the required supplies for sublimation printing. The first item on your list should be sublimation ink. When selecting sublimation ink, ensure compatibility with your printer model, choose ink with the smallest dye particles for high-quality prints, consider the color reduction ability, and opt for a brand with a solid reputation. Exciting brands like Cosmos Ink, Hiipoo Sublimation Ink, and Printers Jack Ink are well-regarded in the industry.

Next, you’ll need high-quality sublimation paper. This type of paper can withstand high temperatures and has a special coating to hold the sublimation dye and release it onto the material.

Finally, you’ll need sublimation blanks. You can find a variety of options for purchasing sublimation blanks from reputable online retailers like:

  • Heat Press Nation
  • Sublimation Blanks Company
  • Amazon
  • Pro World
  • Colman and Company
  • Heat Transfer Warehouse
  • Johnson Plastics Plus
  • Coastal Business

Filling Your Printer with Sublimation Ink

Ink being poured from syringe into beaker

The conversion process necessitates the important task of filling your printer with sublimation ink. You can efficiently fill an Epson printer with sublimation ink by following these steps:

  1. Open the ink tank housing.
  2. Gently use a syringe to fill the cartridge, being mindful not to overfill it.
  3. Hold the syringe in place for 5 seconds.
  4. Carefully remove the syringe.
  5. Use a priming syringe if needed.

This ensures your printer is fully loaded and ready for sublimation printing.

In addition to syringes, there are specific sublimation ink bottles that are compatible with Epson printers. Brands like InkOwl and Cosmos Ink® offer sublimation ink refills for Epson EcoTank printers that can simplify the ink filling process.

Remember, to ensure perfect ink alignment during the filling process, simply fill the ink correctly and complete the initialization before printing.

Configuring Printer Settings for Optimal Sublimation Output

Upon filling your printer with sublimation ink, the following step is to adjust the printer settings to achieve the best sublimation output. These include the selection of paper type and color management.

Let’s examine these configurations in more detail.

Choosing the Correct Paper Type

Choosing the right sublimation paper is crucial for achieving high-quality prints. The ideal paper type for sublimation printing using Epson printers is ‘Style’ sublimation paper. Some recommended brands include:

  • Sawgrass TruePix
  • PYD Life paper
  • A Sub Sublimation Paper
  • Epson Sublimation Paper
  • HTVRont Sublimation Paper
  • ProSub Sublimation Paper
  • Starcraft Sublimation Paper
  • TexPrint Dye Sublimation Paper

These brands provide excellent results.

Adjusting Color Management

Adjusting the color management is another critical setting to enhance the sublimation output. You can optimize color management by:

  1. Creating a new profile in the printing preferences specifically for sublimation
  2. Setting the paper type to Premium Presentation Paper Matte
  3. Ensuring the color mode is set to Adobe RGB with a gamma of 2.2.

You can also utilize ICC profiles for advanced color management needs.[1][2]

The Conversion Process: Turning Your Epson into a Dedicated Sublimation Printer

Two printers in a lush green valley

Having completed all the necessary preparations, you are now ready to transform your Epson printer into an Epson sublimation printer, a dedicated sublimation printer.

This involves two key steps: the initial fill procedure and ensuring proper ink flow.

Initial Fill Procedure

The initial fill procedure involves thoroughly purging out all contents of the printer’s ink system, including the lines, before filling the cartridge or ink tank with sublimation ink. It’s a crucial step to ensure the printer is ready for high-quality sublimation printing.

Each model may have its specific process, but the general approach to convert an Epson EcoTank is similar across other EcoTank models.

Ensuring Proper Ink Flow

After the initial fill procedure, it’s vital to monitor the ink flow and perform test prints to ensure proper conversion and print quality. Performing a printhead nozzle check found in the Printing Preferences can help ensure that the damper effectively allows ink to flow from the cartridge to the printhead.

Maintaining Your Converted Sublimation Printer

A printer and few supplies with it

For maintaining your converted printer in top condition, regular upkeep is necessary. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your printer:

  1. Regular cleaning of the nozzle head prevents ink buildup or drying out.
  2. Run a print head/nozzle cleaning using the printer’s function.
  3. Manually clean the print head using a syringe filled with boiling water or a damp paper towel on the print head spout.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your printer continues to work efficiently.

Checking and replacing ink cartridges, calibrating the printer, and performing printhead maintenance should be performed ideally on a weekly basis to ensure continuous ink flow and prevent ink drying out. Regular maintenance helps you avoid issues like:

  • worn parts
  • clogged printheads
  • print failures
  • jams
  • service code issues
  • moisture-induced quality problems.

Read more about tips on maintaining your sublimation printer for great performance.

Crafting Your First Sublimation Project

Floral design on a wall

With your printer prepared, the stage is set for you to unleash your creativity. Your first sublimation project awaits. You can use software like:

  • Cricut Design Space
  • Canva
  • Procreate
  • Inkscape[3]
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Affinity Photo
  • Affinity Designer
  • CorelDRAW

to bring your design to life.[4] Once your design is ready, use sublimation ink to print it on sublimation paper.

Once your design is printed, it’s time to press it onto your chosen merchandise. Here’s how:

  1. Place the item like a shirt on butcher paper on the heat press.
  2. Apply your printed design on the desired area.
  3. Press using medium to heavy pressure for about 30 seconds.

With that, you have successfully created your first sublimation project!

Troubleshooting Common Sublimation Issues

A light bulb with a question mark in the middle

Like any new endeavor, you might face certain challenges during the process. Common issues encountered during sublimation printing include:

  • Banding caused by clogged print heads
  • Ghosting
  • Bleeding
  • Blank or light areas in the pressed sublimation blank

To prevent clogging in printer heads, regular cleaning of the nozzle head is recommended to prevent ink buildup or drying. If you encounter clogged printer heads, you can flush them with distilled water after using a window cleaner, making sure the head is fully dried before printing. Regular maintenance and troubleshooting can help you achieve consistent and high-quality results.


Converting an Epson printer into a dedicated sublimation printer is an exciting venture. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can transform your regular printer into a sublimation printing powerhouse. The journey may have its share of challenges, but with patience and regular maintenance, the results are worth it. So go ahead, embark on your sublimation printing journey today and unleash your creativity!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can all Epson printers be converted to sublimation?

Yes, most Epson models, from desktop to mass-production printers, can be converted to sublimation. Enjoy the flexibility in choosing the right printer for your needs!

What setting do I put my Epson printer on for sublimation?

You should set your Epson printer to Plain Paper or Bright White Paper, High Quality, Epson Vivid Color Mode, and Automatic Color Correction for optimal sublimation prints.

Can I turn my printer into a sublimation printer?

Yes, you can turn your regular printer into a sublimation printer by replacing the regular ink with sublimation ink, although this means you won’t be able to use regular ink anymore.

Can I use regular Epson ink for sublimation?

No, regular Epson ink cannot be used for sublimation. Using sublimation ink and paper is necessary for the process to work effectively.

What materials work best for sublimation printing?

For sublimation printing, the best materials are synthetic fibers like nylon, rayon, lycra, and spandex. However, the most commonly used and recommended material is 100% polyester.


  1. Understanding color management. (n.d.-b). https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/color-management.html
  2. Working with color profiles. (n.d.). https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/color-profiles.html
  3. Developers, I. W. (n.d.). Inkscape Tutorials | Inkscape. https://inkscape.org/learn/tutorials/
  4. Moreno, J. (2023, July 27). Adobe unveils new AI-Powered Photoshop Tools for image generation and Expansion. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johanmoreno/2023/07/27/adobe-unveils-new-ai-powered-photoshop-tools-for-image-generation-and-expansion/
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