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Are you concerned about correctly loading sublimation paper into your printer? Yes? You are at the correct place! This guide clearly explains “how to load sublimation paper in printer” for any printer model. We troubleshoot the do’s and don’ts, covering different loading mechanisms and tips to avoid those dreaded misprints. Premium-quality prints are just a few steps away—let’s get started. Stay with us and enjoy the ride!

Key Takeaways

  • Sublimation paper must be loaded into the printer according to the specific paper feed direction, with front-loading printers requiring the print-side facing down and rear-loading printers needing it facing up.
  • Proper handling and storage of sublimation paper are vital for maintaining quality prints; it should be kept in a controlled humidity environment (40-50%) and stored flat to prevent curling and ink blotching.
  • Regular printer maintenance including test prints, printhead cleanings, firmware updates, and working in a stable temperature and humidity level workspace is crucial for achieving high-quality sublimation prints.

Identifying Your Printer’s Paper Feed Direction

Bright white printer paper and printer in the desert

Much like an artist familiarizes themselves with their canvas, it’s crucial to comprehend your printer’s functioning for effective sublimation printing. The paper feed direction plays a vital role in the printing process, affecting how sublimation paper needs to be placed in the tray. Whether your printer uses a front-loading or a rear-loading tray can change the entire printing process.

We shall delve deeper into this topic.

Understanding Front-Loading Printers

Front-loading printers, as the name implies, require paper to be loaded into a tray that slides into the front. These printers are versatile, often supporting different paper sizes. Therefore, precise adjustments to the sliding front tray are necessary to fit the sublimation paper properly. Here’s an essential tip – always load the sublimation paper with the print-side facing down in front-loading printers. There’s a good reason for this. The print-side is designed to receive the sublimation ink, ultimately affecting the quality of your final product.

Moreover, front-loading printers usually come equipped with adjustable paper guide mechanisms. These guides are your allies, helping to align the plain paper correctly. That snug fit against the sides of the tray without bending is what you’re aiming for, as it ensures proper alignment and avoids printer jams.

Navigating Rear-Loading Printers

Conversely, rear-loading printers feature a tray that opens from the back. When loading sublimation paper here, the printable side usually faces up. This difference in orientation can dramatically impact the final printing outcome. So, remember, while front-loaders need the print side down, rear-loaders need it up!

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But it’s not just about the paper orientation. Aligning the paper with the printer’s paper guides is equally important to avoid paper jams or misprints. Moreover, you must select the correct media type in the printer settings, as this affects how much ink is deposited on the paper. Lastly, adjusting the printer’s color management settings for the specific sublimation paper brand being used is a secret weapon to achieving correct color output.

Preparing Sublimation Paper for Printing

A printer and printer paper displayed in a garden

Appropriate preparation of your sublimation paper before beginning the printing process can prevent potential issues down the line. This involves removing any protective backing and identifying the coated bright white side for printing. But how can you spot the correct side? And how do you handle and store sublimation paper? Let’s unpack this further.

Spotting the Bright White Side

The bright white side of sublimation paper isn’t just for aesthetics. This is the side onto which the design should be printed, creating a mirror image of the intended design. The reason? This side, also known as the printing surface, is coated to receive the sublimation ink. To achieve the intended image quality, it must face the ink nozzles in the printer.

In front-loading printers, the sublimation paper should be loaded with the bright white side facing towards the print direction to receive the image correctly. Keep in mind, the bright white side serves as your canvas, so its correct positioning is pivotal for a successful sublimation print.

Handling and Storing Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper isn’t your typical office paper. It requires proper handling and storage to keep it in optimal condition. Humidity levels play a significant role in this. Ideally, sublimation paper should be stored in an environment with 40-50% humidity. Levels outside this range can lead to issues such as paper curling and ink blotching.

To properly store sublimation paper and prevent moisture absorption and curled edges, follow these steps:

  1. Keep the sublimation paper in its original packaging and box.
  2. Store it in a controlled humidity environment.
  3. Ensure that the sublimation paper is taut and free of any wrinkles or curls before loading it into the printer to avoid any issues during the printing process.

Loading the Sublimation Paper into Your Printer

Printer paper ejecting from a printer with an ocean background

Now that you’ve prepared your sublimation paper and understood your printer’s paper feed direction, it’s time to load the sublimation paper into your printer. But this isn’t a simple insert-and-print scenario. There are a few more things to keep in mind:

  1. Align the paper edges properly before loading it into the printer.
  2. Adjust the printer settings according to the type of sublimation paper you are using.
  3. Make sure the paper is loaded correctly and securely in the printer tray.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your sublimation transfer paper, including sublimation paper, heat transfer paper, and transfer paper, are loaded correctly and ready for printing.

Let’s investigate further.

Aligning the Paper Edges

Inserting sublimation paper into your printer isn’t a hasty process. It necessitates meticulous alignment of the paper edges. When loading, especially in rear-loading printers, the paper should be inserted straight and not at an angle to prevent paper jams or wrinkles.

The sublimation paper should be fed into the printer as follows:

  1. Feed the paper approximately 2 inches into the printer to maintain the correct feeding position.
  2. Align the paper edges parallel to the printer’s paper guides to ensure even distance from the edges on the print substrate.
  3. If you encounter any misalignment, verify that the paper is positioned straight against the paper guides and that the printer settings match the paper size and type.

Adjusting Printer Settings

Think of printer settings as the hidden formula for impeccable sublimation printing. Here are some important settings to consider:

  1. Make sure that the sublimation paper type is selected within the printer settings.
  2. Adjust the output quality to High or Best to suit the needs of sublimation printing.
  3. The printed image must be flipped or reversed within the computer’s print settings to ensure correct image transfer onto the substrate.

By following these settings and using a heat press, you can achieve high-quality sublimation printing results on ceramic mugs.

For those who want to take it a step further, manual color correction can be performed. Here’s how:

  1. Set the printer to use ‘Adobe RGB’ color mode.
  2. Adjust the gamma to 2.2.
  3. Fine-tune brightness, contrast, saturation, and density to match the specifics of the sublimation paper.
  4. Customize the color balance by adjusting the cyan, magenta, and yellow color sliders.
  5. Save these settings as a printer preset for future use.

Conducting a Test Print

A sublimation design on fabric ejecting from printer with ocean background

After loading the sublimation paper and tweaking the printer settings, it might be tempting to start the printing method immediately. But there’s one more step that can save you a lot of time and resources in the long run – conducting a test print. Regular test prints ensure the ink flows consistently and prevents ink from drying out, which is more likely to happen in warm, dry climates or if the printer is not regularly used.

Besides maintaining steady ink flow, a test print also verifies the accurate loading of the sublimation paper and proper alignment of the print with the paper in the screen printing process. By doing this, you can spot any issues before they affect your final product, helping to reduce material and ink wastage.

Maintaining Printer Health for Sublimation Printing

A printer being cleaned by a robotic arm next to cleaning supplies

Similar to any other tool, your printer needs regular upkeep for peak performance. Regular test prints help identify issues with printer heads that could impact the quality of sublimation prints. It’s advisable to run test prints at least weekly to maintain ink flow and prevent clogs.[1]

Beyond conducting test prints, regular printhead cleanings, updating printer firmware, and keeping the printer dust-free can contribute to a healthier printer and high-quality prints. Remember, the frequency of printhead cleanings should be determined by considering:

  • usage
  • ink amount
  • idle time
  • environmental conditions

Taking these steps can not only improve your print quality but can also extend the lifespan of your printer.

Troubleshooting Common Loading Issues

Despite diligent preparation and loading, you might still face some typical problems. Paper jams, for example, can be a common frustration. To resolve this, simply follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the printer.
  2. Open the cover.
  3. Gently pull out the jammed paper. Be careful not to tear it.
  4. Check for residual pieces that could cause further jams.

Another common issue is loading too many sheets at once in a rear-loading printer. To avoid this, load one sheet at a time, which helps prevent jams and ensures proper alignment. Remember, printing on the wrong side of sublimation paper will result in no image transfer, as there is no coating on the incorrect side to hold the ink.

Optimizing Your Workspace for Sublimation Printing

A clean and tidy office space on top floor

Achieving the perfect sublimation print isn’t solely about the paper and printer; the conditions of your workspace, including the heat press temperature and heat transfer process, also contribute. Maintaining a stable temperature and humidity level in your workspace can prevent any negative impact on sublimation print quality. A too humid or too dry environment can lead to paper curling, ink blotching, and other print quality issues.[2]

Additionally, ensure that your sublimation ink, paper, and sublimation printer are all compatible and designed to work together. This compatibility is essential for optimal printing results, especially when creating a high-quality t shirt. Just like a well-oiled machine, all these components need to work in harmony to create the perfect sublimation print.


From identifying your printer’s paper feed direction to preparing sublimation paper for printing, loading it correctly, and maintaining printer health – we’ve covered the A to Z of sublimation printing. Remember, the key to a flawless sublimation print lies not only in the print itself but also in the preparation and maintenance that precedes it. Now, it’s time to put these tips into practice and create stunning sublimation prints!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which way does sublimation paper go in printer?

Load the sublimation paper into the printer with the bright white side facing up to receive the image. Make sure to flip or reverse the image on your computer before printing for proper transfer onto the garment.

How do I load paper into my Epson sublimation printer?

To load paper into your Epson sublimation printer, open the rear paper feed slot, extend the paper support, slide the edge guide left, and insert the paper glossy side up and short edge first, making sure it is detected automatically. Then, close the top of the printer and proceed with your printing.

What side of sublimation paper goes up?

When using sublimation paper, make sure to print your design on the bright white side, which is the printing surface of the paper. The other side is relatively smooth and cannot be printed on.

How do I identify the paper feed direction of my printer?

To identify your printer’s paper feed direction, check whether it uses a front-loading or a rear-loading tray. Front-loading printers require paper to be loaded with the print side facing down, while rear-loading printers need the print side facing up.

What are some tips for aligning the sublimation paper edges when loading into the printer?

To align the sublimation paper edges when loading into the printer, make sure to feed the paper approximately 2 inches into the printer and align the edges parallel to the paper guides to prevent jams or wrinkles.


  1. When to maintain your product. (n.d.-b). (C) Copyright 2005. https://files.support.epson.com/docid/cpd5/cpd50696/source/pro_graphics/source/maintenance/reference/scs40600_80600/maintenance_operation_guide_scs40600_80600.html
  2. Managing workplace temperature. (n.d.). https://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/employer/managing.htm
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