Dye Sublimation Transfer Paper – The Correct Side To Print On!

Sometimes we forget the road that we have all travelled in order to understand a subject and in order to perform a task effectively. When people ask us how to do something, the first thing that comes out of our mouths is, ah its easy, no worries! and we proceed to advise how to do the task in over simplistic terms, forgetting to advise full instructions based on the many lessons that we learnt as we overcame the many mistakes that we made when we first set out to do the task for the first time ourselves.

I’ve had just re-read that – Really!

We have had a couple of instances recently where customers have struggled to get a good print onto a dye sublimation transfer paper and after going around in circles and getting overcomplicated, we arrived back at the very basics on solving the issues. Printing on the wrong side of the transfer paper!

Dye sublimation has a correct side to print on which is the coated side and as this explanation suggests, the other side of the paper is uncoated. The coating is important as it allows a sharp quality image and it also has to allow “release” when the heat is applied whilst pressing. In very simple terms, and image printed on the uncoated side will not work in terms of quality, colour representation, sharpness or release.

After several telephone conversations and emails back and forth with one of the customers, we had a “eureka” moment and below are the contents of the email that we sent back which outlines how to get the right side of the paper printed on and a couple of checks if your struggling.

This issue was on an Epson WF-3010DW printer which is a front loading printer.



Hang on this looks like ink bleed which would make sense as I have not come across software or ink that would distort an image at the edges as this has. It would also explain the low quality of images. Can you check which side of the paper you are printing on Please.

The paper has a coated side which is white and smooth, this is the side to print on. The Backing side is more of a cream version of white and rougher in feel than the coated side. This is true of most brands of dye sublimation transfer paper.

Place the white coated side face down in the front print tray and it will print on the right surface. If you are uncertain and can not readily tell the difference between paper sides, take the next sheet of paper in the print tray and turn it over. Print the image twice on the sheet of paper that you have just turned and on the following sheet.

Compare the two sheets and there will be a dramatic difference, there will be no ink bleed and the edges will be sharp and clean.

To further prove that this is the issue, if you try and heat press an image printed on the wrong side of the transfer paper, next to no image will be transferred owing to the lack of a coating to hold the ink, in the paper.

Please let me know and with your permission I would like to use this as a case study on our printingbuddy website, as advice to others. No names of course.

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Comments (0)

  1. peter


    yes would me more helpfull if u print these papers with some red traces (let s say )on the back of the sublimation paper so i wouldn t bother to find the right side of the page ..

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