Ask the Socks Guy: How are socks printed?

Q: How are socks printed?

A:  Great question. I’ve seen it a lot online. Socks that have a printed design on them are usually printed using sublimation.

Sublimation (also called dye sublimation) is the process by which an image is added to specially coated products (ceramics, metals, fabrics) using sublimation ink and heat. Most people/companies use special sublimation printers (Think: a commercial inkjet printer with that special ink that prints on garments and other products.)

The whole sublimation process gets its name from the ink’s ability to go from a solid state to a gaseous state without becoming a liquid.

This post was originally published on Quora. Ask me a sock-related question on there, and I’ll answer.

Sometimes you’ll see sublimation printing called 3D printing like on these socks:


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