Forget printable HTV and sublimate polyester waffle towels instead! I have been searching for a method to transfer more intricate designs to kitchen towels. I tried the obvious printable heat transfer vinyl, but the transfer paper leaves an odd texture on flour sack towels. Since sublimation only works with polyester fabrics, I decided to switch blanks from 100% cotton flour sack towels to 80% polyester waffle weave towels. The results did not disappoint!
The polyester waffle weave towels are smaller than flour sack towels. Waffle weave towels are about 16×24″ and flour sack towels are about 30×30″. The polyester waffle towels wash very well and do not require ironing. Check out those colors!
Supplies to Sublimate Polyester Waffle Towels
- Polyester Waffle Towels
- Sublimation Printer
- Sublimation Transfer Paper
- Butcher Paper
- Lint Roller
- Heat Resistant Tape
- Heat Press
Sublimation on Waffle Weave Towels
Step 1: Prepare the Transfer
I used Silhouette Studio to print my design. The design you choose must be mirrored prior to printing or in the print settings. Since these towels are smaller than flour sack towels, I don’t plan to fold them in thirds before hanging on a towel bar/oven handle. I sized the design to be 8″ wide and 7.5″ tall. I’m using an Epson WF 7720 with Cosmos Ink. Check out this post for How to Print Sublimation Designs from Silhouette Studio for a look at all of my favorite color, paper type, quality, and speed settings!
Remember that your printed transfer will be dull. Don’t be alarmed when the colors look completely wrong! I’ve noticed that greens in particular look very wrong. Keep the faith that it will pop post pressing!
Step 2: Sublimate Polyester Waffle Towels with Heat Press
Preheat your press to 385F. Medium pressure is needed, so for a clamshell press, there should be some resistance in clamping the platen down, but you won’t have to put your whole body into it. I have not tried an EasyPress, but I think that would work if you add pressure to it while pressing.
To prepare your towel, lint roll where you will be placing the design to remove any lint/dust. Place your design on the towel and use a couple small pieces of tape to hold it in place. On the press, put one sheet of butcher paper down, then the towel with the transfer paper side facing up, and one more piece of butcher paper. The butcher paper will capture the excess ink that sublimates out and keep your press uncontaminated.
Press for 40 seconds at 385F. Remove the butcher paper and transfer paper. Immediately lint roll over the design again. This helps raise up the waffle texture and remove an indented outline from the transfer paper. Isn’t this gorgeous? I love it!
If your waffle texture is too flat after pressing, reduce the heat press pressure. If there are burn marks or the design is blurry, reduce the pressing time.
Washing Sublimated Waffle Towels
Due to the 80% polyester content in these towels, they wash very well! This is an image of the towel after going through one washer and dryer cycle. It looks just as vibrant as when it was first pressed. The lighting was brighter when I took the picture below, but it is definitely just as deep as when it was first made. This was washed on a normal temperature cycle.
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