What is ghosting in sublimation? How to avoid ghosting?

Ghosting is a common printing defect that can occur in sublimation. Ghosting is the appearance of an image or text that has been printed on one side of a substrate and is seen as a translucent, negative image on the other side. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes ghosting and how to avoid it.

What is Ghosting in Sublimation Printing?

Ghosting is a sublimation printing issue that can occur when transferring images onto light-colored or synthetic fabrics. It occurs when the dyes in the transfer paper are not completely transferred to the fabric and instead remain on the paper. As a result, a faint, “ghosted” image of the design is left on the paper. 

What causes ghosting?
There are a few factors that can contribute to ghosting.

There are a few possible causes of ghosting, but the most common is insufficient pressure. When printing, it is important to make sure that the press is set to the correct pressure for the specific substrate being used.

Another common cause of ghosting is improper heat settings. Sublimation inks require high temperatures in order to properly gasify and bond with the substrate. If the temperature is too low, the ink will not gasify sufficiently and will result in ghosting.

Poor-quality substrates can also cause ghosting. Using a substrate that is not specifically designed for sublimation can result in poor ink adhesion and poor image quality. To avoid ghosting, it is important to use high-quality substrates and adhere to recommended press settings.

Another factor is the type of substrate you are using. Some substrates are more porous than others and will allow the ink to seep through to the other side more easily.

Finally, the type of ink you are using can also be a factor. Some inks are more prone to ghosting than others.

How to avoid ghosting?

There are a few things you can do to avoid ghosting

  1. Quality of Paper

Any crafter knows that transfer paper is an essential tool for precise and clean designs. However, not all transfer papers are created equal. Inferior papers can cause ghosting, a common issue that occurs when parts of the design do not fully transfer to the surface. 

This can be frustrating and time-consuming to fix, so it’s important to choose a high-quality transfer paper to avoid this issue. Look for paper that is thin but strong, with a smooth surface that will glide easily across your project. 

Also, be sure to test the paper on a scrap piece of fabric before using it on your final project. With a little care and attention, you can avoid ghosting and create beautiful results.

  1. Enough Pressure 

Second, apply enough pressure during the printing process. Ghosting occurs when pressure is not applied evenly across the paper, resulting in a light image. To avoid this, use enough pressure to ensure that the entire surface area of the paper comes into contact with the printhead. 

For best results, use a consistent amount of pressure throughout the printing process. If you find that your prints are coming out too light or too dark, adjust the pressure accordingly. With a little trial and error, you’ll be able to find the perfect setting for your printer.

  1. Use less Prone ink 

Third, use an ink that is less prone to ghosting. This type of ink is designed not to adhere as strongly to the drum unit, making it less likely that a faint copy will be left behind

  1. Seal a Porous Substrate with Tape

If you are using a porous substrate (like wood or paper), try coating it with a sealant (like tape) before printing. To avoid ghosting, it is important to use a sealant on porous substrates. Sealants create a barrier between the substrate and the ink, preventing the ink from spreading.

 There are many different types of sealants available, so it is important to choose one that is compatible with your substrate and your printing process. With a little preparation, you can avoid ghosting and create clear, sharp images on all of your porous substrates.

  1. Using a Release Paper

Ghosting can also be prevented by using a release paper. Release papers are coated with a heat-activated adhesive that prevents the dye from bonding to the fabric until it reaches a certain temperature. This allows the dye to vaporize evenly and be pulled into the pores of the substrate, resulting in a sharp, vibrant image. Release papers are available in a variety of sizes and can be purchased from most sublimation suppliers.

Ghosting is a common printing defect, but it can be avoided if you take the proper precautions. By following these tips, you can avoid ghosting and produce high-quality prints.


Ghosting in sublimation can be caused by many different factors, but there are ways to avoid it. By following the tips in this article, you can produce high-quality prints with minimal ghosting. Have you experienced ghosting in your own prints? What solutions have you tried? Let us know in the comments below.

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